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Paul: 30 Neighbors. 30 Days. Spotlighting diverse Pittsburghers in social media and here on PUM

February 3,  Day 15:

“The Pittsburgh of the past, as race relations go, is not the Pittsburgh of the present. We can see very clearly that since the civil rights movement--the civil rights era, the era of urban renewal--that the quality of life for African Americans in Pittsburgh has gotten significantly worse. I think that now, even more pronounced than the days of old, there are two Pittsburghs. I think there’s a black Pittsburgh and a white Pittsburgh. I think that, as an African American… we need to look to the future as an era of reconciliation. There’s going to be a lot of pain, there’s going to be a lot of wounds that happened since the civil rights era, but even within our own tradition there is a lot that we can look to….

 

If we are going to be true to our legacy as African Americans--which is a legacy of triumph, also a legacy of suffering--we also need to understand how committed many of us were to reconciliation and the contribution that we can make to this region by paving the way for reconciliation in the future. Understanding that black folks cannot build a new Pittsburgh without white folks and white folks cannot build a new Pittsburgh without black folks, but we can build it together and we can be better off for it.” -- Paul  #IamPGH

“I was in the Army. I was originally enlisted in the Army Reserve and, in 2002, we were mobilized, we were called to active duty. We ended up getting shipped overseas and we were attached to the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. We crossed into Iraq the very first day of the ground war in 2003. So, we were the invasion of Iraq and then we stayed there for a year as part of the occupation… There was a lot of that experience that really informs the work that I do today because we got to see what it was like to experience complete regime collapse.


One of the other things that was really remarkable to me about that particular time, was to see the way in which a lot of people were trying to respond to these challenges -- some more appropriately than others. Certainly, for the Iraqi people, there was a lot of courage and a lot of innovation needed to handle the circumstances.” -- Paul  #IamPGH

 

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“I think there was a calling, to be quite honest with you, that is very inescapable. You know, I was raised in a family that took service very seriously. My grandfather was involved in a volunteer fire department and he was the commissioner for the township that I grew up in. My mother is a social worker. My aunts: one is a teacher, one is a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse. For all of us, serving people was something we were really raised to value, and not only make it our pastime but really make it our life’s work…


It’s important that we never forget where we came from... I think it’s important for people to know of the Hill District, that this is a community of people who care very deeply for one another... that’s one of the most beautiful characteristics of this community that is very often overlooked.” -- Paul  #IamPGH

 

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Welcoming Pittsburgh is launching 30 Neighbors. 30 Days., in collaboration with PittsburghUrbanMedia.com and other partners, to spotlight stories from diverse Pittsburghers, including those hailing from countries around the globe, transplants from other American cities, and Pittsburgh natives. 

  Follow the campaign:  www.PittsburghUubanMedia.com, WelcomingPGH on Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #IamPGH. 30 Neighbors. 30 Days. runs January 20 – February 18, 2016.

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