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.

Herry Lawford / Flickr

Whole Foods Market plans to open a new store two blocks from its Centre Avenue building.

Its chosen location is the site of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartments, a large affordable housing complex that's in the process of being demolished. The building’s owner drew vocal opposition from the community and local lawmakers last year after deciding to evict tenants in favor of redevelopment. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

  The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is defending its newly hired executive director, a county administrator from Virginia who reportedly parted ways from a similar post in South Carolina under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Pittsburgh voters will decide whether the city should increase its realty transfer tax from 2 percent to 3 percent in order to fill a trust fund that would pay for affordable housing initiatives across the city, according to the organizers of a petition drive.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Residents of the Hill District would have a much easier time walking or biking to downtown Pittsburgh after the construction of a proposed three-acre park with pathways on a platform raised overtop of I-579 in the Lower Hill.

The project, which has already undergone a year-long planning and design process, will be ready for construction after the federal government releases $19 million in grant funding for the effort this October, officials announced Tuesday.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Faced with a citation and the threat of losing their liquor license for noise violations, the owners of James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy are crowdsourcing to afford costly soundproofing renovations this summer. 

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Standing on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Wood Street, Joe Kennedy held a paper sign Thursday. It read, “I am a human being.”

“Systems change when change is demanded, and I’m here to demand change,” said Kennedy, 48. “It is unacceptable that in a society that calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave, black men are being gun downed at taxpayer expense by law enforcement.”

Mandela Washington Fellows / Facebook

Duquesne University is hosting 25 African young professionals this summer as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The initiative seeks to provide leadership training to young professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

David Goehring / flickr

While traveling from Wyoming to New York City, Winifred Gallagher was struck by the vast size of the United States. The trip inspired her to write about the agency fondly remembered for traversing the length of the country delivering correspondence: the post office.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Fourteen Pittsburgh Police officers trained to detect implicit bias and procedural justice interventions as part of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice will now be tasked with passing along that information to fellow officers.

Christina Spicuzza / flickr

Cleveland and Philadelphia, our neighbors to the north and east, will be hosting the Republican and Democratic conventions respectively. If you traveling to those cities and want to enjoy them beyond the political trappings of the convention centers travel and food contributor Elaine Labalme joins us with suggestions for seeing the cities.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Local elected officials gathered in Bloomfield on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Penn Mathilda Apartments, a new affordable housing development meant to keep low-income residents in the East End, especially as gentrification pushes up rent payments.

PA Cities Vary In Response To Firearm Ordinance Rulings, Legislative Activity

Jul 18, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

Allentown City Council is looking at reinstating as many as three ordinances previously repealed to avoid lawsuits facilitated by Act 192. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

For about a decade after he retired from 26 years of service in the U.S. Army in 2006, Larry Debar didn’t think he needed a service dog to help him in his civilian life in Homer City.

“I thought the dog would benefit someone else other than me,” Debar said.

But seeing a working dog in action on a trip to Florida earlier this year started to change Debar’s mind. At the urging of his wife, Holly, he soon dropped off an application for a free service dog through the Guardian Angels nonprofit program in Williston, Fla.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

When Conner Hagins was 9 years old, his father had a double bypass surgery.

While recovering, his father was given a teddy bear to hold against his chest while coughing or sneezing in order to help protect his chest wounds. But it was only cardiac surgery patients who were given teddy bears, Hagins found.

“From that moment it was almost a light bulb idea,” Hagins said.

Gage Skidmore / Wikipedia

The hacktivist group Anonymous is calling for a National Day of Rage protests in cities across America today. This is being done in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Pittsburgh protest is scheduled to take place this evening at 7pm at the City County Building.  Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman joins us to talk about how things have become so tense that Tim Scott,  a conservative senator from South Carolina, has broken ranks to express his concerns about policing.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is sending its five sand tiger sharks to a Florida marine park, with the goal of mating them.

But before that can happen, the zoo has the task of transporting the large creatures to Marineland of Florida, a park operated by the Georgia Aquarium, in mid-August. Curator of Aquatic life for the PPG Aquarium Dwayne Biggs said it’s no easy job.

“Transporting a 400-pound Sand Tiger Shark is a big effort,” he said.

PIIN / Facebook

In response to the police shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, faith leaders from around the country are starting a dialogue about racial disparities and what it means to be a person of color in America. We’ll hear more on the community conversation from Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network President Reverend Rodney Lyde and Reverend Dave Swanson.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Investing in foreign-born residents is not only good for the Pittsburgh-region's diversity, but also for its economy.

A report by the Partnership for a New American Economy found that foreign-born southwestern Pennsylvania residents contributed $217 million dollars in state and local taxes in 2014 and $6.8 billion to the county’s gross domestic product.

Jaunt / App Store

Pittsburgh architecture, modern and contemporary, is highlighted as part of a new app called Jaunt. The program derives from a partnership between Boston-based architecture firm Over. Under and Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture and is designed to educate users about a little over 100 buildings located in Pittsburgh.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Thousands of grassroots activists from across the country marched through downtown Pittsburgh Friday afternoon, demanding racial, economic and environmental justice.

The participants are part of the People's Convention taking place this weekend. The gathering of community leaders aims to create a community of action and share best practices for inciting change. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Torrey Davis wants the police violence to stop.

After the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Davis planted himself in front of the North Side Zone 1 police office on Thursday, holding up a sign decrying the violence against black men by police officers.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Former Seattle city councilman Nick Licata is in town this weekend for a series of social justice events. Licata will march alongside 1500 demonstrators in the Still We Rise march on Friday, speak at the People’s Convention on Saturday and promote his new book “Becoming a Citizen Activist” at the Big Idea Bookstore on Sunday.

Google Maps

Built in 1794, the Beltzhoover Homestead, located in the Beltzhoover area of South Hills, is one of the oldest buildings in Pittsburgh. According to historian Jessica Cox,  the home was present when the immediate area was just a “rugged” outpost.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

When Dakila arrived last year, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium doctors decided something wasn't quite right.

Nazareth College / flickr

Employers from around the region will be on the lookout for new hires at the second annual Refugee and Immigrant Job Fair this Friday. The event seeks to assist new citizens transitioning into the American job market who may be unfamiliar with U.S. employment techniques.

Marielle Segarra / WHYY

 

On a Wednesday evening, about 30 people — mostly kids — sit poised on their bikes on a street in downtown Reading.

It's 6 p.m., and they're about to head out for their weekly ride through the city.

A man in a white t-shirt goes over some safety rules.

"Be aware of your surroundings," he says. "No stupid stunts, none of that. And please stay together."

With that, they take off, to the tunes of Marc Anthony's "Vivir Mi Vida," playing from speakers on the back of one guy's bike.

Photo courtesy Citiparks, City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday requiring the city to be more timely and transparent with its pool inspections.

The resolution is a result of the delayed opening of Brookline’s Moore Pool this summer because of late inspections and the Hill District’s Ammon Pool not opening at all last year after its water filtration tank was mistakenly shipped overseas

Bethlehem Haven

Bethlehem Haven, a shelter for at-risk and homeless women, is joining the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, in a move that will secure their financial stability and offer a wider range of services to the women it helps.

Bethlehem Haven offers transitional housing with the assistance of federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. But Bethlehem Haven President Thomas Herward said HUD’s focus on rapid re-housing has left the shelter under-funded.

Denise Ford

A group of Pittsburghers is lending a helping hand to children in Haiti.

The Pittsburgh-based Yahve-Jire Children's Foundation operates an orphanage in Haiti for 25 children, which is completely funded through donations and services provided by volunteers primarily from the Pittsburgh region. 

A group of locals set off for Haiti on Saturday for the next mission trip, led by Denise Ford, a volunteer from South Fayette Township.

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