African American

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Black community leaders pleaded with Pittsburgh residents on Tuesday to end the gun violence that resulted in a string of deaths and injuries to local children this month.

City Parks / City of Pittsburgh

Four leading African American Pittsburghers will be honored with a display in the City-County Building downtown throughout February as part of a Black History Month event called “Pittsburgh Legacy of Leaders: Laying the Groundwork for our Future Leaders.”

Minority Report: Racial Disparities Persist in the ‘Burgh

Jan 27, 2015
Jon Dawson / Flickr

A recent report by the University of Pittsburgh suggests that Pittsburgh, often touted as one of America’s most livable cities, might not be so livable for African Americans.

The report highlights the racial disparities affecting the quality of life for Pittsburgh’s black residents.

Larry Davis, Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and director of its Center on Race and Social Problems, discusses the report’s findings and their implications for those invested in racial equity in Pittsburgh.

Compared to white Pittsburghers, black and hispanic people have larger employment problems, are more likely to live in poverty and experience higher rates of death resulting from chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease.

Davis says the study shows how little has changed since 2007, when the initial study upon which this latest report is based, was undertaken. The story that’s told by the report, Davis explains, is that Pittsburgh suffers from many of the same racial disparities as other American cities.

In trying to assess why not much has changed in eight years, Davis suggests that when it comes to employment and so on, people typically have vested interests in the status quo, and sticking to “business as usual” serves to frustrate change.

Young Men of Color Learn How to Interview Their Role Models

Jan 8, 2015
Crossing Fences

Since 2012, the Crossing Fences project has been using audio and radio to connect generations and continue the oral tradition in Pittsburgh.

The project, run by local radio program Saturday Light Brigade, gathers African-American students in neighborhoods such as Homewood, the Hill District, and Sto-Rox, and teaches them about audio engineering.

During this time, members of Crossing Fences and the students discussed role models within the community. The students then had to reach out to these role models and plan, record and edit an interview with them.

Joining us to discuss the project are Larry Berger, executive director and Chanessa Schuler, multi-media specialist of Saturday Light Brigade Radio.

Julia Johnson on Protests Following Eric Garner Decision

Dec 4, 2014
Britt Reints / Flickr

In the wake of a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the alleged chokehold death of Eric Garner, protests erupted around the nation -- including in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. Local social justice organizer Julia Johnson joins us to offer her take on the local and national reaction to the Garner case.

Responding to critics who pointed out that last night’s protests in Oakland disrupted traffic and disturbed the community, Johnson explains, “that small inconvenience is the price people have to pay for allowing this system that oppresses people, that kills people and has no accountability for the murderers.”

The protests in the Garner case have been especially impassioned, Johnson says, because of growing momentum that has been built in recent weeks and months following the Ferguson case.

Johnson explains that in response to a series of national and local cases of police brutality against African Americans, a coalition of Pittsburgh activists and concerned citizens has created a list of demands in the interest of social justice and police accountability.

Protest footage courtesy of The Pitt News:

thomas alan / Flickr

Now that a group of local foundations has purchased the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, and it's back in community hands, what is the best way for the Center to move forward?

We'll talk with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman who has plenty of ideas about what the AWC needs.

A New Deal for the August Wilson Center

Sep 30, 2014
Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

With an August Wilson Center deal all but done, we'll look at the surprise agreement to sell the embattled downtown cultural center to a coalition of foundations for $8.85 million. A New York-based developer with plans of turning the building into a hotel has offered $9.5 million for the structure, but community outcry asking for the center to remain a locally held cultural institute apparently tipped the scales toward the foundations' bid. Tribune-Review reporter Natasha Lindstrom joins us for an update.

Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

A newly formed group hoping to improve the political clout of Pittsburgh’s black community is calling out the four remaining Democratic mayoral candidates to respond to what it is calling a “Black Agenda.”

The Pittsburgh Black Political Convention was formed this year and will send to each candidate its “Black Agenda” later this week. The candidates will then be asked not only for a written response, but also to appear for what will amount to an oral test before a community gathering in the Hill District on April 19.