Category: Metro Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer
Former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, right, and sister Janine Orie, left, arrive for court with a family member on May 7, for sentencing for their February convictions on corruption in Orie Melvin's election campaign. The sisters avoided prison time for their corruption convictions but were sentenced Tuesday to house arrest for what a judge called crimes of "arrogance." (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Following the May 7 sentencing of former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister on public corruption charges, NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Connie Parker said she received several calls complaining that they should have gone to jail.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 15:04
Category: Metro Written by Rebecca Nuttall - Courier Staff Writer
According to a letter received by the New Pittsburgh Courier, Community College of Allegheny County President Alex Johnson could be leaving CCAC to take a position as president of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 09:51
Category: Metro Written by C. Denise Johnson
CHEO TYEHIMBA TAYLOR
Complaints about the depiction of Black males in media is nothing new, it just continuous. Just listen to the hub-bub about Tyler the Creator’s Mountain Dew commercial. Instead of preaching to the choir, a group of talented Africans from across the country (and in Pittsburgh) have been confronting the issues with actions and images.
The GAME CHANGERS PROJECT is a national media fellowship program for emerging Black filmmakers in partnership with community-based organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for Black males.
The purpose of the fellowship is to catalyze "activist storytellers" across the nation who will regularly shoot, edit, and produce 4-minute "micro-documentaries" about Black men (and other underrepresented groups) in America who are "changing the game" in various areas such as education, justice, wellness, entrepreneurship, fatherhood, gender equity, etc. Fellows produce short films on the work of unheralded community heroes, social justice advocates, ex-offenders, innovators, politicians, thought leaders, celebrities, professional athletes, and individuals working to improve outcomes for African- American men and boys.
Pittsburgh’s 2012 fellows have been game changers all along. Some are familiar (Chris Ivey, “East of Liberty” and activist/rapper Jasiri X, “What if the Tea Party was Black?”), others not as well known: Haji Muya, a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh who’s work includes a short piece on the Gators youth football program; and James Robinson, a CCAC graduate with who created a web-series about the African American Music Institute’s Boys’ Choir.
The Game Changers Project was sparked by a 1997 interview with the late legendary photographer Gordon Parks by GCP founder Cheo Tyehimba Taylor, who at the time was writing for VIBE magazine. Parks shared a comparison of guns and cameras.
Taylors recounts his “aha moment: "’look, you have a .45 automatic there on your lap," said Parks. “I have a 35mm camera on mine. I think my weapon is just as powerful as yours if used right.’"
“For Parks, his camera was the ultimate ‘choice of weapons’ and he used it both to make beautiful pictures and to fight ignorance and intolerance,” says Taylor, who heads a consultancy, Forward Ever Media.
“Years later, I asked myself what would it take to re-imagine stories about misunderstood segments of society –Black men for example – and to find talented and determined filmmakers who could use their cameras to tell authentic stories that shift perceptions and help to change lives?” said Taylor. “Could their stories inspire and transform societal stereotypes? If we could produce a compelling web series of high quality, digital short films that captured the complex journeys of community change makers, who would most benefit?”
With the support of generous funders, including The Heinz Endowments, The Game Changers Project was launched in 2010 as a part of the 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys. It offers an alternative to the dominant, often stereotypical, narrative about Black men in mainstream media and has grown to include eight cities: Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Pittsburgh was added in 2012.
During a three-month fellowship, Game Changer fellows are "embedded" within local community-based organizations and produce short films to advocate the organization's mission.
According to local GCP manager, Desiree Davis Lee, the application is open to Black men (only in Pittsburgh, due to its funding provided by The Heinz Endowments African American Men and Boys Initiative - other cities allow Black women) between the ages of 18-35.
“For the class of 2013, we're looking for a cadre of serious filmmakers with a proven track-record of producing stories for social change,” says Davis Lee.
Although WQED-TV broadcast a segment on the project earlier in the year, its official debut to the community takes place on Saturday, May 11 at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre from 3-9 p.m. It includes youth media workshops, a reception with GCP filmmakers, a screening of “We Got Next,” an inspiring multi-part documentary film about unsung community heroes, and “We Changed the Game, a new music video, followed by a town hall discussion about what it takes to improve social outcomes for Black males in Pittsburgh. Cheo Tyehimba Taylor will be in attendance.
For more information call Desiree Davis Lee at 412-606-2321 or www.GameChangersProject.org or http://kelly-strayhorn.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:12
Category: Metro Written by Tene Croom
PITTSBURGH--“I’ve always been committed to coming back and helping not only kids in my community, but also where I play.”
Those words from Swin Cash, a McKeesport native, who was back in her hometown as the keynote speaker at the Pittsburgh NAACP’s 59th annual Human Rights Dinner.
The Olympian and WNBA star, born Swintayla Marie Cash, sometimes had the scores of people gathered in the ballroom of the Wyndham Grand Hotel Downtown laughing. She explained how sports were always in her really large family. Her mother had 12 siblings and she had 75 first cousins.
There was never a doubt, Cash proclaimed, that she was going to play ball.
“Sports was always there. When we were playing football in the backyard. And whether I thought I was going to be playing for the Steelers one day,” she said.
As chuckles spread across the room to the Pittsburgh Steelers comment, she acknowledged them.
“Yeah, I really did think that,” the 33 year old Cash proclaimed with a smile.
Everyone listened to Cash with rapt attention as she talked about something very close to her heart, her charity, Cash for Kids.
“It’s so important for us to give back to our youth and keeping them engaged in not only activities with sports, but also cultural activities,” she said. “We have kids if they want to go in to learn more about the sciences and math and learn more about education or about drama or about being a hair stylist. We’re pushing them to be whatever their calling is.”
Her WNBA home is the Windy City, where she plays for the Chicago Sky. However, Cash lives in Atlanta when she’s not playing.
The 6 foot one and 162 pound powerhouse used her hands for more than dunking a basketball. She’s written a book, “Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold,” that chronicles her amazing journey playing basketball both professionally and in the Olympics.
With all that she has accomplished at such a young age, Cash explained just what keeps her going.
“What will your legacy be? Not as the NAACP. Not as Cash for Kids. Not as every other foundation that’s in this room. What will your individual legacy be? What will people say about you? That’s what motivates me,” she said.
Receiving the Judge Homer S. Brown award were Pittsburgh Steelers legend, Mel Blount, founder of the Mel Blount Youth
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 13:59
Category: Metro Written by Associated Press
'WORK OF ART'--Superintendent Linda Lane stands beside valuable piece of art. (Photo/Pittsburgh Public Schools)
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A painting that Pittsburgh Public Schools officials lost for 80 years has brought $750,000 in found money to the cash-strapped school district.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:43
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