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And then a hero came along…

Twenty of them, in fact.

The call was made earlier this summer by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation (PBMF) to find local African American male heroes in Homewood.

Who was making vital spiritual, economic, educational, and/or social contributions to this majority-African American neighborhood considered by many to be misunderstood and underserved?

The call was answered, to the tune of 20 Black men that will be recognized in a multimedia piece during a reception at the Homewood YMCA, 7140 Bennett St., Dec. 3 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Local artist and photographer, Kenneth Neely, teaches an arts class inside Mt. Ararat Baptist Church. When he asked his young students to name a hero, none named any local men. Not a father, not a brother, not a firefighter, not a teacher. Neely wanted to address this absence, and wondered if PBMF could engage with him to showcase local male heroes.

PBMF’s own research showed that the lack of Black journalists employed on staff can lead mainstream media to often depict Black males as thugs, criminals, wayward, and lost. This kind of “narrative discrimination,” or biased storytelling, robs too many Black males of their humanity, leaving the stories of who they are incomplete.

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