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Demonstrators lay in the middle of Grant Street to protest the deaths of two unarmed Black men at the hands of White police officers in New York City and Ferguson, Mo. on Dec. 4. (Courier Photo by J.L. Martello)

Many of 2014’s top local stories were part of a series of stories on several community events and issues. Mothers and community activists came out in record numbers throughout Pittsburgh for marches, rallies and vigils against Black on Black violence, police violence and domestic violence

There were also several stories on the fall of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture as well as the massive community support for Leon Ford. The sentencing of former Police Chief Nate Harper and the search and his replacement—finally found in Cameron McLay—was also a series of stories.

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GOING AGAINST THE SILENCE—Tonya Moone, mother of Michael Rashad Moone Parrotte, who was killed in May 2012, stand with friends Toni Allen and Troi Baldwin in front of the Penn Avenue billboard, in Wilkinsburg. Moone is seeking information from witnesses for the conviction of her son’s killer. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

STOP THE VIOLENCE

Mother offers $5,000 reward

(Feb. 12) Tonya Moone never thought that a warm day in May, when her son took her daughter to a neighborhood park for some brother-sister bonding time, that it would be the last time she would see her son, Rashad, alive.

We Need Justice Too

(March 5)    Community Empowerment Association CEO Rashad Byrdsong stated that the attention given the murder of the Wolfe sisters, especially in terms of media reports and police investigatory power, stood in stark contrast to level of importance attached to the far more numerous killings of young Blacks.

Vigil Against Violence

(March 19)    March 14 is Jamar Hawkins‘s birthday. If he hadn’t been shot multiple times after leaving the Giant Eagle on Rodi Road in Penn Hills, he’d have turned 32 last week.

His mother, Wynona Harper, remembered him by holding a vigil near where he died, and by calling out the Black community for its cowardice in failing to identify the killers in his case and others. And she was not alone.

Mother pleads for son’s suspected killer’s whereabouts

(Feb. 19)    It was on Jan. 20, that Connie Moore received news that her only son, Hosea Davis, 37, of Penn Hills, had been found shot to death in a Larimer alley. His body riddled with bullets, many at close range. It was that day that her life changed forever.

Byrdsong Calls Out Black Leadership

(Jan. 1)    In what he hopes will spur to a new way of doing business in the new year, Community Empowerment Association President and CEO Rashad Byrdsong released an open letter calling on Black Leaders to get on the same page and address the plight of urban communities.

Other stories dealing with stopping the violence appeared on: April 16, Day of Prayer’; April 23. ‘March for Peace”; Oct. 1. ‘Walk For Peace’; Oct. 15. “Fed Up”; Nov. 19. “Mother waits for answers.” Feb. 19 ‘Mothers holds vigil, June 4 Unsolved Black homicides

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RALLY FOR FORD—Even though still under a gag order by the courts, Leon Ford is letting the people speak for him. Here he attends the most recent rally against police violence and justice for him and others like him. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

LEON FORD

Leon Ford Rally: “No Justice, No Peace”

(Dec. 17) From Ferguson to Pittsburgh, people of all different shapes and sizes are taking over the streets with organized protests and rallies. Citizens throughout the city of Pittsburgh came together December 12, to let voices be heard and stand for the cause.

Leon Ford peace rally

(March 12) On March 8, more than 200 people gathered in the small basketball court at Pittsburgh Barack Obama Academy (old Peabody) to rally justice for Leon Ford Jr.

Other Ford rallies:  Sept. 10; July 9

CCAC Black Student Union stage Ferguson protest

Though the weather was inhospitable and the crowd small, its participants were passionate as the expressed outrage at last week’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo. that failed to indict White police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Black teen Michael Brown.

Other Ferguson rallies: Aug. 27, Nov. 26

August Wilson Center

Buildings in downtown Pittsburgh are reflected in the windows of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic/File)

AUGUST WILSON CENTER

August Wilson Center to be sold

(Jan. 29) Despite last minute pleas from civil rights activists, a local attorney, the state attorney general and several young cousins of August Wilson, the debt-ridden African American Cultural Center named for the late playwright has been ordered sold.

Foundations aim for spring reopening of AWC

The headphones for the Homewood, Hill District and Hazelwood oral history exhibits rest silently in their cradles. The artwork, save for a dozen photos by Charles “Teenie” Harris, is all in storage. The August Wilson Center for African American Culture is dark, but if all goes well, it will again be open and vibrant by spring.

Other stories on the AWC appeared on: April 9, May 7, May 28, July 6, July 23, Aug. 3, Sept. 10, July 16, Oct. 1,Oct. 29, Nov. 5..

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Former Police Chief Nate Harper (Courier File Photo)

Former Chief Harper sentenced

(Feb. 26) Siding with arguments presented by prosecuting attorneys, US District Judge Cathy Bissoon has sentenced former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $31,000 in restitution for his part in stealing funds from a federal credit union and for filing false tax returns.

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Cameron McClay

McLay named Chief of Police

When inaugurated, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto pledged to have a new police chief in place by Labor Day, but that’s a holidayso all city offices were closed. So he announced his choice to head the Bureau of Police the next day, Sept. 2.

Joined by Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar, Peduto said after an exhaustive search, the choice came down to integrity. Other related top stories: Sept. 17, Dec. 3,

Bill Peduto

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement the morning after the concert, when crews were still cleaning up garbage left behind by tailgating fans, saying, “The continued trashing of our city has to stop.”(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic/File)

New Mayor Peduto  vows reform

(Jan. 8) The atmosphere was celebratory, filled with music and rousing poetry, but Bill Peduto noted that his inauguration as Pittsburgh’s 60th mayor is not the culmination of anything, It is the beginning, and any celebration would be held years from now as future generations benefit from an administration he pledged would be guided by accountability, responsibility and sustainability.

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Rev. Glenn Grayson

Grayson To receive White House honor

(April 2)  For his tireless efforts to curb violence and to improve the lives of Pittsburgh youth through his Children/Adult Recreational and Educational Services, the Center that C.A.R.E.S., Rev. Glenn Grayson, pastor at Wesley Center AMEZ on Centre Avenue in the Hill District, has been named by President Obama as one of this year’s Champions of Change, and will be honored at the White House April 3.

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SHOP ‘n SAVE one year later

(Nov. 12) Carol Hardeman is having a hard time finding the right birthday card for a male friend at Ross’ SHOP n SAVE on Centre Avenue in the Hill District, but she’s not that worried because she can always look again tomorrow—she’ll be there, just like she has been nearly every day since the store opened one year ago.

Ribbon cutting on Grayson Community Center

(April 2) Four years to the date of his death, $2 million dollars raised, and rivers of waters made up of family’s tears later, on a slightly blustery but blue sky and sun shining day in the Hill District the dream became a reality. The highly anticipated ceremony commemorating the ribbon cutting of the brand new Jeron X. Grayson Community Center and new home of the Center that C.A.R.E.S; the former Ozanam Center on Enoch Street.

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Jordan Miles speaks to reporters. (Courier Photo/File)

Mixed Miles Verdict leaves unanswered questions

(April 2) When attorney Joel Sansone heard the jury announce that it found Pittsburgh police officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak not guilty of using excessive force when they beat Jordan Miles during a January 2010 arrest, he said he thought they’d lost.

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Linda Lane

PPS promotes more Black leaders

(July 23) Last month, at the behest of Superintendent of Schools Linda Lane, the Pittsburgh School Board promoted several African-Americans to leadership positions in hopes of addressing racial equity, achievement gap and student support issues.

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