Rashad Byrdsong has always made sure the Black Family Reunion sponsored each year by his Community Empowerment Association nurtures the heart and soul with good food, entertainment and music.
But Byrdsong is an activist—in Homewood, and as such, after 20 years remains committed to also nurturing his community’s minds and spirits, so its members can work to build entrepreneurial enterprises, educational oases, and havens from the street violence that traumatizes them on a near daily basis.
To that end, this year’s three-day event features not just food and fun for all ages, but forums and community conversations, some for all ages—and some aimed directly at the community’s youth. One those, “The Culture of Violence, Warrior Conflict Code of The Streets” offers what Byrdsong calls a “direct action conversation on the killings of Black men, women and boys.”
“The culture of violence has become an American tragedy and nightmare,” he said. “Both interpersonal and state-sponsored violence has become an open wound on the moral conscience of the Pittsburgh community.”