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She went on to urge people, especially women and children, who have been victims of violence to seek help from places such as the Center for Traumatic Stress at Allegheny General Hospital, the YMCA or Center for Victims of Violent Crimes.

“Don’t be ashamed. Don’t keep quiet,” she said. She also warned that parents should never assume that because children don’t talk about something doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected them. “Traumatized children may not verbalize their pain,” she said. “They may begin acting out, or school grades may begin to slip. That traumatization will manifest itself in various ways. It’s imperative to get these kids help. Trauma is a very powerful thing. Kids just may not be able to talk about it.”

Bryant, said she lives in Pittsburgh’s Zone 5, Homewood, which she calls the city’s most violent neighborhood. She said she lives there not because she has to, but because she chooses to. Yet Bryant said it saddens her to see the increase of violence in her neighborhood. From a professional prospective, Bryant said she has come to appreciate that the most violent crimes occur in low income, minority communities. “This is a reality. I know many people don’t like to hear this,” she said. Citing sobering statistics, Byrant brought home the seriousness of the workshop’s topic.

“This year in the city of Pittsburgh there have been 31 homicides of which 16 homicides occurred in Zone 5. All but two of those 16 Zone 5 homicides were African-American, and two were female,” Bryant said.

Bev Smith called for people to get back to basics, to unite and become closer. “We are too disconnected. We don’t greet one another. We have to smile at each other and smile on the inside at ourselves more, we have to be more grateful.” Smith said she wanted the session because of personal family experience with the senseless violent murder of her nephew. “All of us have been touched,” she said. “And what happens after the funeral and after all the friends and family has gone away? We don’t talk about it like we should and I wanted this to be a healing conversation, a conversation of love.” 


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