A coalition of 11 groups and two elected officials on Monday demanded a dozen changes to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County police policies, budgets and staffing. They say top officials have not done enough to consult with Black communities, before or during weeks of marches and rallies since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
On Friday, a crowd held candles outside of the apartment building in McKeesport where Aaliyah Johnson lived. They were there to honor her life — and demand a proper investigation of her death. Johnson, a transgender Black woman, died on May 26 after falling from her window in Midtown Plaza Apartments. She was in her early 30s. Her death was ruled a suicide, but friends and family say there wasn’t an adequate investigation and demanded answers.
Relief for those struggling to find work will depend on the path the region’s economy takes in recovering from the coronavirus crisis — and economic experts uniformly say that it’s impossible to predict the way forward at this point. They agree that consumer confidence will dictate recovery.
Has racism by white people against Black people in this country hit a crescendo? Or is it simply a perpetuation — albeit now publicly consumable — of the same white supremacy we have seen in the United States for more than 400 years?
“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” —James Baldwin, author and civil rights activist
This is the perfect quote to describe my reaction to the recent events involving Black men that have taken place during quarantine: a constant state of rage, sadness and hopelessness. Perhaps being able to go out and converse with my friends and peers would help me cope with these events, but unfortunately that wouldn’t help with my healing.
What started as a peaceful march and protest escalated into violent tensions and forced Pittsburgh Public Safety to issue a curfew order effective at 8:30 p.m Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said the curfew will be in place Sunday as well.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and amid the pandemic, mental health support is more important than ever. Helpful tips are everywhere on the internet, but nothing replaces personal experiences. So, to amplify mental health stories in Pittsburgh area and curate local perspectives, we reached out to about a dozen community leaders and invited them to answer three questions.
The Pittsburgh region is run in large part by more than 500 unelected board members of authorities, commissions and other governmental agencies. Board members usually don’t get headlines. Those go to the mayor, the county executive or, occasionally, council members, controllers and directors. But boards often decide what does and doesn’t get built, who gets contracts and grants, what rates and fees we pay for everything from bus rides to water, and more. Now, as the region copes with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the operations of those boards are likely to affect our lives and futures more than ever. Already, boards are switching gears from managing growth to addressing an economic emergency. It’s time we got to know them better.
Allegheny County moved from phase red, which required everyone to adhere to a strict “stay at home” order, to phase yellow. Now some nonessential activities and businesses could open.
The number of coronavirus cases had fallen over time but there were still dozens of new cases each week. It was unclear how many people would risk venturing out into public and whether those that did would adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The emergence of COVID-19 has put health care in breaking news. Every day, we hear of the tragic deaths due to this pandemic. We are also hearing of heroic efforts by healthcare workers, what they are doing for their patients and how communities are coming together to help one another out in this trying time. COVID-19 has also exposed weaknesses in the U.S. healthcare system, like the lack of personal protective equipment, poor regulations on long-term care facilities and poor response from government agencies.
Another weakness to consider is the stigma and bias that those with mental health disorders and substance use disorders experience in the healthcare system. The bias and stigma come directly from healthcare professionals.
I know firsthand the effects of stigma and bias on patients because I have been working in health care for 22 years; 19 of those years have been serving people with mental health and substance use disorders.