I don’t like homeschooling my three sons. There, I said it. I’m not a Pinterest mom. I’m not a mom who enjoys crafting and making goo out of borax and food coloring. I didn’t homeschool my three Black sons because I wanted to do it. I decided to do it because I was afraid. I was very afraid.
Vanessa German is a renowned artist and a community activist. She runs ARThouse in Homewood, where youth in the neighborhood have the opportunity to immerse themselves in art. German most recently made news when she spoke out at a community conversation about the removal of a billboard that contained the message, “THERE ARE BLACK PEOPLE IN THE FUTURE.”
Many stories go untold because of the stigma surrounding drugs. Communities are left in the dark about the realities of drug use. Through this series, titled “The Fix,” we will share with you a glimpse into the lives of Pittsburghers who have been affected by drugs.
The displacement of more than 200 residents from Penn Plaza apartment complex in East Liberty was neither Pittsburgh's first mass displacement nor its most catastrophic. Forced relocations of this kind date back to the 1950s, when about 8,000 were removed from the Lower Hill to make way for what later became the Civic Arena. The Penn Plaza displacement has come to symbolize gentrification in Pittsburgh and has captured the public's attention unlike any in recent memory. As it stands, the proposed redevelopment of Penn Plaza would include two separate, multistory buildings that would feature ground-level retail and upper-floor office space. The Penn Plaza owners do not plan to build housing on the site and are compelled to direct about $3 million into a fund that would support improvements to the nearby Enright Park and help to create affordable housing within 1 mile of the site.
PublicSource profiled Campbell last year as she readied for her move. We returned a year later to learn about her life after displacement, and what the future holds for the vacant Penn Plaza site and the Mellon’s Orchard complex.
Just like many other communities, Wilkinsburg has its issues and things that need to change. When we put our minds and ideas together, I do not doubt for a second that Wilkinsburg can become a better place — a safer and cleaner community where kids can continue to play games in their yards and parents don’t have to worry about stray bullets or loose dogs. Because they will know Wilkinsburg is a better place.