American society is becoming more multi-racial, less binary and more mobile. It’s common for people to ask how you identify. I happen to identify as a Pittsburgher, Black and a Woman.

So when last fall the city released a report on Pittsburgh’s inequities across race and gender, the findings were inescapable, disheartening and triggering. I took it personally. 

PublicSource community correspondent Jourdan Hicks with Janel Young and Naomi Ritter in July 2020.

Black women are not monolithic people. The experiences that sculpt our lives matter. How our stories show up in studies observing our quality of life deserves context.

On the second episode of From the Source, I spoke with native Pittsburghers, Naomi Ritter and Janel Young about what gets left out of the conversation when discussing Black womanhood in Pittsburgh and unique experiences that shaped and caged their identities. 

Their reflections are intimate, authentic and fresh takes on how we discuss how Pittsburgh nurtures and shapes Black women. 

My conversation with Janel and Naomi is the first part in a two-part series about the relationship between the city and self-discovery and development of Black women.

Listen to the second episode of From the Source: Season 2.

Jourdan Hicks is a community correspondent at PublicSource. She can be reached at

This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.

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