Just what is the State of Black Pittsburgh?
Outstanding? Terrible? Somewhere in between?
It seems everyone has a different answer to the question. But on June 1, more than 150 Black professionals, community leaders, elected officials, and concerned citizens descended on WQED-TV’s Fred Rogers studio in hopes of concocting the best possible answer.
Now in its second year, the State of Black Pittsburgh hour-long community forum was hosted by Chris Moore, along with Lisa Washington of KDKA-TV. The State of Black Pittsburgh is based on reports established by local and national Urban Leagues to assess the problems and pitfalls facing the African American community, Moore said during the live broadcast.
“Equity is a primary issue and concern…we still have so many needs, so many issues,” said Esther Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. “Here in Pittsburgh, some new things are happening,” such as new job opportunities for millenials. “We must find more people to join the workforce. The workforce has to be more diverse in order to fill these jobs that are coming.”
During the program, Bush said places like the “mayor’s office is reaching out more” in recruiting African Americans for jobs. “I’m not saying it’s enough, I’m saying we’re inching in the right direction. That’s why the leadership piece is also critical, because we must advocate to make these things happen.”
Other guests on the program, like Carl Redwood of the Hill District Consensus Group, said the State of Black Pittsburgh continues to spiral downward. “The policy of the city of Pittsburgh has been to force displacement of Black people from the city to the suburbs. From 1980 to 2010, we lost 20,000 Black people. That same time period, we gained 35,000 Black people in the suburbs around Pittsburgh.”