Video: Facebook Live interview with artist Vanessa German

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.”

As the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announces mergers, here’s what it means for parishioners and church buildings left behind

In September 2017, the diocese’s On Mission Commission announced initial recommendations for whittling the number of parishes down to 48. On Thursday, April 26, Zubik will share final plans for consolidations with priests and deacons before holding a press conference on April 28 to make the decisions public. Groupings will also be shared at weekend Masses and made available online. But how are parishioners affected when the diocese closes their home churches? And what happens to church buildings once their parishioners migrate and they’re left empty?

The Penn Plaza apartment complex in East Liberty before it was demolished in 2017. (Photo by Maranie Rae Staab/PublicSource)

Key moments in the Penn Plaza displacement saga

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.