Friday, June 9, 2017

Researchers at Pittsburgh conference say human trafficking hits close to home

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 11:06 AM

According to researchers at a conference at the University of Pittsburgh this week, human trafficking is a major problem in the world today, and more local than many people know.

On June 7 and 8, the Center on Race and Social Problems in Pitt’s School of Social Work held its 2017 Race and Child Welfare Summer Institute. Inside the Cathedral of Learning, 60 social workers and professionals in related agencies gathered to hear a variety of presentations dealing with subjects like human trafficking, welcoming immigrants and the vulnerability of refugees in Pittsburgh.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Heated opinions at forum sparked by controversial painting

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 1:38 PM

Emotions ran high at last night’s public forum Downtown on race and representation in art.

Post-forum discussion at the Trust Arts Education Center - CP PHOTO BY BILL O'DRISCOLL
  • CP Photo by Bill O'Driscoll
  • Post-forum discussion at the Trust Arts Education Center
About 80 attended the often-fiery discussion, which was sparked by controversy over “Within Two Seconds, The Shooting of Tamir Rice,” a painting by white, Cleveland-based artist Tom Megalis that was chosen for exhibition at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. The painting depicts the 2014 police killing of a 12-year-old African-American boy in Cleveland. Twelve days before the exhibit opened, Megalis publicized the painting’s inclusion on his Facebook page; a social-media firestorm ensued, and Megalis withdrew the work.

Last night’s forum was organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which runs the arts festival. Megalis was invited to attend but declined. The event was moderated by art historian Kilolo Luckett, who began by saying, “This isn’t about yes or no. … I’m really interested in the space in between.”

But such space was sometimes difficult to find at the Trust Arts Education Center. Most who spoke condemned the painting, saying it was an example of a white artist exploiting black pain.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Immigrants are propping up the Pittsburgh metro area population

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Latin American folk-dance group Latina Productions at Beechview’s Cinco de Mayo festival in 2016 - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • Latin American folk-dance group Latina Productions at Beechview’s Cinco de Mayo festival in 2016
Without an influx of international migration to the Pittsburgh metro area, the region would have lost 36,580 residents since 2010. This would have been far and away the largest population decline of any large U.S. metro area over that time span. Luckily, enough people came across borders to the Steel City, drastically cutting into the figure, and stemming some the region’s population decline. (The Pittsburgh region has still lost 14,000 residents since 2010, the second most of major metro areas, behind Cleveland.)

According to U.S. Census figures, from 2010 to 2016, the Pittsburgh area gained 22,588 residents from international migration, which is defined as migration by the foreign-born, Puerto Ricans and native-born Americans living overseas.

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Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh needs help raising the #LastMillion

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM

  • Illustration courtesy of Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Architectural illustration of the new facility
Last year, the the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh operated at an average of 112 percent capacity, serving over 6,000 women and children by providing services such as a safe place to stay, counselling, support groups and legal assistance. But unfortunately, the center, in great need of an expansion, had to refer hundreds of people in need to other resources when it didn’t have the space to accommodate them.

This week, the center launched #LastMillion, the final phase in its ongoing major capital campaign, Shelter From the Storm, to raise $12 million to build an expanded facility. So far, Shelter From the Storm has raised nearly 11 million dollars with the support of foundations, individuals, corporations, organizations and government funding. Now the center is reaching out to the greater Pittsburgh community to raise the last million it needs to complete construction.

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A conversation with longtime Pittsburgh City Paper Pride Week photographer John Colombo

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 10:32 AM

John Colombo on the bus Downtown to photograph Pride 2016
  • John Colombo on the bus Downtown to photograph Pride 2016

If you’re a regular reader of City Paper, chances are you’ll recognize John Colombo’s name. His photo bylines appear in the paper more often than any other photographer we work with. It’s because he’s really talented, of course, but it’s also because he’s an incredibly nice guy always willing to go the extra mile.

This week alone, you can see five of John’s photographs in our first-ever Pride Issue, including one of Sister Petra of Steel City Sisters, another of a local gay couple with their adopted children, and two from last year’s Pride parade. He’ll be at this year’s Pride festivities on Sunday too, joining City Paper and documenting the crowd as we march through Downtown together. (Give his camera some love and you might end up in our online photo essay next week!)

John has been professionally photographing Pittsburgh Pride events for City Paper and other publications for more than 15 years — and, even though he says it doesn’t define him, he also happens to be gay himself. In honor of this week’s Pride Issue, I talked to John about what it’s been like documenting Pride and being a part of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community for all those years.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Allegheny Health Network awarded $90,000 grant for lupus outreach and education

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Last month was lupus awareness month
  • Last month was lupus awareness month
Last year, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center and UCSF in San Francisco who analyzed data from the California Lupus Epidemiology Study found that African-American and Asian lupus patients, as well as patients with a high school education or less, experienced a longer delay between receiving their lupus diagnoses and seeing a specialist for treatment than other groups.

In an effort to address this disparity, the Allegheny Health Network’s Lupus Center of Excellence was chosen by the Highmark Foundation last month to receive a $90,000 grant to expand its reach into local underrepresented and underserved communities. Dr. Susan Manzi, director of the Lupus Center of Excellence, medical director of the Lupus Foundation of America and chair of the AHN Department of Medicine, will lead the program.

Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly called lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease. Lupus causes inflammation which affects the skin, joints, kidneys and other organs. Patients with the disease have to receive treatment from a medical specialist like a rheumatologist. In severe cases, lupus can cause kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

The Three Rivers Arts Festival returns to Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 6:08 PM

  • CP photo by Krista Johnson

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival kicked off on Friday night, bringing 10 days of free music and art to Downtown Pittsburgh.

Here are some highlights from the opening weekend events.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Withdrawn painting at arts festival spurs discussion of race and representation

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 11:06 AM

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival opens today without what’s already become its most-discussed artwork.

Last week, artist Tom Megalis pulled from the festival his painting “Within Two Seconds, The Shooting of Tamir Rice,” after online criticism alleging that the work exploited the death of Rice, the 12-year-old African-American boy shot to death by police in Cleveland in 2014. Megalis, who is white, was accused of cultural appropriation, and of insensitivity in his handling of the tragedy.

But the racially charged controversy over the removal of the painting is about more than the skin color of the artist. Critics say it illustrates, painfully, the chasm between the way white people experience the world and the way black people do.

"Within Two Seconds, The Shooting of Tamir Rice," a painting by Tom Megalis
  • "Within Two Seconds, The Shooting of Tamir Rice," a painting by Tom Megalis
Megalis’ large-scale painting, completed in 2016, depicts an officer shooting Rice, who lies in a pool of blood, his toy gun still resting on his stomach. To the right, a black girl (representing Rice's sister) who cries out at the sight of the killing is restrained by a second policeman. Text in the background reads, “No charges” — a reference to a Cuyahoga County grand jury’s 2015 decision not to indict the cops, the news that Megalis says led him to create the painting as a memorial and “a tribute to Tamir Rice.”

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh add Sunday hours at two branches

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 10:19 AM

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will now be open on Sundays at CLP - Allegheny (on the North Side) and CLP – South Side, starting this weekend. The Squirrel Hill location will also open an hour earlier on Sundays; all three will be now open 12-5 p.m. on Sundays.

  • Courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
The CLP decided to open the Allegheny and South Side locations on Sundays because of “geographic distribution of Sunday hours throughout the City and existing street traffic from other businesses on Sundays in the neighborhood,” according to a press release. The main CLP location, in Oakland, is already open on Sundays.

For Allegheny and South Side, this doesn't just entail an extra day of library access: it also means more events.

At Allegheny, the percussion band Timbeleza will perform at 1 p.m. this Sunday the Kids Summer Reading Kick-Off, where families are encouraged to sign up for summer reading. And at 1 p.m. on July 2 and 30 and Aug. 27, a mechanic will be on hand to help kids take care of their bikes. Hands On: Interactive Learning Sundays for Adults will also begin June 4 and run every Sunday, offering new activities every week, including photography and sewing.

At 3 p.m. this Sunday, CLP – South Side will offer a performance by Phat Man Dee and The Cultural District, a jazz group.

On Sun., July 23, both locations will also feature performances by King Fez, a Pittsburgh-based belly-dance rock band. The show's at noon at CLP – Allegheny and 2:30 p.m. at CLP – South Side.

A complete listing of hours, locations, events and more can be found here.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

U.S. survey shows transgender individuals in Pennsylvania face disproportionate discrimination

Posted By on Tue, May 30, 2017 at 2:34 PM

The transgender flag - PHOTO COURTESY WIKI COMMONS
  • Photo courtesy Wiki Commons
  • The transgender flag
Scores of political pundits, media personalities and even comedians have commented on how quickly transgender individuals have been accepted into mainstream society. And while the perception of acceptance might be growing with trans individuals like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox emerging into the celebrity spotlight, a new nationwide survey shows the average trans person is far from receiving equal treatment in the U.S.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, released this month, showcases how trans individuals face significantly higher rates of poverty, unemployment and workplace discrimination nationwide. The survey received responses from 1,171 trans individuals in Pennsylvania, and asked them questions about their work status, housing situation, education and restroom access.

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