A noose hanging from a tree outside our Pittsburgh home is tied to a much larger problem

Last week, we received a death threat in the “most livable city in America.” It hung wrapped around a tree in front of our Regent Square home, visible from where we sit every day at our dining room table. The black cord was twisted into the shape of a killing device used to publicly hang the bodies of Black people for generations in this country.

Meet a trans sex worker and poet in Pittsburgh

Ashley is the only friend for whom I have invented a word to describe our relationship. It is “snarkmaste”: the divine snark in me recognizes and salutes the divine snark within you. When I sent her a text to set up the interview, our exchange went like this:
Me: Let’s go for noon on Sunday. Ashley: Deal. Where?

My photographs of Syrian refugees were vandalized in Pittsburgh. But I will keep telling those stories.

"@maranierae, have you seen this?" The Instagram post mentioning my name showed portraits of Syrian refugee children; they were familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. These were the children whom I had met and photographed while working in the Zaatari refugee camp last year. But in this photo there were Xs spray-painted across each of their faces. It was an image taken at the “Displaced” exhibition presented during the Three Rivers Arts Festival under the Fort Duquesne Bridge on the Pittsburgh riverfront.

Video: Amid crime and blight, Natalie Thomas plants peace and community in Beltzhoover.

Since 2011, longtime Beltzhoover resident Natalie Thomas has been the caretaker of the Unified Positive Effect Community Garden at the corner of Climax Street and Estella Avenue. Thomas, 62, said the space used to be a jungle of overgrown weeds and grass that attracted neighborhood crime. Now people know not to “mess with” her garden, and she said she’s noticed a reduction in crime on the block.

Trump’s actions and rhetoric threatened to crush my spirit, but Muslim Girl excellence in Pittsburgh persists

It was the winter of 1998. I was 6. I don’t have a particularly vivid memory of that year but I can remember one morning of the first grade exceptionally well. I had stepped off the school bus and trotted into school, my mind filled with memories from the day before, like my mom’s warm smile as she chided me to move away from the furniture with my henna-soaked hands.