Sue Kerr recognizes that she has had support throughout hard times post-hysterectomy and she wonders how others with little to no safety net are getting through hurdles and uncertainty she faced. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Getting a hysterectomy in a world-class healthcare city like Pittsburgh should be easy. Trust me, it’s not.

Editor’s Note: As journalists, we spend a lot of time talking with officials and community members and distilling it into stories that explore important issues of our time. But we realize that sometimes it is just more powerful to hear it straight from the source. This is one of those times. When I learned that I would need a hysterectomy at age 47, I anticipated bumps in the road — but only of the medical sort. I didn’t foresee the ways in which institutional issues would complicate my recovery.

Ayisat Bisiriyu, 14, wants to raise awareness and open discussion surrounding mental health issues that can affect teenagers. (Photo by Maranie R. Staab/PublicSource)

Mental illness and teens: It’s hard to tell who is joking and who is crying for help. What’s my responsibility?

Editor’s note: At PublicSource, we believe in giving a platform to voices not often heard or consulted. That's why we asked teenagers in the Pittsburgh region to tell us what matters to them and write about it. We will feature their stories as an occasional series. The nation’s conversation about mental illness and school shootings has changed the way I listen to my classmates. It’s changed the way I read and everything I watch.

The police officers behind the senseless killings of black men nationwide are not only bad examples, they’re dream killers

Editor’s Note: As journalists, we spend a lot of time talking with officials and community members and distilling it into stories that explore important issues of our time. But we realize that sometimes it is just more powerful to hear it straight from the source. This is one of those times. The essay is a special feature timed for Mother's Day and the Brown Mamas Monologues* happening May 12. For as long as I can remember, my son Dion has wanted to be a football player and a policeman (and a pizza maker and a race car driver).