Pittsburgh protesters walk down a downtown street.

Pittsburgh in Protest: A slow-motion time capsule of the local movement

Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25, demonstrations around the country have called for racial justice. Those calls have not let up, and here in the Pittsburgh region, protests have filled the streets for months.

Protesters have marched, danced, sung and shouted. These protests are often loud and kinetic, filled with chants and fast-moving events. Scores of people attending the protests regularly witness this energy firsthand, while plenty more see these actions through the small handheld window of an online livestream. With so much happening all at once, PublicSource used slow motion videography to film scenes from two days of recent demonstrations. The result is a quiet, slowed-down time capsule of a critical moment in American history, happening here at home.

Local businesses say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ But what does that mean for Pittsburgh nightlife?

On “Blackout Tuesday” in early June, many organizations across the country took to social media to signal support for the nationwide uprising against racism, the movement sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Pittsburgh businesses, especially those in the South Side, Pittsburgh’s well-known nightlife destination, took to social media to signal support for Black Lives Matter. But some Black patrons and performers reject these proclamations.

Ebony Lunsford-Evans, owner of FarmerGirlEB, picks tomatoes at her home garden. (Photo by Brian Cook)

Pittsburgh’s Black farmers work to grow a new future

Those working in agriculture, a fragile business to start with, typically handle so many variables each year that are out of business owners’ hands. But 2020 has been a season full of more than the usual mix of uncertainty, one shaped by the economic and cultural impact of a pandemic few could have planned for.

In weighing fate of Pittsburgh’s Columbus statue, first a disagreement over who decides

More than 300 Pittsburgh residents reached out to the Art Commission at or before a virtual meeting Wednesday to discuss the controversial Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park and calls for its removal. 

And, after three hours and disagreement over whether the six-member commission or Mayor Bill Peduto had the final call on the statue’s fate, the commissioners voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the statue’s future on a future date to be determined. For some people, Christopher Columbus is a figure who represents Italian pride and the promise of a better life in America. For others, however, the man and his likeness in the form of a statue in Schenley Park ignore his violence toward Indigenous populations and sugarcoat a racist legacy. “This is not about cancel culture; this is about bettering our community,” Rachel Williams, a Pittsburgh resident, said. “We have an opportunity to recognize the pain and the suffering of the Taíno people at the hands of Columbus.

Carole Bailey, president and CEO of the East End Cooperative Ministry, prepares a box in the organization's food pantry. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

In the ongoing pandemic, Pittsburgh’s homeless service providers report increased need and costs

When stay-at-home orders were enacted in late March, many people experiencing homelessness had nowhere to go. Shelters around the city saw increases in demand and have had to adapt to this new reality, taking measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, keep residents occupied and help people living on the streets. These new conditions have had an impact on residents’ mental health and, combined with heightened demand, have increased shelters’ operating costs.

Jessica Benham is the cofounder of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy and the Democratic nominee in PA House District 36. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Disability justice is not just ramps and curb cuts; it spans health, education, the environment and more.

This year, the Americans with Disabilities Act and I, both, turn 30. The ADA is one of the pieces of legislation that provides a patchwork of civil rights protections for people with disabilities. Many of these disability civil rights laws, including the ADA, create an incomplete quilt of protections only enforceable through lawsuit. I want to live in a region, state and country where you don’t have to sue for basic rights. And, for me, it’s not just a political pursuit — it’s personal.