PITTSBURGH (February 21, 2014) –(As presented on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel)
Our Starting Point tonight places us right in the middle of Black History Month 2014 and has us asking the question – where do we go from here?
It was a question proposed each year at the State of the Black Union, an event I participated in during their 10th annual summit out in California a few years ago.
The State of Black Pittsburgh is pondered regularly by groups such as the Allegheny Conference as well as the local chapters of the Urban League and the NAACP.
Many smart people often ask that question, but a quick look around already seems to give us the answers we’re looking for. And those answers aren’t so good right now.
Despite historic gains in civil rights, political representation, and spending power over the past 50 years, Black America still maintains a double unemployment rate compared to Whites and now even has an unemployment rate that is 33% more than Latino-Americans today.
Contrasting studies debate whether there are actually more Black men in prison than in college. The debate highlights the 800,000 Black men in prisons nationally and the current disconnect between young Black men and successful academic opportunities.
We can talk about the breakdown of the Black family, the unequal treatment of African-Americans in the court system, or the disparities in healthcare and life expectancy from infant mortality rates to food deserts and chronic diseases.
Any way we slice it, we must now ask ourselves as a community, as a city, and as a nation:
is this Black History Month a time for reflection or revolution?
is this a moment for courage for a better future, or simply a month for celebration of the past?
do we merely discuss the issues or do we activate solutions?
If nothing else, perhaps we’re learning this Black History Month and we’ll learn from our guests tonight that African-American issues are obstacles for all of America to overcome together.
The future success of Black Pittsburghers is vital for world-class prosperity throughout the Pittsburgh region.
Perhaps a revolution of thoughts and deeds will lead to reversing the downward trends hitting many struggling communities – and bring about a true resurgence for the region we call home – starting now in February 2014.
That’s our Starting Point. Make your point by emailing us at NightTalkGTTP@wpxi.com or Tweeting us at @NightTalkGTTPLM.