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Dear Editor:

When I saw the title of the article, 32 of 42 homicides Black lives…Reconnecting the Black Family, I was immediately intrigued.  As vice president of Programs at POISE Foundation, I’ve been working the last few years on a new grant making strategy focused on Strengthening Black Families. At POISE, we believe that the health and vitality of the Black community is intricately linked to the health and vitality of the Black family.  So naturally, I was excited to see an article in the New Pittsburgh Courier that mentioned the Black family.

However, after reading the article, I felt there was a missed opportunity to bring attention to both the strengths and challenges of the Black family.

Although I can appreciate the Courier’s attempt to bring awareness to the importance of reconnecting the Black Family, I felt the article would have been more impactful if it, at least, mentioned the role of structural racism (systems of inequality based on race) as it relates to the current condition of the Black family and the Black community.  I do understand the role of personal accountability but one cannot talk about the current condition of Pittsburgh’s Black community without talking about the policies and practices that disproportionally and adversely impact it, such as: Redlining, The Welfare Reform Act, No Child Left Behind and “Three Strikes”—just to name a few.

As you consider content each month, I encourage you to go beyond just listing the names of homicide victims. I believe there may not have been 32 Black homicides in the month of June if it were not for the generations and generations of the many policies and practices that have and continue to negatively impact Black people.

I truly hope you will go deeper and seek to expose structural racism and its impact on Pittsburgh’s Black family.  I also hope you will acknowledge and lift up all the positive examples of strong Black families that exist in our community.

There is an opportunity offer your readers a more balanced, action oriented set of articles about how we can collectively “Reconnect the Black family.”

Karris Jackson, POISE Foundation

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