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.

Wikimedia Commons

A rehabilitation effort in the commercial corridor of the Hill District is one step closer to opening its doors.

Once a performance hub for artists like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, the New Granada Theater has sat empty on the 2000 block of Centre Avenue for more than a decade. Planning and fundraising are underway for a full rehabilitation of the historic Art Deco-style building built in the 1920s.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new after-school program targeting Pittsburgh’s refugee students aims to bridge the gap of English language learning in schools. The pilot program launches in Crafton Heights this week.

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a measure Thursday to help fund new affordable housing units near PPG Paints Arena. 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Some LGBT advocates are discouraging Amazon from building its second headquarters in states that don’t have full discrimination protection laws– including Pennsylvania.

Black Tech Nation

Kelauni Cook wants to address every inch of the pipeline for black technology professionals.

Keystone Crossroads

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision to toss out the commonwealth’s Republican-created congressional boundaries has thrown a wrench in some campaigns.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Marchers filled three city blocks in downtown Pittsburgh Sunday with signs that read “Grab ‘Em By The Midterms,” and simply, “Vote!”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One year after the inaugural Women’s March on Washington, activists across the country are getting ready to hit the streets again, including some in Pittsburgh. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh said they are “saddened and humiliated” by an editorial published on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

David Goldman / AP

The City of Pittsburgh has agreed to pay a $5.5 million settlement to Leon Ford, who was shot and paralyzed by Pittsburgh Police at a traffic stop in 2012.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Two local foundations say the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board is on the "wrong side of history" because of a piece it published Monday.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Renowned composer Kathryn Bostic first worked with Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson in 2003, scoring the Broadway production of “Gem of the Ocean.”

“Being a part of that process and being in rehearsals and hearing his words, the cadence in his words and his writing is to me are very musical and symphonic,” said Bostic, who lives and works in Los Angeles. “That’s when I began to first get this idea to try to create a symphonic piece.”

Not White Collective

For nearly two years, a diverse group of 11 women have been meeting to ask a lot of questions. 

Greg Sciulli

As Wilkinsburg's first black female mayor, Marita Garrett, 31, says she wants to address visibility.

“Everyone should be represented at this level," said Garrett, who's served on the borough's council since 2014. "There shouldn’t be a one and only black woman mayor, there should be many others coming down the list, and also with other boroughs.”

Wilkinsburg, which has a population of nearly 16,000, is struggling with blight, attracting economic development and shaking its dangerous reputation. Allegheny County homicide data show there were two people killed there in 2017.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum has an annual operating budget of around $5 million, and a newly created position "director of advancement" will be tasked with increasing revenue and diversifying where those dollars come from.

Muslim Women's Association of Pittsburgh

A new retail storefront is the latest effort by the Muslim Women’s Association of Pittsburgh to empower women and support its mission.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Andy Warhol museum is the recipient of a new multi-year grant to encourage more diversity in art institutions.

The Warhol is among 20 organizations nationwide to receive funding from the Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. The North Side museum will get $265,000 over three years to support education outreach, professional development and mentoring, and paid internships and fellowships.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is working to make all playgrounds more accessible for children with differing abilities, as part of a new initiative launched Monday.

Kerry Weber

When Kerry Weber moved back to Pennsylvania to open Switch and Signal Skate Park in Swissvale, he knew he wanted it to be an inclusive space.

“These spaces should be open to everyone, and I definitely feel that it has been a boys club,” said Weber. “Where you’re a young typical male, it’s a place that’s easy to fit in, but it does lock a lot of people out.”

Skating gave him a creative outlet and helped build confidence, he said, and he hopes the park will get more people, especially girls, to enjoy those benefits, too.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

About 10 miles south of Pittsburgh, huge cardboard boxes of donated toys are scattered across 20,000 square feet of chilly, donated West Mifflin warehouse space.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

As a young black man, playwright Nathan James often felt like he had to mask his emotions. The Pittsburgh native returns to the August Wilson Center this week to perform his one man play “Growing Pains.” 90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young recently spoke with James about his show, which looks at how and where we grow up impacts who we become. 


Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Focus Features documentary dubbed “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about the life and work of Fred Rogers is coming to the the big screen in June, officials announced Monday.

According to a release, the film will examine how Rogers navigated cultural and social issues in a forward-thinking way.

President and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company Paul Siefken said Rogers was a fascinating man on and off screen.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Multicultural Liaison Unit launched Wednesday to help bridge the cultural and communication gap between the Department of Public Safety and immigrant and refugee communities.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The discussion around race in America has evolved over the past 20 years. That’s when the book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race was originally published. Now, author and researcher Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is out with an updated edition. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Downtown Pittsburgh’s holiday traditions have changed over the years. But starting Saturday, a new exhibit at the Heinz History Center takes visitors back in time.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Holiday traditions from around the globe converge at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning inside its Nationality Rooms, a collection of 30 classrooms representing the cultures of various groups that settled in Allegheny County. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA News

When visitors enter the second-floor gallery space of the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh's North Side, they’re met with cartoon cowboys in red bandanas, saloon brawls and underwater painters that shimmer right off the wall. But there's more than meets the eye in Go West, the first solo show in the U.S. for popular Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A lawsuit filed Monday against the Allegheny County Jail and its administration claims the jail allowed a transgender inmate to be repeatedly sexually abused while she was incarcerated with male inmates.

The suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and The Law Offices of Timothy O’Brien on behalf of Jules Williams is seeking damages.

Louis Stein / Arcade Comedy Theater

A growing non-profit theater in downtown Pittsburgh has a new home.

Arcade Comedy Theater is moving from its original storefront space on Liberty Avenue, where it’s been since 2013, to a fully renovated building right down the street. The new space more than doubles its capacity to nearly 200 seats between two stages.

Arcade offers about 10 weekly shows, including sketch comedy, stand-up and improv. It’s also enrolled hundreds of students in its comedy classes.

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