It's a Beautiful Day in OUR hood
justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
"individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice"
The Impact Fund is providing grants, advocacy and education to support impact litigation on behalf of marginalized communities.
On June 30, 2020, the SSA Board of Trustees voted unanimously to discontinue the use of the Indian as Shady Side Academy's mascot and the name of its competitive teams, effective July 1, 2020.
Statements on the Changing of Shady Side Academy’s Athletic Mascot from SSA’s President and Athletic Director
Shady Side Academy President Bart Griffith Jr. ’93:
“Shady Side’s administration fully supports the trustees’ decision to discontinue
the Indian as the Academy’s mascot, and we look forward to leading our
community through the process to select a new mascot in the coming months. As
a proud alum and someone who appreciates both the history and continued
evolution of Shady Side, I believe we have a unique opportunity to establish a
symbol that more fully unites our community and assists in building upon the
already strong spirit of the school.”
Shady Side Academy Director of Athletics Gene Deal:
“I am confident our administration, faculty, students, and parents will embrace
this challenge with respect and kindness. This is an opportunity for us to come
together as a community and embrace a larger vision. I am excited for our
student body to have a mascot that we can all rally behind and cheer for at our
athletic games. I predict this will elevate our school spirit to a new level. Onward
NFL clubs today adopted new procedures in diversity, equity and inclusion. In approving a resolution and other rules changes, league officials will implement wide-sweeping workplace reforms to increase employment opportunities and advancement for minorities and women across the league.
"We believe these new policies demonstrate the NFL Owners' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the NFL," said Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee, Art Rooney II. "The development of young coaches and young executives is a key to our future. These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations. We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many different ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country."
The resolution changes the current Anti-Tampering Policy by establishing a system that prohibits a club from denying 1) an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position; (2) a non-high-level/non-secondary football executive from interviewing for a bona fide Assistant General Manager position. In either case, a contract could not be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season; and 3) requires all clubs submit in writing an organizational reporting structure for the coaching staff with job descriptions for any coach who is a coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure. The resolution also requires that any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a "bona fide" position will be submitted promptly to the Commissioner, whose determination shall be final, binding and not subject to further review.
The resolution was put forth by the Workplace Diversity Committee, chaired by Rooney and the Competition Committee, chaired by Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons). The league also announced expansion of Rooney Rule requirements and implementation of enhanced diversity policies.
The enhancements to the Rooney Rule include changes both on and off-the-field. Clubs will now be required to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.
For the first time the Rooney Rule will also apply to a wide range of executive positions. Clubs must now include minorities and/or female applicants in the interview processes for senior level front office positions such as club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology, and security positions. The league office will also adhere to these requirements.
"The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league."
Comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion plans will be implemented at all 32 clubs and the league office to include education, training, and universal data collection. Additionally, an advisory panel, with input from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, will be convened to promote ideas to foster an inclusive culture of opportunity both on and off the field.
In other steps, for the first time, all 32 NFL clubs will host a coaching fellowship program geared towards minority candidates. These fellowships are full-time positions, ranging from one to two years, and provide NFL Legends, minority, and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching. While positions at each organization vary, these programs help identify and develop talent with the goal of advancing candidates to full-time coaching positions through promotion within.
Additionally, the NFL has two long-standing fellowship programs focused on increasing the pipeline for minority coaching and player personnel candidates– the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship.
The NFL's Workplace Diversity Committee is comprised of owners and executive personnel to include: Chair, Art Rooney II (Pittsburgh Steelers); Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals); Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons); Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills), George H. McCaskey (Chicago Bears). E. Javier Loya (Houston Texans); and John Mara (New York Giants).
The NFL's Competition Committee consists of two owners, two club presidents, two general managers, and three head coaches: Chair, Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys), John Elway (Denver Broncos), Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), John Mara (New York Giants), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins).
The policy changes were developed in consultation with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diversity and job equality in the league.
Social Justice Fund grants boost advocacy for affordable housing, voter registration
A total of $140,000 to seven organizations supporting wide range of causes
Nonprofits working to secure more affordable housing in the Pittsburgh region and to increase voter turnout are among seven receiving operating grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Social Justice Fund. Established in 2018, the fund benefits social justice activities and advocates in the region. Its purpose is to increase the influence of community members who challenge systems that perpetuate racial and economic inequity.
“Through this fund, our foundation is providing operating support to back the work of advocates and activists in the community who are dedicated to systems and policy change,” said Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder in announcing the grants.
The Social Justice Fund ties directly to the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, which prioritizes the needs of the 30% of area residents who live at or near the poverty level and can’t get access to the region’s economy. Programs and services are developed in collaboration with people and communities closest to the issues to develop solutions. The fund was established in 2017 with a $250,000 grant.
The second round this year of Social Justice Fund operating grants totaling $140,000 benefits these organizations:
Abolitionist Law Center: $20,000. Abolitionist Law Center is a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners and organized for the purpose of abolishing class- and race-based mass incarceration in the United States. The Center engages in litigation on behalf of people whose human rights have been violated in prison, produces educational programs to inform the general public about mass incarceration, and works to develop a mass movement against the American penal system. The organization plans to expand its work in Allegheny County, building off past legal cases and recent investigations of conditions at the county jail.
Black Dream Escape: $20,000. In response to studies that show that members of the Black community are five times more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation, Black Dream Escape is working to shift the narrative around the practice of sleep, rest and healing in Black and queer communities by creating spaces for people to meditate or rest. Black Dream Escape plans to respond to increasing demand for more places where people can rest by hosting events, increasing the awareness of the importance of rest and healing, and building a growing local and national coalition of experts of color in the Black Rest Movement.
Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration - West: $20,000. Started in Philadelphia, the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration - West is the local chapter of a statewide coalition of grassroots organizations and activists made up of incarcerated people, their family members, friends and advocates who have been at the forefront of a movement to win parole eligibility for people serving life sentences in Pennsylvania. The organization plans to undertake several key actions in the upcoming months including organizing regular trips to state prison facilities to help members stay in touch with family, friends and Coalition members who are incarcerated; publishing a newsletter four times per year to distribute to people serving death-by-incarceration sentences from Allegheny County; informing the public and elected officials about death-by-incarceration sentences and advocating for criminal justice reform.
Council for Cultural Equity and Emancipated Education: $20,000. In response to a growing concern from Pittsburgh Public Schools parents and staff that the commitment to improving outcomes for Black students is diminishing, the Council for Cultural Equity and Emancipated Education was established in February 2018 to advocate for the district’s Black and Brown students. The Council is a collective comprised of educators, activists, cultural preservationists, community representatives and artists. It is committed to long-term advocacy for children and families using Black psychology, African-centered pedagogy, culturally responsive pedagogy, therapeutic solutions to trauma, rites of passage and community uplift. The organization plans to teach high school students how to identify, research and advocate for issues impacting education justice in their schools. The Council plans to work with students at Milliones, Brashear and Arsenal Schools using a curriculum co-created with the Association of Black Psychologists.
Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition: $20,000. Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition was formed in response to the eviction of more than 200, mostly low-to-moderate income East-Liberty residents who were displaced so developers could build retail space and luxury housing. Led by former Penn Plaza Apartments residents and their supporters, the Coalition has been at the forefront of the community’s efforts to get housing justice in East Liberty and the City of Pittsburgh. Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition seeks to build on its robust early efforts to preserve affordable housing and increase community ownership of community development processes. The Coalition plans to host weekly coalition meetings, increase engagement with former residents, and prepare former residents to become tenants at Mellon’s Orchard South where most of the units have been earmarked as “replacement housing” for former residents.
Take Action Mon Valley: $20,000. Founded in 2014, Take Action Mon Valley develops cross-sector partnerships to address violence and lack of culturally responsive social services available to the people of the Mon Valley. The group meets with families, law enforcement, politicians and the larger community to develop strategies to combat violence, increase the social and financial resources available to residents, and build stronger relationships with law enforcement. The organization plans to hire a director and two organizers who will enable Take Action Mon Valley to manage its two existing chapters, Duquesne and McKeesport, and to develop new chapters in East Pittsburgh, Clairton and additional Mon Valley communities.
Voter Engagement Empowerment and Enrichment Movement: $20,000. Founded in 2017, the Voter Empowerment Education & Enrichment Movement (VEEEM) is a faith-based, nonpartisan organization with a mission of increasing voter turnout in Allegheny County, especially in underserved communities that have had low voter turnout rates. VEEEM’s goal to increase voter turnout in the 13th Ward, which includes Homewood and East Hills, to at least 50% by 2025. Only 18% of registered voters voted in this district in May 2019. The organization plans to engage in voter education, community canvassing and implementing a formal plan to transport voters to the polls on election day 2020.
More information about how the fund was developed is available at https://pittsburghfoundation.org/social-justice-fund.
White supremacy is a long-rooted destructive social determinant that contributes significantly to disparities in education, health, housing, wealth, and, in general, quality of life. When addressing this Revelations-like “Beast,” we must understand that institutional statements about Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion are just statements unless oppressed people force institutions to also proactively pursue equity and social justice. Otherwise, we witness appalling things such as the Rooney Rule being adopted in 2003 when there were 3 Black Head Coaches and, in 2020, there are 3 Black Head Coaches.
Because of its ability to regenerate, White supremacy deserves responses as rigorous as those made to Covid-19, i.e., systemic interventions by all societal sectors. Regarding Blacks’ responses to White supremacy, this article was stimulated by my colleague, Dr. Curtiss E. Porter (Chancellor Emeritus, Penn State Greater Allegheny) who wrote, “I am concerned about this generation’s response to White Supremacy… It appears to me, that they think ‘words are enough,’ which I will generalize in the headline ‘Dear White People.’ They are brilliant in articulating the vectors and intersections of racial substance, thought and action, such as the negative outcomes posed by micro-aggression but, in the end, it appears, that much is directed toward some ‘great white ear’ which will hopefully respond munificently.”
In the spirit of Sankofa, a backward look was taken to recall what “brought us thus far” and, based on current circumstances, discern implications for today’s fight against White supremacy. This brief reflection confirms, for example, that “Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.” (Martin Luther King Jr.) As corroborative evidence, consider two significant periods during the war against White supremacy.
1663-1865 The African Holocaust in America, also known as slavery, remains one if not the worst example of inhumanity --one that produced such excruciating suffering that “ride-or-die” folks were needed in the pursuit of freedom. The horror produced by demonic White supremacists led to people who  leaped from slave ships into the seas;  conducted more than 250 slave rebellions;  implemented work slowdowns by breaking tools and setting fire to crops;  killed newborns rather than let them grow up as slaves;  served as “House Negroes” but spied on masters in order to help “Field Negroes” plan attacks against the master; and,  fled from plantations. These were the proverbial “desperate times that required desperate measures,” including the fact that it took the bloodiest American war to end slavery.
1954-1980 Immediately after the Civil War, there were continued bombings, burnings, lynchings, and shootings of Blacks. Jim Crow laws were passed to enforce racial segregation. Racism became institutionalized. For more than a century, by law and in practice, Blacks were subjugated second class citizens. Therefore, the Civil Rights Movement was driven by a sense of urgency as well as commitment to a wide array of direct actions undergirded by Martin Luther King Jr’s exhortation “…that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Accordingly, instead of simply hoping that White leaders would respond munificently,  Black students confronted and made demands on historically White institutions of higher education;  Black national organizations won a series of key court cases;  Black community activists boycotted, marched, sat-in and made demands on local governments, schools, and businesses;  Blacks, by way of urban insurrections, exploded like a “festering raisin in the sun;” and  Let us not forget that Dwight Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas and, later, Lyndon Johnson sent troops to Alabama.
Blacks’ direct action was supplemented by a plethora of efforts to raise “race consciousness,” i.e.,  to move from an inferior and subservient self-concept as a “Negro” to a proud and self-assertive “Black” mentality; and  to gain “Black power” which included Blacks doing for self as well as taking their rightful places in public spaces, e.g., to freely attend public schools as well as build Black owned and operated schools; to work in corporate positions as well as become entrepreneurs; to be fairly covered in the White-owned press as well as create Black newspapers; and to dine at any public restaurant as well as own and operate restaurants.
2000-2020 “Diversity and Inclusion” replaced “affirmative action” but did not significantly advance “equity and social justice” for Blacks. During this period, members of the “talented tenth” became the first Blacks to occupy various managerial, political, and staff positions; Black students gained a significant but token presence in higher education; and more Blacks escaped the worst of poverty. However, by 2020, disparities were growing like a lethal virus as evidenced by widening gaps in Black home ownership, health, educational achievement, and wealth. This scenario reminds one of when more than 40,000 Blacks got back on the White folks’ buses instead of also building upon the transportation system they developed during the Montgomery boycott.
Regarding Blacks’ addressing White supremacy, I have a dream that, one day, the very best Black student-athletes, other students, faculty, administrators and staff will choose to take their talents to several leading historically Black colleges and universities and turn them into externally verified world class colleges and universities. I have a dream that there will be more OWN channels, Tyler Perry Studios, Black law firms, Black banks, Black construction companies, Black grocery stores, and, in general, an exponential expansion of Black entrepreneurship.
In my dream, Blacks will deal with the full implications of Carter G. Woodson’s statement, “The education of the Negroes, then, the most important thing in the uplift of the Negroes, is almost entirely in the hands of those who have enslaved them and now segregate them.”
I dream of White supremacy withering on the vine when  Blacks become the largest active voting block and Black elected officers are multiplied significantly;  Black civic organizations, churches, and families regain their critical importance;  Blacks’ undying love for their people is wed to sustained systematic actions;  the most talented and highest achieving Blacks constantly speak truth to power instead of being muzzled by “30 pieces of silver;” and  the struggle against White supremacy is joined by all people purporting to endorse freedom, justice and equality.
Jack L. Daniel
Co-founder, Freed Panther Society
Contributor, Pittsburgh Urban Media
Author, Negotiating a Historically White University While Black
May 13, 2020