‘We’re gonna keep fighting’: Chauvin guilty verdict brings bittersweet hope, continued calls for criminal justice reform

“The fact that people were on edge that this man might not be found guilty speaks volumes about the changes that need to be made to our criminal justice system." That's how Brandi Fisher, president and CEO of the Alliance for Police Accountability, described the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in a rare rebuke for police violence Tuesday evening.

Historic photo of Bethel AME Church, a large, Romanesque-style cathedral, amid demolition. A crane hovers over the building, and a few construction workers stand in front.

Pittsburgh’s oldest Black church was demolished as ‘blight’ in the 1950s Lower Hill. Today, members seek justice.

As conversations heat up over development plans for the Lower Hill District, one voice is drawing religious history into the spotlight. Bethel AME Church, founded in 1808, was once a thriving congregation and center of learning and social activism. As part of the Lower Hill redevelopment project of the 1950s, the City of Pittsburgh seized the church by eminent domain and demolished it, despite eminent domain laws excluding churches from their reach. 

The county’s Human Relations Commission investigates discrimination. It’s hoping to boost its modest caseload.

William Price heads the Allegheny County commission charged with investigating discrimination. With all of the turmoil in recent months — including the rise of protests for racial justice and concerns about targeted evictions — he finds something surprising: The county Human Relations Commission handled only 11 cases in 2020 and just one through March of this year. The six members of the all-volunteer Allegheny County Human Relations Commission have backgrounds ranging from the legal field to the nonprofit sector. Price said the group feels as though they are not using their powers to the fullest potential, a concern reflected by the low case count. In contrast, the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission has seen large numbers of cases during the past couple of years but declined to detail how many. Allegheny County Council established the county commission in 2009 to handle cases regarding discrimination against race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

rally_StopAsianHate

As a Han Chinese woman in Pittsburgh, I see the Atlanta massacre exposing how media, government and academia fail Asian women

Six weeks after I moved to Pittsburgh to begin a graduate program, a mass shooting took place at a synagogue 2 miles from my apartment. Six weeks before my departure, another mass shooting hit close to home. 

This time, the hate crime took place in another state, but it targeted Asian women. On March 16, eight people were gunned down at three Asian spas in the Atlanta suburbs – two Han Chinese women, four Korean women, and two white bystanders. The victims’ names are Tan Xiaojie; Feng Daoyou; Yue Yong Ae; Kim Suncha; Park Soon Chung; Hyun Jung Grant; Delaina Ashley Yaun; and Paul Andre Michels. A ninth bystander, Elcias Hernandez Ortiz, remains in the hospital.

A fuzzy photo of a computer screen with multiple people in a video meeting.

Racist ‘Zoombombing’ attacks have marred virtual events. Here’s how to protect your virtual space.

A historically Black sorority at Slippery Rock University saw its virtual poetry workshop in February overtaken by unknown users who hurled racist imagery and slurs into the Zoom space. Other groups in the region were victims of similar attacks while trying to host Black History Month events. Commonly referred to as “Zoombombings,” the intrusions are a national trend that began as colleges and schools moved classes to Zoom in March 2020. Platform providers and meeting organizers are still unable to reliably prevent them a year on. Zoombombings can go beyond disruption and cause physical and mental harm to traditionally marginalized communities.

Commentary: Pittsburgh is America’s apartheid city

Like the children in Alex, Black children in my hometown were growing up in one of the nation’s least livable and unequal cities for Black Americans, according to the landmark race and gender equity study published in 2019. At that moment, I had arrived at an uncomfortable truth. Pittsburgh was America's apartheid city, not the nation's most livable city.

As a community health nurse, I know a barrier to health care when I see it. The COVID vaccine signup process is one that can cost lives.

Health systems that prioritize people who are able to go online for hours, hunting for scarce vaccine appointments, are creating barriers for vulnerable people who often have spent most of their lives pressing their noses against the window of a healthcare system that doesn’t seem to care about them.