PublicSource is a small but passionate nonprofit digital-first newsroom committed to serving the Pittsburgh area. We produce original journalism. We tell stories in new ways. We show up in the community. 

Our display at Square Cafe is one of many efforts to connect with our community, with you. The collection of images we’ve spotlighted in this community space features residents of the Pittsburgh region who shared their stories with us in hopes of illuminating our understanding of the region’s evolving history. These stories have prompted shifts in mindsets and legislation.

Click the link below each photo to access expanded reporting behind each scene. 

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Youth football players emerge from beneath the bleachers to take the field for a Saturday Little League game in Clairton on Sept. 18, 2021. “We’ve created a culture and a climate of being champions,” said Clairton High School head coach Wayne Wade. “And it’s so hard once you become a champion to take that from you.” (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The City of Prayer: Clairton’s residents persevere amid persistent pollution and violence


University of Pittsburgh student Eva Steele poses for a photo with a fellow Pitt student on Sept. 19, 2022, in Oakland. Eva is connecting other survivors of intimate partner violence with opportunities to forge a path of support for others in the same position. Her Project Healing Sideways is at the table with Pitt’s Title IX office, bringing the perspectives of survivors to policy discussions. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

From the story: The Red Zone: A Pitt student’s initiative wants to help survivors of intimate partner violence “be the leader in their own healing”


Johnnie Perryman sits for a portrait at his home in Clairton on March 16, 2021. “Everybody knows it kills people,” Perryman said of the air pollution in Clairton, which is consistently ranked among the worst in the nation. “People are dying all of the time in Clairton. I know people that have died, and then you have to question whether or not it was the air.” (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource) https://www.publicsource.org/clairton-city-of-prayer-portraits-illness-trauma-advocacy-resilience/

From the story: The City of Prayer: Clairton’s residents persevere amid persistent pollution and violence


Tiffani Shaffer waits in the doorway for her daughter Kaia, 3, to gather her stuffed animals for bed on July 12, 2022, at their home in Harmony. Shaffer, a police officer with a neighboring township, says she experienced discrimination regarding her pregnancy years prior and was inspired to be an example for her daughter in pursuing her right to equal treatment. “I could have just been like, ‘Well, I guess this is it. I’m not going to get hours, this is it,’ and I could have left,” she said. “But, I did it and I fought for what is right, which is equality for women, specifically pregnant women.” (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

From the story: They cut your hours because you’re expecting? A program to curb pregnancy and lactation discrimination expands to Pittsburgh


A person stands in the glowing windows of the Hilton Garden Inn that runs above Forbes Avenue on July 22, 2022, in Central Oakland. Proponents of development in Oakland, including university and city officials, view planned construction in the neighborhood as propelling needed growth that creates jobs, meets the area’s housing needs and fosters a vibrant, diverse neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s second downtown. Meanwhile, long-term Oakland residents are facing and embracing change, while vying for a seat at the table when it comes to neighborhood planning. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/Public Source)

From the story: Surrounded by university and city development, Oakland residents face and embrace change, vie for a seat at the table


Author Atiya Irvin-Mitchell of Squirrel Hill poses for a portrait for her essay on purity culture, on Aug. 31, 2022, in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Misogyny, AIDS and moral panic resulted in “purity rings,” chastity pledges and cycles of guilt and shame that continue today, she writes in a push for recognition and healing. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

From the first person essay: The purity movement told young people that ‘you are not your own,’ and the harm from that message persists


Shell’s new ethane cracker plant sprawls along the Ohio River in Potter Township on the evening of Oct. 25, 2022. Shell started cracker plant operations in November 2022. It produces plastic pellets no larger than a lentil by converting, or ‘cracking,’ ethane sourced from nearby fracking operations into polyethylene — the building blocks of single-use and other plastics. The cracker will produce up to 1.6 million metric tons of plastics each year and will be the second largest polluter of volatile organic compounds in the state. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The citizen scientists of crackerland: Armed with buckets and hunting plastic pellets, neighbors prepare for the petro plant next door


Boys leave youth football practice in Clairton on Aug. 10, 2021. PublicSource photojournalist Quinn Glabicki spent 12 months in The City of Prayer, documenting life and speaking with more than 50 residents. They shared how their environment and community shape their lives, from illness and grief to hope and perseverance. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The City of Prayer: Clairton’s residents persevere amid persistent pollution and violence


Vitaliy Kukhar holds a Ukrainian flag as churchgoers sing the Ukrainian national anthem to close service at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, four days after Russia invaded Ukraine. Kukhar’s friends are fighting in the ongoing war. If not for his two daughters, Kukhar said that he, too, would leave to defend Ukraine. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The Russian invasion of Ukraine ignites anger, distress among Pittsburghers from warring nations


University of Pittsburgh students Neil Pandey, left, and Christian Smarz, right, both 20, play chess on their apartment balcony on July 22, 2022, in Central Oakland. Oakland, the neighborhood fueling Pittsburgh’s “eds and meds” renaissance, is now at a critical juncture in charting its future. The city is moving forward with a 10-year development plan for Oakland, after about 100 community meetings over more than two years. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/Public Source)

From the story: Surrounded by university and city development, Oakland residents face and embrace change, vie for a seat at the table


Teireik Williams, center, laughs during one of his weekly Friday evening hangouts with community members by Dan Marino Field on July 22, 2022, in his neighborhood of South Oakland. “My vision for Oakland is deeply rooted in the ability to walk down the street and know people,” said Williams, who bought his current home close to the South Oakland house he grew up in. “It sounds kind of cliche, but I do feel like you should know the people in your neighborhood.” (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/Public Source)

From the story: Surrounded by university and city development, Oakland residents face and embrace change, vie for a seat at the table


Doris Harvin-Taylor, left, speaks with PublicSource beside her husband, Kwame Taylor, about the choices they’ve made for their children’s education on Nov. 7, 2022, at their home in Morningside. For Harvin-Taylor and parents like her, navigating Pittsburgh’s school options for her two children can be “exhausting.” The couple was part of a study by the Pittsburgh College Access Alliance and the University of Pittsburgh that interviewed Black families about their K-12 educational experiences in the city. Though parents’ concerns are not monolithic, some noted that public schools can offer greater student diversity but can lack resources due to systemic inequities. Private schools, on the other hand, can provide more resources at a greater price, but the predominantly white spaces can be socially isolating. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

From the story: For some Black families in Pittsburgh, finding the right school means choosing between diversity and academic rigor


Alyssa Beley is reflected in the glass of the University of Pittsburgh’s arts building as she stands for a portrait on Nov. 17, 2022, in Oakland. She says her experience seeking counseling after being assaulted while she was a freshman at the school led to her current career path to be a trauma therapist to help survivors. This photo is part of PublicSource’s investigative project on sexual violence at area college campuses, The Red Zone. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

From the story: The Red Zone: They are Pittsburgh college students and survivors of sexual violence. Here, they share their stories.


Andre Hines stands in the halfpipe at the South Park Skatepark, where he and his friends have been learning to skateboard with Youth Opportunities Development, a local nonprofit youth program for boys in Clairton on June 24, 2021. The after-school program gives boys like Andre a safe space to learn, hang out and talk about the issues their community faces day in and day out. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The City of Prayer: Clairton’s residents persevere amid persistent pollution and violence


Clifford Lau stands for a portrait on the southern shore of the Ohio River in Monaca on Oct. 27, 2022. Lau, a chemist, leads a growing movement of citizen scientists in sampling emissions from Shell’s new ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: The citizen scientists of crackerland: Armed with buckets and hunting plastic pellets, neighbors prepare for the petro plant next door


Fred Kraybill (left) guides people on a tour of his solar-powered home in Point Breeze at a party celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest piece of climate legislation in U.S. History, on Aug. 24, 2021. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: Only partly sunny? Solar backers say federal action isn’t enough


Tom Bussoletti looks out over a site near his home where a new natural gas pipeline is being built through the forest on July 18, 2022. The rural Greene County hamlet of New Freeport lost access to safe drinking water after a ‘frack-out’ impacted private water supplies in June 2022. (Photo by Quinn Glabicki/PublicSource)

From the story: Since the ‘frack out,’ it’s oily showers, mysterious smells and thirsty pets for residents of a Southwestern PA town