Three community leaders who led COVID vaccine events in Pittsburgh offer ‘one step in the solution to a wholly inequitable process’

Navigating the COVID-19 vaccination scheduling site in Allegheny County is like taking an online final exam when none of the multiple-choice options is the right answer; a privileged few are wrecking the grading curve; and the entrance to the exam site is obscured for the poor, homeless, Black and Brown. Pennsylvania has received more than 2.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines but has only delivered roughly 2 million — or 73.3%. This rate is 5.5% lower than the national average. Five percent may not sound like a lot. But in this case, it is more than just the difference between Pass and Fail. 

An increase to the national average (78.8%) would mean that 146,000 more Pennsylvania residents would already have received their first dose.

View of Downtown Pittsburgh from near the site of the former Civic Arena, where the Penguins are leading a redevelopment effort, in February 2021. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Crossing a line? A boundary change adds to tension between the Penguins and a key Hill District group

Fragile relations between the Pittsburgh Penguins’ development team and some Hill District advocates have become even more fraught this month thanks to the redrawing of a census tract boundary, which comes just weeks from potentially pivotal public meetings about the site of the former Civic Arena. Why redraw tracts? Census tracts are geographical units that are supposed to include 1,200 to 8,000 people — ideally around 4,000 — and that form the basis of some federal funding decisions. The U.S. Census Bureau reviews tract boundaries every 10 years before releasing data from the decennial census. While many changes are driven by the desire for relatively uniform tract populations, input from states is considered.

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.

Toy Slaughter raises a fist during a Black Lives Matter march in Downtown Pittsburgh on Tue., June 16, 2020. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Misremembering a summer of protest: Comparing the Capitol riot to the racial justice movement cements a false history

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. Ever since an insurrectionary mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the racial justice protests of summer 2020 are again a hot topic of discussion — primarily among those seeking to downplay the seriousness of Jan. 6 by asserting, as a supposedly self-evident comparison, that protest violence this summer was worse. We heard this rhetorical move during the impeachment proceedings last week even from the jurors themselves.

Affordable for-sale housing at the front door of the mayoral election

Housing prices nearly quadrupled in Fineview over the decade ending in 2018, and there’s no reason to believe that’s reversed since, according to neighborhood advocate Joanna Deming. The plus side: The increases are a symptom of the North Side neighborhood’s desirability, said Deming, executive director of both the Fineview Citizens Council and the Perry Hilltop Citizens Council. The minus: “So we’re seeing those rents go up! …We want to make sure we protect our residents first.”

Deming spoke inside a freshly renovated, affordable rental house on Fineview’s Lanark Street, where the citizens council’s plans call for some 20 new or remodeled houses, all priced for modest incomes, and mostly for sale, rather than for rent. She is cobbling together funding packages including money from the state, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Allegheny County and private sources.

Marc Wagner outside of his home in Swissvale, PA. (photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

‘Déjà vu’: HIV-positive Pittsburghers say we have much to learn about COVID by comparing it to our other deadly epidemic

Several Pittsburghers living with HIV told PublicSource the COVID pandemic echoed many of the scariest and most dangerous parts of living through the HIV and AIDS epidemic, including confusion about the science, social isolation, a reluctance to adopt public health measures and a lack of leadership from the president of the United States.