Virginia Alvino Young

Reporter

Virginia reports on identity and justice for 90.5 WESA. That means looking at how people see themselves in the community, and how the community makes them feel. Her reporting examines things like race, policing, and housing to tell the stories of folks we often don't hear from. 

A native of Las Vegas, NV, Virginia has slowly been making her way eastward, reporting for NPR stations across the country. She started her reporting career at the statehouse in Oregon, and has had stints in Indiana and Texas before moving to Pittsburgh in 2016. 

Virginia lives on the North Side with her husband and fat cat Bean. They enjoy exploring Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, and hiking throughout the region, although they usually leave Bean at home. 

Contact Virginia at valvino@wesa.fm.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual assessment of LGBTQ-friendly laws.

dnesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP

Amazon benefited from more than $1.2 billion in incentives across the country, according to research published Wednesday by American City Business Journals

The company employs an estimated 10,000 people across 15 facilities in Pennsylvania, drawing nearly $25 million in known subsidies statewide. Bids for Amazon’s second North American headquarters HQ2 are due next week.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 5:31 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017

A jury Tuesday cleared one Pittsburgh police officer and deadlocked on charges against a second in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who was paralyzed when he was shot during a traffic stop.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

It’s a 10-foot tall bronze statue on a four-foot tall granite base, that many Pittsburghers want to see moved.

The statue of Stephen Foster exhibited conspicuously in Oakland's Schenley Park, was first displayed in Highland Park.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ana Alberto-Ramirez spends most evenings after work with her boyfriend at their home in Bethel Park, hanging out and watching TV.

“And he plays soccer, so I go to his games, and I like taking pictures. Sometimes I’m there just taking pictures,” she said.

The 24 year-old works as a hair stylist on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

“I like to make hours, so I like to stay longer than I have to, especially when it’s busy.”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Transgender people face many challenges, from housing discrimination to fatal violence. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In light of President Donald Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, Latino advocates in Pittsburgh are beginning a monthly series of community meetings to set priorities and help cultivate leadership.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Thirteen new surveillance cameras are now up and running through Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

From the aroma of the food court to back-to-school shopping, everyone has memories of the shopping mall. But for Pittsburgh author Matthew Newton, the mall says much more about our society.

PIOTRUS / Wikimedia Commons

The City of Pittsburgh’s Art Commission is moving forward with its process of reviewing a controversial statue of the composer Stephen Foster.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

According to the state constitution, congressional districts should be compact, contiguous and respect county lines. But that isn’t exactly the case for Pennsylvania’s 12th.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In Southwestern Pennsylvania, there’s a congressional district that looks like a hammer.

Piotrus / Wikimedia Commons

An online petition to remove a controversial statue of one of Pittsburgh's native sons in Oakland has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority issued a precautionary flush and boil advisory Monday night for city neighborhoods north of the Allegheny River, as well as Millvale and Reserve Township.

Point Park University

The faculty of Point Park University have reached a tentative agreement for their first ever union contract.

Faculty voted to join the Communication Workers of America, or CWA, in 2003, a decision which the university continued to appeal until 2015.

Samey Jay

UPDATE: The March on Google, which was scheduled to take place outside of Google's Pittsburgh campus at Bakery Square Saturday, has been postponed. Organizers posted online early Wednesday that it was on hold due to "Alt Left Terrorist threats." 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Communities across the country are reacting to Saturday’s racist violence in Charlottesville, Va.

For some in Export, Westmoreland County, it's a reminder of the borough's own history with the Ku Klux Klan. Five years ago, the town made headlines when a regional KKK meeting was allegedly held there.

Kezee / Flickr

Last night Pittsburgh city officials said they were preparing public safety resources ahead of a planned right-wing protest Saturday at several Google sites across the country, including the company’s Bakery Square location. The "March on Google" has since been postponed.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new website, Storyburgh, aims to highlight the stories and experiences that often go overlooked in traditional media, like those of immigrants, Asian-Americans and stay-at-home dads. Will Halim, Storyburgh’s founding director, happens to be all three. 90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young spoke with Halim about how he came up with the concept. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The journey for refugees from their home countries to Pittsburgh often takes years and includes lots of stops along the way. As part of WESA’s five-part series sharing the stories of young refugees, native Iraqi Maryam Nader, 15, talks about her desire to continue her travels and experience other cultures.

Nader is from Iraq, but she’s Kurdish, not Arabic.

“I don’t think anybody knows what are Kurdish,” said Nader. “They just assume they’re the same thing as Turkish, but they’re not. Kurdish have a different language and kind of a different culture.”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Young refugees have to adapt quickly once they arrive in Pittsburgh. Although they often come from difficult circumstances, many are able to learn English and make friends quickly. As part of a five-part series from WESA, four young people from Iraq, Tanzania and Congo share their stories of transition.

Hussein Zangana, 15, now lives in Brookline. He said it’s very different from Iraq, where fighting forced his family to flee. “Something is wrong,” he said.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Some young refugees in Pittsburgh resettled in the city when they were infants and have lived here most of their lives. Others arrived earlier this year. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

As part of a five-part series exploring the experiences of young refugees in Pittsburgh, Hamadi Hamadi, 15, shares the story of his life back in Kenya and the journey that brought his family to America. 

“Kenya when I was there, my family was poor,” he said. “We had a farm over there. My dad, he used to work in the farm, and he used to call us, me and my brother, to go over there to work.”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world because of conflict. More than a half-million people have fled the violence. Some of those refugees, including children, have resettled in Pittsburgh. 

Gerry Broome / AP

A report released Thursday by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Pennsylvania isn’t doing enough to produce statewide policies that help prevent and fight cancer.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

On a humid Friday afternoon in the West End, students practice soccer and push each other on the swings. The kids are loud, except for the few listening to music on their phones under the shade of a tree.

Some speak Swahili, some Arabic, but they all understand how to play.

The 5th annual Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment program, or PRYSE Academy, is serving about 70 middle- and high-schoolers this year.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One afternoon nearly three years ago, Masedi Thata Kewamodimo walked to the radio station near her university in Botswana and said she wanted to go public about being HIV positive. Now she is visiting Duquesne University through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Back home, she focuses on HIV advocacy and helping people cope with the daily challenges of the stigmatizing status by speaking on government-owned radio stations, which reach everyone in the country. 

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

LM Otero, AP File

A new initiative aims to better prepare unemployed immigrants in Allegheny County for the American workforce.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ashley Morris often brings her 7- and 3-year-old daughters, Taniea and Ta’naea, along with her to run errands downtown. The 26-year-old can’t afford to fix her car, so they take the bus. Even though the line goes right by her place, she doesn’t like living in Hazelwood.

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