FEELING HOMELESS—Donna Butler tearfully speaks in favor of a citywide Community Benefits Agreement so others don’t see developers take their homes like her parents’ home was taken. ... CALLING FOR EQUITY—Community Empowerment Association President and CEO Rashad Byrdsong calls for a citywide CBA ordinance to secure Blacks development oversight. (Photos courtesy Pittsburgh council video)

FEELING HOMELESS—Donna Butler, left, tearfully speaks in favor of a citywide Community Benefits Agreement so others don’t see developers take their homes like her parents’ home was taken.
CALLING FOR EQUITY—Community Empowerment Association President and CEO Rashad Byrdsong calls for a citywide CBA ordinance to secure Blacks development oversight. (Photos courtesy Pittsburgh council video)

Following its recent public hearing urging Pittsburgh city council to craft legislation creating a citywide Community Benefits Agreement, the Community Empowerment Association is holding a follow up event at the University of Pittsburgh to keep the issue before council.

“The Black Community has to organize and mobilize around bread-and-butter issues meeting our basic fundamental needs of survival,” said CEA President and CEO Rashad Byrdsong.

“We’re calling on everyone to come out and be part of this historical conversation—the empowerment and rebuilding of Black Neighborhoods.”

As he told council, March 8, Byrdsong wants communities, especially Black communities, to be able to hold developers accountable for what is, or is not done in their communities. Projects should be required to hire a set percentage of workers from the affected community, and should also fund education and training so that residents can take an active role in rebuilding their communities and be able to carry those skills and their economic benefits forward.

“We have to put race on the table to decrease the disparities.  In Pittsburgh it’s institutionalized policy and practice to exclude Blacks from economic development opportunities,” he said.

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