Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Dad Who Received Cell Phone Video Of His Lifeless Son Is Headed To Trial

Dec 13, 2016
Allegheny County Police

 

A man accused of not calling 911 when the mother of his toddler son sent him videos of the boy's lifeless body during hours' worth of angry text messages is headed to trial on child endangerment charges.

Andre Price Jr., 24, of McKeesport, waived a preliminary hearing Monday.

Defense attorney James Sheets said Price is still mourning the death of his 17-month-old son, Andre III. Sheets told The Associated Press that the boy's mother, Christian Clark, had made similar, but empty, threats before to kill the boy and the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Angel.

Philadelphia To Ban Employers From Asking Salary History

Dec 8, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

Philadelphia will soon ban employers from asking job applicants for their salary history.

Supporters have argued such questions perpetuate pay discrimination against women and minorities.

Councilman Bill Greenlee, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Philadelphia Inquirer "it's about fairness."

He said employers should base the salary offer on what the job is worth and what experience the applicant brings.

A spokesman for Mayor Jim Kenney said he will sign it into law.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh man who was arrested in May for being in the United States illegally declined to take a plea deal negotiated in federal court Thursday as expected. Lawyers for Martin Esquivel-Hernandez said they'd hoped their client’s felony re-entry charges would be reduced to misdemeanors, which would have decreased the possibility of his deportation.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

When someone is incarcerated, they family members – especially children – can be forgotten, but Elizabeth Mansley works hard to remember them. 

Last year, Mansley, a Mt. Aloysius College associate professor of criminology, and her students launched The Storybook Project.

“The idea actually came from my daughter,” Mansley said.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s acting Police Chief Scott Schubert assured a group gathered in Larimer Wednesday night that he would follow through with former chief Cameron McLay’s vision for the force in improving community relations.

“We can’t be successful out in the community if we don’t have the support of the public,” he said Wednesday.

Leslie Chatfield / flickr

Pittsburgh could become the first municipality in the state to ban conversion therapy for minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. City Council introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent parents and guardians from forcing youth to undergo the practice.   

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: 8:20 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union targeted McDonald's restaurants and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with marches demanding a $15 minimum wage and union representation.

The union contends UPMC shuttle bus workers have also gone on strike seeking union representation.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Video footage from police dashboard and body cameras remains very difficult to obtain in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court is currently considering what the rules for disclosure should be.

In a new survey of public records access in the state, dash cam videos were by far the least likely to be produced upon request.

Find Some Flow

Three years ago, when Ian Neumaier started to think about playing games as a way to bring people together, he had no idea what he was getting into.

“We didn’t have a full understanding of the environment and the systems at play,” said Neumaier who eventually founded the nonprofit Find Some Flow.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A few decades ago, Terri Baltimore tagged along with a group of architecture students and their professor while they were visiting the Hill District.

“And what they said about this neighborhood broke my heart,” she said. “That it was dirty.

Pamela Au / Bigstock, via WHYY

 

Birth certificates, U.S. passports, Social Security cards — these are just some of the official documents on which a trans person's gender or legal name might not match their identity.

Shawn DeVault of Easton, Pennsylvania, who uses the pronoun "they," said the election pushed them to finally change their legal name.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In the short period of time that the city’s Big Burgh mobile app, aimed at helping the homeless find resources, has been available, it has far exceeded usage expectations.

Launched at the end of August, the app has seen 11,000 site visits, said Bob Firth, founder of Informing Design, which created the app.

"To put that in perspective, the app of the entire region of Australian, with 23 million people in the same time period, got 20 percent fewer site visits,” Firth said. “The app for San Francisco, which has 850,000 people, got 35 percent fewer site visits."

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak urged her colleagues to adopt gender equality legislation accepted by most United Nations countries decades ago at a post-agenda meeting and public hearing on Tuesday.

The international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly; the United State is one of six nations that has still not signed on to the treaty.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

About 50 advocates for local activist and Mexican immigrant Martín Esquivel-Hernandez held a rally in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday morning, calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop deportation proceedings against him.

daveynin / Flickr

A three-day housing summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh this weekend will bring together academics and activists.

The University-Community Housing Summit will explore urban renewal, human rights and gentrification through talks, workshops and neighborhood tours.

Mindy Thompson gave the keynote address Thursday. Her 2013 book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities explored the urban renewal of Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

Googlemaps

Two York County School of Technology High School students face disciplinary action after they carried a Donald Trump campaign sign while “white power” was chanted as they walked through the school’s halls Wednesday. 

Renie Mezzanotti, the school's communications and outreach coordinator, said the incident happened while students were walking into the school at the beginning of the day and administrators were quick to squash the issue.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto met with the city’s public safety director, police chief and commander of special deployment Thursday to set a standard operating procedure for de-escalating public protests.

Marvel Comics

 

Crafting a longer narrative voice for comics wasn't a huge stretch for Pittsburgh artist Yona Harvey.

“I feel like by nature I’m already a visual thinker,” said Harvey, “so that was already alive as a poet.”

Disability Rights Activists React To Trump Presidency In Philadelphia

Nov 9, 2016
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When North Carolina was called for Donald Trump, a crying Dynah Haubert left the Sheraton ballroom.

She and other activists were among the crowds of Pennsylvania Democrats watching election results come in — until they could take no more.

It was back in July that Haubert experienced her first purposeful involvement in politics on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. "It's always been up to us. I felt that finally it's not just us shouting into the wind," she said.

AP

 

Pennsylvanians have voted to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges.

The constitutional amendment approved Tuesday will let judges remain on the bench until the end of the year in which they turn 75. That's five years longer than currently allowed.

Passage of the ballot measure means Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor won't have to retire next month, and Democratic Justice Max Baer won't have to step down at the end of next year.

Translation Help At The Polls: What's Required And How It Works

Nov 8, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

There are requirements at polling places, but help doesn't reach everyone who needs it.

Elections have been hectic for Cesar Liriano for most of the nine years he's lived in the city of Lebanon. Presidential elections are craziest, but he's busy during the lower-turnout local and gubernatorials, too.

"Normally, I get up at 5 o'clock every day, doesn't matter elections or not," Liriano says. "I go down as soon to the polls as soon as they open, I go and vote with my wife, and then I get prepared to be running from one poll to the other."

martinak15 / Flickr

For thousands of left-leaning men and women last week, Election Night was the culmination of a political nightmare they’d assumed would be over. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Among the gauntlet of campaign workers looking to sway voters before casting their ballots at Northmont United Presbyterian Church in McCandless Tuesday will be Mary Lou English and her glass jars of soup.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County is on track to see a record number of fatal drug overdoses involving fentanyl in 2016. According to the Medical Examiner’s office, 114 overdose victims have been found to have the highly potent opioid in their systems, just eight shy of last year’s all-time record.

The prevalence of fentanyl among overdose victims has skyrocketed over the last three years. In all of 2013, just eight fatal overdoses involved fentanyl.

90.5 WESA

It’s a season of change. Soon, we’ll know who our next president is and which party will control the Senate. Change is also coming to 90.5 WESA. Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson is leaving for a new job in nonprofit communications.

His last day is Tuesday.

“It’s been my honor, it’s been my pleasure to be with you in the morning,” he said.

Dad Who Got Video Of Lifeless Son Charged With Endangerment

Nov 4, 2016
Allegheny County Police

A Pennsylvania man was arrested on child endangerment charges because he didn't call 911 after the mother of his two children threatened to kill them and sent him videos of his son's lifeless body during two hours' worth of angry text messages, police said.

Andre Price Jr., 23, of McKeesport, was jailed without bond early Friday on two counts — one each for 17-month-old Andre III, and a 2-year-old daughter, Angel.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay announced his resignation from the Pittsburgh Police Department on Friday. 

Mayor Bill Peduto called a news conference to address escalating rumors.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Five new Pennsylvania laws are now in place to address the state's opioid addiction and abuse problem, including limits on how much can be prescribed in an emergency room or issued to children .

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Sage Arnold, 13, is not a big fan of this year’s election.

“When I was little I watched one of the debates between Obama and Mitt Romney,” he said. “I couldn’t really understand a lot of it, but it sounded really civilized and mature.”

Duquesne School of Law / Facebook

Starting in November, Duquesne University law students will travel to eight of Pittsburgh’s public housing complexes to help residents expunge juvenile convictions that put them at risk of eviction.  

In Pennsylvania, a person’s entire juvenile record becomes public if they are convicted of a felony as a minor – between the ages of 14 and 18. Duquesne School of Law assistant professor Tiffany Sizemore-Thompson said that is the most common reason a record becomes public. And once it’s open, every part of the record is public.

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