Home > PUM Black History Salutes: Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle

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PUM Black History Salutes Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle

PUM Celebrating Black History Month 2014 Featuring Pittsburgh Leaders Who Inspire


PittsburghUrbanMedia.com proudly celebrates Black History Month this February 2014 by honoring and featuring African American Leaders who inspire and demonstrate a commitment to uplifting future generations. What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. Passion, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the leaders featured during the month of February all demonstrate that they are significantly shaping the world – in business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward.

We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams.



Robert Daniel Lavelle was born and raised in the Hill District section of the City of Pittsburgh. He attended Pittsburgh Public Schools and graduated from Schenley High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University in 2000. In 2002, he completed the Leadership Pittsburgh program. Daniel, as family and friends know him, lives in the Hill District with his wife Rachel Riley-Lavelle, a graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh.


His professional career until January 2010 has included working as a Pittsburgh City Council Legislative Aide for former Councilman Sala Udin, and Chief of Staff for the 19th Legislative District's Honorable State Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr. Daniel honed his skills as an advocate for working-class families, seniors, fair governance, and good democracy. He has served with Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) where he also learned the inner-workings of government and how to best implement public policy that benefits neighborhood residents. In addition, Daniel works for his family's business, Lavelle Real Estate, Inc. in various capacities including real estate brokerage. His strong work ethic comes from a tradition of family entrepreneurs whose businesses have served as cornerstones for empowering local residents and strengthening our City through good and bad times.

In 2009, Daniel further followed his grandfather's advice and ran for Pittsburgh City Council. He was elected into office November 2009 and sworn into office January of 2010.


Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle's district encompasses part of the Northside (Manchester, Allegheny West, Chateau, California-Kirkbride, part of Central Northside, Perry Hilltop), Downtown, the Bluff, the Hill District and parts of West and South Oakland. The district lies in the core of the City of Pittsburgh and the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.


He is currently the chair of Public Safety which has charge of and jurisdiction over legislation pertaining to the Police Department, the Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Animal Control, the Bureau of Building Inspection, and emergency operations. Councilman Lavelle also serves as the vice chair on the Urban Redevelopment Authority Board. He is also a board member of Wireless Neighborhoods, Oakland Business Improvement District, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Riverlife and Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. In addition, he is an Assistant Boy Scout Master for Troop 93, based in the Hill District.

Councilman Lavelle is also a proud licensed Real Estate Agent with Lavelle Real Estate, Inc., a family owned and operated full service real estate firm since 1951. He is also Vice-President of a local film company, Fear No Man Productions, LLC.

He is married to Rachel Riley-Lavelle and they are the proud parents of a daughter Saniya.  They reside in the Hill District.


1) Celebrating Black History Month what are you most proud of as a Black American and what you have been able to accomplish in terms of your career?

 Whether it was fighting for Civil Rights; working with young black men through the foster care system and scouting; teaching in the classroom and working to better the education system; or fighting to ensure African-Americans could achieve the American Dream of home ownership; my family in some form or fashion has always worked to ensure that the African-American community was in a better position than how they found it.

I’m most proud that sense of service was instilled in me and I now am in a position to ensure my children grow up in a better place than I did and are afforded more opportunities than I. The same as my parents did for me and their parents before them.


2) Why is Black History important to you and our world?

Carter G Woodson believed the black experience was too important simply to be left to a small group of academics. Woodson believed that his role was to use black history and culture as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift. From its inception those who championed Black History Month believed that Blacks who made monumental contributions to American life have enriched all of our citizens and should be acknowledged, celebrated and studied accordingly.

Today, Black History Month remains important because we must remember that Black History Month is a part of all of us. The history of African-American people in the United States, like the history of other ethnic groups in our country, has enriched all of our citizens, and has contributed to the standing that America has in the world today.


3) Any additional thoughts or comments about Black History?

It’s not enough to merely celebrate Black History. We must continue to make history for the sake of future generations. It does not require you to be a genius to change the community and the world, only the person with the most determination. As Jay Z rhymed, “I’m far from a Harvard student, but had the b***s to do it.” That’s the  determination our forefathers demonstrated and we should emulate. 




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