Wilkinsburg, The Side Of America’s “Most Livable City” Pittsburgh Doesn’t Want You To See » VSB

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Wilkinsburg, The Side Of America’s “Most Livable City” Pittsburgh Doesn’t Want You To See

In many of the news stories you’ll read today about the mass shooting in Wilkinsburg Wednesday night — which left five dead and three others wounded — it’ll be referred to as a suburb of Pittsburgh. While this is technically true, it’s a bit of a misnomer. One because none of the qualities commonly associated with suburbs — tree-lined streets, healthy business districts, good schools, etc — are true with Wilkinsburg. The median income for a household is $26,621. The crime rate is consistently one of the highest in the county. And the schools? Well, the high school — where I worked as a teacher for two and a half years — has been underperforming, understaffed, underfunded, and underpopulated for so long that, when the 2016-2017 school year begins, it will no longer exist.

From “Wilkinsburg to close high school, move students to Pittsburgh“:

The struggling Wilkinsburg School District plans to close its middle and high school and send those 200-plus students to Westinghouse Academy 6–12 in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

The plan was unveiled simultaneously Wednesday night in Wilkinsburg and Pittsburgh.

The Wilkinsburg School District plans to spend $10 million to renovate its two elementary schools.

But there are no plans to fix the middle/high school built in 1910 and last expanded in 1940 because the district expects only 217 students to be enrolled there next year. The district says enrollment is so low, it can’t provide quality education either in the classroom or the playing field.

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, Wilkinsburg students in grades 7-12 would attend Westinghouse Academy in nearby Homewood. Wilkinsburg will be responsible to transport its students daily and cover the cost of tuition.

Wilkinsburg’s suburb status is also misleading because being a suburb of a city implies a certain physical distance between that larger city and the suburb. Wilkinsburg however isn’t just Pittsburgh adjacent. It’s Pittsburgh adjoined. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for practically my entire life, and I’m still not quite sure where Pittsburgh ends and Wilkinsburg begins. I suspect it occurs when Braddock Avenue is crossed, but again I’m not certain.

If fact, Bakery Square — a multi-million dollar redevelopment that currently houses, among other things, Google and 500 sq ft studios that rent for up to $1700 a month — is two miles away from the Wilkinsburg High School building and exists on the same street (Penn Avenue) as Wilkinsburg’s business district. A three minute drive down Penn doesn’t just put you in a different community. You travel to a different galaxy.

As Pittsburgh enjoys, promotes, and congratulates itself for its status as America’s Most Livable City, its not hard to picture Wilkinsburg as one of the proverbial broom closets junk and trash are stuffed into before guests come over. The crime, the failing schools, the rapidly decreasing property values — these are not unintended coincidences or even unfortunate inevitabilities. They’re intentional results of Pittsburgh’s decades-long disregard of its Black population. Funnel all the poor Black people to Wilkinsburg and Homewood and East Hills and out of East Liberty and Garfield and every other space targeted for revitalization. And then forget about them until its time to air a news story about crime. What happened in Wilkinsburg last night and the amazing things happening in Pittsburgh’s East End right now are opposite sides of the same coin.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    “Funnel all the poor Black people to Wilkinsburg and Homewood and East
    Hills and out of East Liberty and Garfield and every other space
    targeted for revitalization.”

    Why does this sound like the new m.o. in crime control? Put the poor folk in pockets and increase the police presence in those areas. Pittsburgh is trying to create mini Hamsterdams.

    • Jéri

      Pittsburgh has been like that long before Hamsterdam was every popular on TV. It’s one of the most segregated cities in the US. When my family bought out home in 1997 we were the first Black on the street. Ever.

      New neighborhoods are becoming the areas where people are being funneled but the funneling has always happened.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        I could see Pittsburgh trying to annex Wilkinsburg and slowly working down Penn Avenue giving significant tax credits to revitalize old homes, having developers summit plans on how to revive blocks with tax breaks awarded to the winning proposal or some combination of the two. Wilkinsburg already uses Pittsburgh fire and trash; this seems to be a “natural” progression.

        • Jéri

          Absolutely. Smh

    • Val

      Nothing new about it though, Sig. This started in the late 50s with the creation of “projects”.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Only in this case, there isn’t a set of apartment complexes that contain the “problem”

  • YeaSoh

    This is sad Champ but this is exactly how gentrification starts. First, they pull funding from your school system so you can barely pay good teachers to stay so unruly students are stuck with overworked underpaid teachers that don’t have the time or patience to give young, curious, rambunctious minds the attention they need. The kids, frustrated and bored turn to a life of mischief and sometimes (unfortunately) gangs and crime which drives the value of the houses down (that plus a school system with negative scores). After the prices are down they force you out. Next, I’m willing to bet (because I’m also willing to bet with the school closing and the median income being $26K many of those people are now unemployed or have a neighbor that is) they’ll force you out of your home (foreclosure, raise rents, etc). They’ll come in buy the properties for nothing and sell them back to you for 10x what they paid.

    Happens all over America and it’s fvcked up. What we should be doing is: Black people with great jobs and decent incomes 50-60K+, stop LEAVING YOUR COMMUNITIES and paying taxes to districts that would shoot your child dead in the street just for walking to get the store for a soda. Stay in your communities and put those tax dollars into YOUR school, for YOUR children in YOUR community. And by community, I mean people that look like you. It’s not a fix to the issue but we can’t expect this country to play it fair. WHEN has it ever? We should be building up our communities instead of taking our hard earned money and running to where ever they say is hot now… that is a mistake.

    • WerewolfDad

      Who is this “They” you keep talking about?

      • YeaSoh

        “They” are those that thrive/celebrate/capitalize off of the disadvantages of others.

        [Edit] Didn’t want this point to be lost on you… when it comes down to the black community’s progress “they” in my paragraph are usually WHITE. :-)

    • Val

      I hear you but asking middle-class Black folks to stay in these communities is not realistic. And when housing prices are going down it wouldn’t matter if they stayed because their presence wouldn’t increase the amount of revenue going to public schools.

      A good first step in finding a solution would be dividing property tax revenue evenly between all schools no matter the location. That’s a structural change to the system.

      Also, expecting Black folks to single-handedly fix problems created by White folks isn’t fair to us. We have to push for laws that protect Black communities from being de-funded. That’s always the first step when they are looking to gentrify. They begin to take services away.

      • Kas

        As someone with young children, a safe environment with strong public schools is a “must have”. For me, living in a primarily Black community is a “like to have”. I live in Southern California and I can’t name one place where those two overlap. So I’m going to keep grinding with the hopes that my children are more successful than me. If enough of us can do this, at least the next generation will have the option of building a nice Black community.

        • Will there be a Black community in the future. It seems like the goal now is to get away from the Black community, all across the economic spectrum..

          • Val

            There are new Black communities being created as we speak in place like Atlanta. The difference between the new ones and the old ones is we are creating the new ones. Which means they are financially healthy.

            • Brandon Allen

              This is the part that makes me feel torn because these black communities do exist. The PG county, Baldwin Hills, outside of Atlanta communities are evidence of black people creating these spaces. But they are middle to upper class enclaves. Is that success on a microlevel okay? Or is a certain guilt expected because of the class divide?

              • Val

                That guilt we feel is becasue we have been taught to believe that those struggling communities are struggling because of Black pathology. So we feel we have to look back and do something. When in reality those communities are struggling because they were designed to fail.

                I think that going forward we have to see this struggle in new ways. We have to look back to when those struggling communities were doing well and then reverse engineer things back to their former days of success.

                • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                  She said it but I just want to repeat what Val said….unequivocally:

                  “…they were DESIGNED TO FAIL”

          • Sigma_Since 93

            It depends. Are we close to resources others covet? What are we feeding our kids? Too often in our “do better” efforts as parents, we give off the impression that where we are doesn’t qualify as good/better/best and then get salty when jr doesn’t want the family house or want to run the family business.

          • Kas

            For me and my wife, we would love nothing more than to live in a Black neighborhood. We are truly concerned about raising to kids who aren’t in tune with the joy of being Black. For now the stopgap measure will be time with cousins, and when they are older, summers in Jamaica with my wife’s parents.

            • shichi

              Ohhhh….your wife is Jamaican. I remarked in a response to your original comment that immigrants are seemingly more willing to make that jump out to other neighbourhoods…

              • Kas

                Almost all the immigrants that I know are middle/upper middle class and only interested in neighborhoods with the best schools which knocks most Black neighborhoods out of the running. Factor in the differences between African American culture and theirs also cuts down on any deep seated desire to live in a Black community. I have one data point for an immigrant of lower economic means and her family lived in a pretty rough area of Dorchester, However, there is a large Cape Verdean community there so her family was amongst their people.

          • Val

            I actually think that was the old goal. I think the generation before us saw getting away from Black communities as a sign of success. But I think this generation sees the error of that kind of thinking and have begun to create our own new communities.

            • I think there is a real sense of “maybe this wasn’t the best idea” going on in our generation.

          • Mary

            Between that and the rapid increase in interracial everything, the next generation may feel funny even being around predominantly Black crowds. I think in the future, we’ll be like South America where only poor people are Black and live n Black neighborhoods. The more education the more likely assimilation is and this generation is going to be steeped in assimilation politics.

            • BlueWave1

              I’d like to hope that won’t happen. But some days I wonder if that is what we are moving toward.

            • This is a chilling thought but it does seem to be the trend.

            • Kas

              I think that there will always be some enclaves of East Coast Blacks form which this doesn’t happen regardless of income level. I can’t speak to the South, but yeah the West Coast will be assimilated.

        • shichi

          Kudos to you!. I always wondered why more Black people who are financially able – the professionals, the artisans, small business owners – don’t simply move out of bad neighbourhoods. I agree: a safe environment with strong public schools is a “must have”. Everything else – especially what colour my neighbours are – seems peripheral to me.

          When I look at my immigrant friends, most of them live in “white” or multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, precisely because they want to be as far away as possible from the things that most people (rightly or wrongly) associate with the “hood” – and they especially want their children removed from them.

          I can understand the loyalty to community and the desire to be surrounded by your own, but at some point, shouldn’t the desire for safety, good schools and the chance for property appreciation would win out over everything else?

          • Kas
            • shichi

              Very good read.

              “The disparities matter when it comes to raising children and building wealth, researchers emphasized.”

              It helps to explain why generation after generation of the same family sometimes get mired in the factors that impede progress, if you define progress as escalating levels of education and the ability to leverage property to amass greater wealth and increase financial stability

              Good luck to you and wifey, tho. I think your approach is the right one: safeguard your kids’ future, and then send them to Jamaica for that coco bread and bammy and fish tea experience every summer, to keep them grounded.

              • Kas

                Whaaat, no mention of mannish water. :)

                • shichi

                  Bay steps. Let them take baby steps, please!

        • Val

          Baldwin Hills/ Ladera Heights?

          • Kas

            LA Unified School District is horrible.

      • YeaSoh

        Fair enough and I would love it if “No child left behind” actually meant no child would be without a strong educational foundation like the next kid. I think that would be great. And, I don’t think I’m saying we should fix problems THEY created but what you gonna do? The problem is there, fvck who created it, let’s just fix it.

        Say none of this even happens. Say schools stay the same way and school districts are continue to be funded but the taxes paid in their respective communities. The problem is still there. Do you know, PUBLIC schools in white communities are getting CORPORATE sponsors? I saw that for the first time in Georgia and was mind-blown. I’m at a high school football game at a white school (with some of the nastiest behaving children I have ever seen in MY LIFE) and the football field looks like Georgia Tech… you know who built that field? Fvcking Cobb Energy. We can’t even get decent computers and y’all building extravagant recreational venues and sh*t. I was so disgusted. Mostly because the people there were so pompous and confrontational (clearly bigots) but also because we never do stuff like that for our schools in our communities. You know how many successful black business owners are out there donating to everything but the communities that made them who they are? And that’s the thing, they give to their communities in big ways and they thrive and we separate ourselves and ostensibly do the same.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          NCLB is the reason my family didn’t move to the City of Pittsburgh along with the tax situation. Mrs. SS93 and I looked at the NCLB scores for Blacks and called the schools to ask what was their plan to address the gap. I didn’t like what I heard so we ended up Pittsburgh adjacent.

          • It’s so sad that we have to do this now.

          • YeaSoh

            That’s what I’m saying… I don’t blame a parent trying to protect their child and their child’s future but recognize the cycle we’re in when we do that. We need these kids to be educated, ALL OF THEM not just our own. Educated well. So when it’s time to vote they know the importance and do it in numbers that make laws change and balances out the power.

            *le sigh*

        • Val

          I totally get what you’re saying. I just think that there are a lot of forces at work to keep struggling Black communities struggling. We cannot fix that by having a bootstraps strategy.

          We have to look at all of those forces at work and systematically counter them. That will only come from structural changes. We have to end redlining. We have to end the uneven distribution of tax revenue. We have to end police occupation of those communities and so on.

          We are part of the solution but those who created the problems cannot be left out either. That’s all I’m saying.

          • YeaSoh

            And I agree but… never mind

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            There are places where state funding is equal across the board. Texas comes to mind.

            In rich neighborhoods, the community digs into their own pockets after Fed and state monies are spent. You can have schools in the same district, but the one in the good neighborhood can tap into the local community and provide more.

            Wherever you set the bar, those other communities will un-level the playing field.

            Personally, when I see that the game is rigged, I stop playing.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          That corporate money has always been in play. The question is how has your school district been using the money. Three examples that come to mind are:

          Dr Pepper paid some school a grip to put their logo on the roof of one of the school district’s school buildings since it was seen by planes landing at the airport.

          The soft drink provider at your schools

          The uniform provider of your high school and the signage

          • YeaSoh

            Nah… this ain’t the same. Not even close

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Ask for an audit; you’d be surprised.

              • YeaSoh

                :-(

        • A lot of public finance rotates around the bond market, which is bigger, and technically far more important than the stock market. I think we as black people are really going to have to understand municipal finance and bond markets if we ever are going to fix cities.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Spending more on schools, or even teacher salaries doesn’t address the problems of the student population.

        Classroom management issues (the popular but rarely discussed issue with bad schools) that slow down educational achievement stem back to the issues of the parents.

        Single parents, domestic violence and abuse, parents on drugs, in jail, homeless, unemployed, working three jobs, mental illness….The number of social ills in a typical poor neighborhood is astounding.

        It only takes a few kids with serious issues to disrupt the education of the rest of the class. And in the hood, it’s not just a few kids. It’s a considerable number.

        Technocrats reduce these social complexities to poorly trained teachers or unions and try to fix it by throwing money at the problem… Of course they don’t get it.

        Paying a teacher 100,000 a year and handing out iPads can’t address real social problems

        • Val

          The only way to fix schools is by fixing the community the school inhabits. If kids are suffering from PTSD then they cannot thrive. So the community must be fixed. Parents need jobs. Families need to be able to own homes.

          There is no Black pathology that created these communities. These communities were created and decimated on purpose.So, the reason that schools never seem to get fixed is becasue the powers that be do not want to fix the communities.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            I agree, but I’m not sure how you get them folks to break off some dollars.

            Need a market based solution, something where folks base instincts are aligned with social good.

            • L8Comer

              School system is so short-sighted. No one thinks about how this is going to tank our economy down the road. How are we supposed to be leaders in innovation, science, arts etc if we keep going like this. We will have to import all our talent. Latinos are the fastest rising school population. In most public school districts they are now the majority. Their graduation and retention rates are among the worse, especially for ELL students (that whole system is a disaster too). I just don’t get it.. If people care about the success and future of our country why don’t they care about public education?

              • Mary

                Do you thnk bringing back serious vocational classes back would help?

                • L8Comer

                  I definitely think that should be an option and encouraged. It’s important that school counselors encourage and education about traditional 4 year college, but it’s not for everyone.

                  • NukeWaste

                    I used to get in trouble for pushing trade schools to my minority students. Guidance wanted them to take safe crap in college just so they wouldn’t flunk out. They weren’t going to get a good job either. But the school’s numbers looked good.

              • cakes_and_pies

                Isn’t this by design? Import talent and export jobs, because it’s cheaper?

                • L8Comer

                  Yes, I think it is. But I worry about the future costs of that and I wonder why nobody cares about our kids and their futures. Plus with an anti-immigration congress the importing may get tougher and tougher. Those highly skilled visas are exhausted quickly ever year. The # of highly skilled immigrant workers coming here to work is not a lot (H1-B, EB-1 or 2, O visas) and the house is rigid about raising the cap. It’s why Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg and all his people are so pro immigrant. Not enough home grown talent anymore

              • Val

                Unfortunately this country has no problem throwing away potential, as long as it’s Black potential.

              • NukeWaste

                Because they are libturds and their kids go to private schools.

          • Kas

            I agree with you for the most part. However, I would say that the powers that be don’t care if the communities are fixed. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy.

            • Val

              I understand that but I won’t let them off the hook with apathy. There’s more at play here than they just don’t care. They care. That’s why there was redlining. That’s why the police occupy these communities. They care enough to keep all of the policies that create these communities in place and strong.

              • Kas

                Touché, very good points.

          • YeaSoh

            truth

          • Sigma_Since 93

            “If kids are suffering from PTSD then they cannot thrive. So the
            community must be fixed. Parents need jobs. Families need to be able to
            own homes.”

            In some communities, this has been the case but the kids thrived because school was the safe haven. You could get free lunch, you had access to music and art, you had teachers who had a vested interest in the kids. Now, we’re pulling funding for programs and the teachers who were vested in the kids are retiring at a faster clip than we can replace them.

            • L8Comer

              And I can’t blame those teachers. In so many ways our future is in their hands via our kids. But they have to work under rigid, low wage conditions. Bad situation all around

              • Val

                And judging teachers performance by those test scores has been a disaster of epic proportions.

          • LMNOP

            Also, kids with PTSD need help. And not “tough love” no excuses type help, they need actual psychological help from trained professionals and teachers with the training and support to address kids’ issues in a way that doesn’t make them worse.

            • Val

              Exactly. All of these Zero Tolerance policies are destroying kids who need help not more punishment. And in many cases those policies criminalize these kids.

              • L8Comer

                School to prison pipeline is disgusting. Schools are becoming militarized. The stories you hear out outrageous. School resource officer called and kid sent to detention centers for running in the hallway, throwing someone cake on the floor, talking too much in class.. Ya know being kids. Then they are on probation and minor infractions get them sent back to detention. They end up being a traumatized shell of themselves. These types of stories are very common. Not anectdotal anymore, measurable frequent occurrences

                • Val

                  Right. A second grade girl has a tantrum and next thing you know she’s in cuffs and in the back of a police car. WTF. And that has really happened.

              • LMNOP

                Exactly. If a child who has a really challenging home life is being treated like a criminal instead of getting guidance and emotionally nurturing relationships at school, it is going to have a negative impact on their entire lives. Realistically, it will probably end up having a negative impact on several lives.

                Safety is a foundational thing, if a child never has the experience of feeling safe, everything is going to be much harder than it needs to be.

              • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                Again…intentional. The school-to-prison pipeline industry is purposeful.

          • L8Comer

            They won’t care till it’s too late. We’re already behind most developed countries. No joke (I haven’t look recently) but I believe we perform around the same level as Serbia. This is terrible for the future of our economy

        • NukeWaste

          Put the serious problems in boarding school. Don’t send them home on weekends, nor, holidays. Their families can visit the school. Summer can be long term field trips. Do you think that many of these kids would move back to their old hood?

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Essentially let the state raise kids.

            Year round schooling, 7 to 7; 52 weeks, 365. Three square meals.

            More than enough time for the 3 R’s, along with home economics, physical education, art, music, and other enriching activities.

            Just on the straight academics, more class time for the basics, and you could pack the equivalent of a college education in with the basic k-12.

            You could staff correctly and set it up to avoid burn out for the teachers.

            Basically limiting the influence of parents who don’t know how to parent, or aren’t in a position to do that.

            I just don’t know how moral or ethical that sort of thing would be. Still better than the current setup.

            • Val

              This has already been done, to Native American children in both the US and Canada. It didn’t work out too well, especially for the Native American kids and their families. It was also done in Australia.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Even when rich white families do it to their own, the results aren’t pretty when you talk about family dynamics.

                Still, part of me feels that year round schooling is still better than what’s happening now.
                I’d still add a half day on Saturday and have the parents come in for an hour or two to learn as well.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            You could have a local equivalent of boarding school. Keep that kids in class so long that the parents are basically just kissing them good night.

            But I feel weird about that. Especially when a lot of teach for America/charter school type people get involved

            • L8Comer

              Something like this happened once… I forget where. But it was a disaster. The poor kids didn’t know their parents barely and felt not attachment to their community bc they were so secluded

        • L8Comer

          And yet there are charter schools in the good where kids do really well. They usually have wrap around services like you mention – healthcare, counseling, parental involvement. I say this only to say it’s not always stemming from bad parenting, it’s collective and sometimes lack of achievement is not parents fault at all. The best parents will really struggle overcome school and community failures and the opposite is true too.

      • AnswerMe

        And in the DC area there are communities like Fort Washington that are essentially black neighborhoods with well to do families, decent schools, and of course those who make enough to send their kids to private institutions if they so choose. Most aren’t going to opt for Southeast when they can live elsewhere and still be among their folk.

        • YeaSoh

          There’s some gray area

          • QueLoQue

            There most definitely is, there’s a good number of young Black professionals moving to SE. I’m not gonna lie, it hurts to read some of these comments.

      • Me

        “Also, expecting Black folks to single-handedly fix problems created by White folks isn’t fair to us”

        There comes a time when we have to stop asking for what’s fair and start working on what’s right. We know good and well white folks are not about to fix jack that they ruined, so we need to stop waiting for them to see the error in their ways and start accepting that a lot of what we need will require us starting from scratch. That includes investing in some dirt poor neighborhoods before they become trendy so that as large a percent of that neighborhood as possible is black owned. That includes donating to PTA’s at schools that we think are crap and volunteering a solid 10-20 hours every week to get that school to wear it needs to be… on our own after tax dimes. That means grabbing a broom, a box of 50 gallon garbage bags, and a couple dozen neighbors and literally cleaning up our streets… on our own after tax dimes. That means doing everything on our own IN ADDITION TO harrassing local politicians to take us seriously, but with the understanding that they probably never will. Because the only way to overcome the current state of the black community is to get knee deep into the gritty work. And that’s going to require sacrificing our time, money, pride, and human equity. Yea, they ufcked us over, but we don’t have to stay ufcked and waiting for them to pull out.

        • Val

          You missed my point. It’s not about White folks seeing the error of their ways. It’s about forcing them to dismantle their tools of destruction. Their banks that have been redlining us must be forced to stop. Their sucking economic viability out of these communities must be stopped. The creation of policies that make gentrification and displacement must be stopped. The Prison Industrial Complex must be stopped.

          These communities have been like they are for decades now and all of the stuff you talk about, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, has been talked about over and over again. That’s what the system wants us to do. To blame ourselves and to think that the only way these problems can be fixed is if we do it alone.

          All that does is make it seem that we are the problem. We are not the problem. The greatest power White Supremacy has is making the victims of it blame themselves.

          • Me

            I didn’t miss your point, I’m saying it’s moot. Waiting for white folks to stop enforcing the “black tax” on everything they own or touch won’t get us anywhere. The solution is not to wait for them to treat us fairly because they have no reason to. If we want things done, we have to find other hands on ways to get them done without the expectation for systemic racism to quell. It doesn’t matter if we seem to be the problem or not. The fact is that the problem is OURS regardless of who created it. So if we want the problem fixed, we need to own the work that has to be done to fix it.

            • Val

              That hasn’t worked in the last 50 years.

              • Me

                We haven’t realistically been trying in the last 50 years.

                • Val

                  Every single thing you’ve mention has been said over and over for the last 50 years. And you know what it means when you do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

                  • Me

                    Talking about it and actually doing it are very different things. There hasn’t been a concerted effort to invest in our own neighborhoods with our own dollars since the black panthers/NOI hayday. All we’ve been doing for the past 50 years is thinking and talking and trying to find who to blame, which gets us nowhere.

                    • Val

                      If I build you a crappy wooden house and then burn it down but convince you to not worry about who burned the house down then you’ll take your resources and your time to try to re-build it.

                      And then when you are in the middle of trying to re-building it, I’ll just come along and burn it down again. I’ll burn it down again because I know that you won’t blame me and that you’ll spend your time trying to re-build a house I’m just going to burn down again and again.

                      That’s how you keep a community struggling.

                      So unless you include stopping the outside forces in place to keep communities struggling in your re-building plan you’ll just be constantly using your resources and time to re-build something will only be destroyed again.

                    • Me

                      That analogy worked decades ago. It doesn’t work today. There are no outside forces stopping us from donating to and running PTAs in our neighborhoods. It may be harder for some of us to get loans than it is for white folks, but outside of falling behind on the mortgage, our homes aren’t being taken away from us, and we’re not being told where we can and cannot purchase property barring affordability. No one is crashing our community service activities and forcing us to disperse to prevent us from teaching one another valuable skills. These are basic hands on things that we can do for ourselves regardless of the system that operates around us. Dwelling on the images of the past isn’t moving us forward.

                    • Val

                      Okay, you refuse to see my point. Lol I understand that there are certain things we must do but if all we do is rely on what we do then it won’t matter because America never takes a break when it comes to finding ways to keep struggling communities struggling.

                    • Me

                      My point is, even with that being the norm, we can’t just lie down and be defeated. Perpetual anger and finger pointing solves nothing. And assuming something bad may happen to us if we try shouldn’t stop us from doing the work, it should motivate us to build in our own stop gaps to prevent total loss in the future.

                    • L8Comer

                      Outside forces are still at play.

                    • Me

                      I’m acknowledging that outside forces are and will remain at play. What I’m saying is we should be spending less of our efforts on trying to curb those forces, and more of our efforts creating internal forces of our own. Yes, property taxes dictate how much federal/state funding goes to a school. That’s why I’ve suggested that we individually donate our own resources to our local PTAs to supplement the shortfall. It’s not fair that we have to, but it’s necessary and we should be willing to sacrifice that much to ensure that our kids are getting proper education regardless of the outside forces that neglect them. We can’t just wait around for those forces to change at the expense of our kids’ educations. Let’s work on the things that ARE within OUR control.

                    • Bea

                      I live just across the divide of Braddock Road, in the neighborhood next to Wilkinsburg. The school taxes here are some of the worst in the country… and our public schools are shameful. Those without $ are still paying horrible taxes and getting no good education out of it.

      • Epsilonicus

        “I hear you but asking middle-class Black folks to stay in these communities is not realistic.”

        Especially when there are Black middle class neighborhoods they can move to

        • YeaSoh

          Just because you moved to a nice neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t be victimized. We have to give these people a reason not turn to a life of crime and separating from the issue isn’t going to fix it.

      • L8Comer

        Apportioning property taxes equally across school districts is pretty radical – I like it. It would force people to get involved in securing more funding and resources for their schools too. Or leave. Lol they’d leave.

        There was a podcast on This American life where a Missouri school essentially Was desegregated bc a dismal majority black school was being shut down. Kids had to bussed to the other school district. The white people raised holy h e l l. And for what? Studies show integration helps all students and doesn’t harm the ones who were already well positioned.

        School desegregation peaked around 1988. Since then much has gone down hill. In many many cases we are at pre brown v board of education days. School funding / finance is the new frontiere, but it’s essentially a reframing of desegregation bc people are experiencing racial fatigue and board v brown already happened. The problem is people got their desegregation orders lifted and went back to doing the same thing. No one imagined you had to keep ensuring compliance after it was initially reached.. How naive. Reform would have to sweeping so people can’t escape it other than private school

        • Val

          Yeah, desegregation has been a disaster for many reasons. I’m don’t think it will ever work because so many Whites hate the idea of their kids going to school with Black kids and others. At this point I’m not even sure that should be the goal.

          • Audazz66

            Really? :-(

          • L8Comer

            Their vitriol is palpable. That podcast I mentioned was disgusting. Way too often in the public education discourse/ literature white = money and smart and black = poor and failing. It’s becomes… Disturbing. Integration is like the holy grail bc peak desegregation in the 80s correlated with lowest racial achievement gap. But I agree with you to an extent. Not all whites, but many in those school districts will fight tooth and nail anyway. Plus there are (few) black communities / schools where kids really excelled. They had the extra component of being really affirmed and full of pride which is essential for black kids who sometimes find their world is hostile

            • NukeWaste

              You are ignoring why they were successes. The kids were willing to get and accept extra help. I used to have kids come in at lunch time for extra help. The administration was against it. Other teachers complained.

        • NukeWaste

          You never sat in one as a student. The higher functioning students were dragged down every time. The low functioning students just acted out. After a while, I didn’t bother attending. I showed up for tests.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      I live in the hood now. SE D.C.

      Every week, I hear gun shots typically followed by sirens a few minutes later. Two of my neighbors just moved because they got attacked last month.

      Ain’t nobody having a meaningful dialogue after they get punched in the mouth.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Big ups to the former Shipley Terrace! They renamed the street but it will always be Shipley Terrace to me.

      • YeaSoh

        I do too, boarding on Decatur and Stone Mountain GA. Two years ago, my neighbors had a party and two kids were shooting at each other right outside my window… you wanna talk about scared? Whaaa…

        And I get that. We all want to be safe and I honestly want that for us all too but how do we fix the problem when we walk away from it? I mean it’s bigger than your two neighbors, so for them to leave I can’t be mad but then I’m conflicted because I’m like well it’s a never ending cycle isn’t it? How does that cycle end?

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          We have to first decide what the problem is.

          Why them boys shooting up the place?

          I know what I think, a combination of testosterone and lack of social infrastructure to properly channel that energy… But ebony tower analysis still got me looking over my shoulder anytime I hit the train station.

          • YeaSoh

            B_B… we know what the problems are. We BEEEEN known what the problems are. So now what?

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              I don’t know what you think the problems are.

              But I’d ship these boys off to the military, some all encompassing environment where the “block” is a distant memory. Ideally not the military, but some sort of civilian service corps where they need to develop different tools to get through life.

              The hood, granny and moms need gainful employment. Uncle and cousins too. Especially the felons and ex cons.

              But highly trained, educated, middle class, suburban,.young white kids have job issues. Their economy is not working for THEM, so I can’t expect it to work for us. And they consciously and actively work against us…. It’s a wonder that any of us are still alive

              • YeaSoh

                I think the problems with criminal activity and unemployment begin with the education system. You take away a person’s chance to learn you take away their chance to overcome.

                If I were VSB Governor, every single child would be in a rigorous academic program with mandatory extra curricular programs. These kids have too much time and not enough sense.

                • LMNOP

                  Too much time is a rarely addressed, but really significant issue for basically all kids from mide school until whenever they get their first job. Who decided teenager having afternoons and summers off was a good idea??

                  • Kas

                    Not sure it’s a good idea, but I certainly enjoyed having summers off. Afternoons were loaded up with extra school work assigned by my parents.

                • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                  And they would get paid for it….and they’d get special training and do project..build something in someone else neighborhood…get welcomed into communities like WPA workers in the depression. Get rights of passage and respect/ Honestly, people KNOW what it takes to bring young men and women away from the streets, but there is not the collective money behind it to make these things a widespread reality for us.

          • Val

            “Why them boys shooting up the place?”

            I think it’s simple economics. If there is an economic vacuum then people will create their own economy. And that economy is usually interwoven with violence and other illegal activities. This happens all over the world where a traditional economy does not exist.

            Bring in jobs that pay a living wage. Create an economy based upon realistic expectations and the criminal trade will decline and eventually almost disappear.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              A Bernie Sanders style analysis explains drug trade violence, but doesn’t explain a lot of the violence.

              • Val

                Most of the violence is related to the drug trade either directly or indirectly, don’t you think?

                • QueLoQue

                  I think it’s about poverty, one way or the other. Simply put, a person who sees the options available to them in life (if they have those options) isn’t gonna throw their life away over something trivial. Combine that with the short term thinking that poverty puts on you, and people aren’t thinking long term because they don’t any long term prospects (or any at all), especially something within the law.

                  Another thing to consider is that, for the most part, all poor people really have is their physical presence. The disenfranchised are often dismissed, disrespected or exploited by society at large, and with men, part of our traditional gender role is to provide and protect. So if you’re a poor man who has no means of providing in this society what do you have left that defines you as a a man? Your actual physical presence; I believe that that’s a big part of where the ‘loud ratchet’ stereotype comes from, because if you’re poor in America you’re invalid, so how else do you get noticed besides being the loudest/most physically imposing person in the room.

                  I guess another way to say it is that poverty brings us to our most base instincts, but we’re still a part of this society, and the two don’t mix well. I don’t know how well I’m articulating this, hopefully you’ll understand.

                  • Val

                    Very insightful. I agree. If you have no economic power and your intellectual power is ignored then all you have is your physical power.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  The violence is attributed to the main income driver in the underground economy; right now it’s drugs but it has been other things.

                  • Epsilonicus

                    Bruh, it has been drugs since Vietnam

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      For Black folk it’s become a staple. We have our hands in human trafficking, the chex trade, and protection too.

                • Brooklyn_Bruin

                  I’ve been a teenage boy.

                  If I got into a scrap, drugs were never the issue. That wasn’t even in my universe.

                  It was beef, disrespect, maybe a girl involved. At that age, going upside somebody’s head with a baseball bat seems like a real good idea. That’s a large part of hood violence, and it has no direct economic cause.

                  Indirectly, less fights if these boys had after school jobs or activities. idle hands. These teenagers aren’t dealers protecting turf or junkies robbing folks to get money for a fix.

                  They have poor impulse control and access to weapons. The culture and friends don’t help.

                  A lot of that is home training and socialization in school. Even with all that, teenage hormones and a brain that doesn’t fully form to the mid twenties are a violence problem everywhere in the world.

              • I think Sanders explanation doesn’t go far enough.

                He’d say, generally speaking that the problem is “Income Inequality”, but I’d say rather it’s “Relative Income Inequality.” Poverty has a lot less to do with this, than people like to believe. Most poor people around the world do not engage consistently in violence, after all they have to figure out ways to eat and stay alive most of the time.

                When wealth isn’t accessible, and one’s lifestyle fits within ones economic means, there’s very little desire to engage in violence, and things go on, with life rotating mostly around self-reliance. However, in cities, people generally live close enough to see accessibility in wealth, which makes it more imaginable. Furthermore, cities are far less open to self-reliant lifestyles, but the dream of wealth still exists, thus the more ambitious a person is, the more likely they are going to engage in law breaking and hustles to attain wealth, since they believe it is something they can attain.

            • NukeWaste

              Where has this worked?

              • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                Where has that been done…?

                Outside of the great depression or marshall plan in Europe.

          • L8Comer

            Boys especially suffer from lack of infrastructure and institutions to support them. A long time ago (undergrad Sociology major) I read that often the only / best institution for guiding and supporting boys is the church.

            • NukeWaste

              Your data is completely ignoring the lack of male direction in welfare families. Male kids have only an angry mother to model themselves after. Your first part of your answer is to turn to only yourselves. Change the culture in your lower class neighborhoods. Quit castigated Black males that really try to succeed.

              • QueLoQue

                Smack, who is this n*gga?

                • Val

                  Lol Right.

        • Me

          VSB might not like this response, but we have to get comfortable with calling the police on our neighbors early on and more often. I know this conflicts with the PIC pipeline that we’re trying to have reformed, but in all honesty, parties that go unchecked by their hosts have a high risk for devolving into criminal activity regardless of the neighborhood. We may not want to be that individual always calling the cops, but even an anonymous call will at least get the police to show up, ask questions, and make their presence known. That’s the value of having noise ordinances. Keep the peace by enforcing the peace statutes in your town. I say the same thing to my girl friends who call wondering what to do when it sounds like their neighbors are in a domestic fight. Turn your lights down, call or text or sometimes you can even tweet your local police dept and ask them to do the dirty work. At the very least it’ll make them think twice about getting loud enough for the neighbors to complain. At best, it prevents the escalation of rowdy situations.

          • L8Comer

            I can personally see why people don’t call the cops on their neighbors more often…. The reason I wouldn’t / don’t call when my neighbors are being disruptive (smoking weed, loud music, late parties etc) isn’t b/c I have some aversion to snitching, it’s because they are young and black or hispanic. 1) I did the same thing at their age, so unless I hear gunshots Idc much; 2) I worry what will happen if i do call/ Do they just get a citation? Or do they get beat up or worse?

            • Val

              “…or worse?”

              Exactly.

            • Me

              I get it, but when the trade off is cops potentially roughing some people up, which despite all the news stories is still statistically rare, and neighbors potentially shooting the place up, which is also rare, why gamble on the side of your neighborhood being made unsafe by neighbors? In most situations, the worst that will happen (statistically) is someone gets arrested. And unless block parties have changed drastically from when I used to attend, most of the folks there will start walking away as soon as they see the red and blue lights coming up. I’m not saying call the cops for every minor infraction, but worrying about how a cop will handle a situation shouldn’t trump the actual security of the community. By the time gunshots ring out, it’s already too late. Plenty of things could’ve happened before that moment to prevent such an escalation. And as far as worrying because the offenders are young and black, I’ll say the same thing about that as I’ve recently said to a couple friends about flagging their parents’ activities as fraud on their credit reports: they weren’t worried about you being young and black or possibly ruining your life when they chose to infringe on your rights, so why are you extending more courtesy to them than they have to you? It’s one thing if it’s the type of situation that you can peacefully go to them and ask them to stop personally; it’s another thing when they make you feel so unsafe/uncomfortable that you don’t even want to risk speaking to them directly. That’s what the cops are for. Your neighbors can’t simultaneously scare you and command your allegiance against making them stop.

              • L8Comer

                I agree it’s a shame anyone has to think about a police officers response to neighbor disturbance instead of or in adding to the disturbance and security of your neighborhood.

                • Val

                  It is a shame but the reality is it can be dangerous calling the police if you’re Black. Which is frustrating. We pay taxes, and therefore their salaries, but don’t get the full benefit.

          • NukeWaste

            Get to know your local cop shop. Have some church ladies bake them cookies. Make facial contact. Demand “Officer Friendlies”, bike clinics, etc. Get your police to be part of your community.

            • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

              Again, something that is not completely in our hands but should be REQUIRED. No ONE should be policing our communities but people who have a connection to them or a vested interest in protecting them.

    • NukeWaste

      Sounds good. Why don’t you stay in a neighborhood that hates you? Calls you, “White”! Makes your life miserable. “Yeah, sure. I want to hang out with those losers now that I got out.” Said nobody, ever.

      • YeaSoh

        Wait, what? So you’re not white?… Since when is calling a white person white a bad thing? I mean if you are… Color me confused

        Anyway, here’s the thing, those communities are the way they are because this country turned their back on them. So you doing the same is no surprise. No one expects you to stay. Actually, no one expects anyone to WANT to stay, that’s why they’re set-up the way they are… when everyone wants to leave (due to bad schools, bad kids, no grow opportunities) and it’s not worth anything to anyone anymore, the properties can be bought for cheap and sold at any price. It’s called gentrification. Land ownership and resources matter. As a matter or fact, where exactly are our 40 acres and a mule? Work that out and we’ll stop calling you white, I guess.

  • OSHH

    Sounds like Ward 8 in the District.

    • Jéri

      Having grown up in Pittsburgh and taught in Ward 8, I can say there are many similarities.

    • Crystal J @ DD Goose

      All day long…

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      In five years Anacostia is going to look like 14th and U. They’re tearing down Malcolm X elementary on Alabama (the other X elementary on Mississippi is fine for now) to build condominiums.

      Folks going to get pushed out to Maryland. Less access to public transit and jobs.

      The problem will be “solved”, just like they solved it in Northwest.

      • OSHH

        Well this new Wizards practice facility/venue will be interesting.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Because so much pops off by the stadium for the Skins and the Nationals? Athletic facilities are not big economic drivers.

          The professional folks, architects, engineers and lawyers are few in number and don’t live in the hood. The construction people only get paid during construction. Our Latino brothers will see some of that, and some of us as well, but the lion’s share goes to contractors who don’t live here and don’t look like us.

          Jobs at the center will be low paid and seasonal. Nearby businesses, retail stores, bars and restaurants don’t offer high wage jobs.

          And I’m betting that the city is going to either help the Socrates already filthy rich owners with the financing or give the team owners tax abatements for years.

          Nothing good can happen. Sports facilities are well known boondoggles.

          St Elizabeth’s should be high rise high density public housing. That might make the hood less safe, but it would anchor (tank) the real estate prices and stop gentrification at Anacostia.

          Although the best use of all of these properties would be factories that make high technology products. Industrial assembly could employ a good chunk of the neighborhood.

          There used to be a munitions factory in Congress Heights…

          • OSHH

            Interesting indeed.

          • L8Comer

            St Elizabeth’s the mental hospital?

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              It’s a huge campus, only part of it is being used currently. Most of it is abandoned

              • L8Comer

                Ah, I didn’t know that

          • Mary

            St.Elizabeth’s needs to go back to being a mental health hospital! Reagan and his minions had something to do with pushing all the re side ts into the streets in the 80s. Didn’t know what homeless people looked like before then.
            The team that shall remain nameless needs to listen to folks and change the name. We been screaming for over ten years to change the name. The stadium never benefitted residents much; just tied up traffic.

      • Mary

        I heard the hills will be levelled too since Homeland Security considers them to be a threat. That go-to-jail -for -a -thousand- years -for -being able -to -spell- crack-law was pushed hard to lock up young men and get them out of the neighborhood. All DC’s poor are being pushed into Charles county. Gentrification is a ruble edged sword, y’all.

    • QueLoQue

      ehh not quite. Though there’s still a lot of crime, Anacostia and Congress Heights are trending upward, this place seems to be doing the opposite. And even with the crime, I’ve never heard of 8 people getting shot at once in SE.

      • OSHH

        Remember the gold plated bracelet incident a few years back?
        Four or five people were shot on the corner of MLK and the street over from Newcomb last fall.

        • QueLoQue

          No I don’t, and like I said it’s trending up. That doesn’t mean there’s no crime, but businesses are moving in and ‘development’ is happening (Who’s going to Broccoli City Fest?). New homeowners are still moving in even with the hood here, that’s not quite the same as what’s happening in Wilkinsburg.

          • OSHH

            Nine folks were shot and 4 died over a fake bracelet a few yrs back on South Cap St .
            I have been hearing about these projects in the works since 08, I have seen a few things trickle down the pike, like the Coast Guard HQ, and ground just broke on the Wiz practice facility
            So we will see but it has been a slow, and I do mean slow, trickle.

      • Mary

        My dad lived in that area and has seen so many dead bodies in the past 15 years. He’s passed by a full car shot up and dying in a car and trident save them; held a dying man’s hand in an alley after a drive -by. He’s gone to the police station countless times to give statements after witnessing drive-bys or arriving on the scene shortly afterwards. This all occurred not far from him or while he was out picking up food or at the gas station.!That area is still pretty rough.

  • Homer Alonzo La Rue

    Pittsburgh and Baltimore have so much more in common than a football rivalry. That could be a description of a lot of neighborhoods in West Baltimore.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      The argument that folks would make is that Wilkinsburg is not Pittsburgh; don’t heap their issues onto Pittsburgh.

    • Jennifer

      Pittsburgh…and Baltimore, and DC, and New Orleans, and Houston, and…

    • Lauron Thomas

      I’ve been in Bmore since 08 and it amazing how many of our schools have been shut down and consolidated. I feel so bad for the kids. And our neighborhoods, omg.

      I feel so bad that people have no choice but to stay in these conditions. My goal is to buy investment property around Coppin in the next few years for student housing, because when I lived on Ruxton Ave, I roomed with all kinds of bugs, mice and once a rat got in the kitchen. College kids and people in general shouldn’t have to live like that. Our all-gray-front houses and streets are so depressing, I wouldn’t have anything invested in these neighborhoods either.

      I hope Hogan’s urban decay/vacant demolition program helps, but I already know it will only be a face lift. The city can’t change if they don’t invest the money properly.

      • Homer Alonzo La Rue

        Maaaan listen… I got no faith in Larry Hogan. He hasn’t done much to indicate he’s about black people or poor people. He’s a real estate developer by trade so I’m betting we already know how his program for vacants is going to go.
        Big up to the Coppin Eagles tho.

        • Ess Tee

          I don’t live in MD anymore, but I don’t have faith in Hogan either. I was highly discouraged when I heard about the 30-something million that they were planning to use to construct a youth jail. I’m reading now, though, that supposedly that won’t happen after all, and they’ll take the money and use it for educational purposes.

          Who knows.

          • Epsilonicus

            And he got rid of chances to improve public transit because one damb neighborhood whined

            • Ess Tee

              Of course. Just under three years to go.

              *sigh*

      • Epsilonicus

        It won’t work. He is tearing it all down and selling to developers. They are already lining up

    • DBoySlim

      The difference between the county and the city is crazy. I know the Supe for Bmore county schools and I’ve seen how much more the suburbs have. I live in Detroit. You should see whats happening here.

      • Epsilonicus

        Baltimore County is changing though. They have more poor students than the city. They just have them more geographically dispersed. And the county does a great job in spinning its problems. Plus the media doesn’t cover them as hard.

  • I’ve been told to lie about my address on applications before. I know these shenanigans all too well. When things like this happen and I start screaming “gun control”, people fight me tooth and nail, then these things happen again and again. After which the larger city says “Well it doesn’t happen in my neighborhood.” and acts like it’s not their problem. This is all due to a lack of empathy for the poor.

    • Val

      “This is all due to a lack of empathy for the poor.”

      ‘Murica hates poor people.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        “Murica hates poor people.”

        No Murica hates when poor people ask for more than what Murica wants to provide.

        Murica: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…..

        Poor people: But we need access to healthcare, good schools, safe neighborhoods
        Murica: Nope

        • Kas

          Murica blames the poor for being poor because to think otherwise would have you questioning how much of your success is due to only your own bootstrapping.

          • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

            Yes. This thread hits it on the head. The US, even with white people, has a long deep stigmatization of poverty as a measure of self-worth and agency that is so tied up with the American ‘dream’ that I dont’ know how to even disentangle it. In many ways its more deeply entrenched than the feudal based classism of Europe.

            • Kas

              I think it’s roots lay with the Protestants who first settled here.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      But it does happen in their neighborhood. CNN just ran a story where this pro gun guy got shot by his 4 year old son. Little Timmy finds daddy’s gun and accidentally shoots his playmate. Carl’s momma is buying him guns and then he goes on a rampage. The only difference is the level of empathy and the media assumption that folks in the burbs are responsible.

      • Ess Tee

        I heard that story, although I thought it was the mom. Either way, the great irony is that the parent had apparently bragged on Facebook the day before that the kid was a great shot and such. I guess the kid was too great of a shot…

      • Do you think the media is responsible for the empathy gap? I guess, who else is there to blame?

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Not the main reason but they are a key contributor.

        • Julian Green

          In my view, the media has had no appreciable impact. People have always lacked empathy for those outside of their immediate orbit.

          • How we define “immediate orbit” hasn’t always been this small, though. In today’s age, you would think that we were more connected. Somehow the opposite happened.

            • Julian Green

              Admittedly, I’m only 26 so I’m speaking from the perspective of somebody that hasn’t been alive that long but I just don’t buy this idea that people today are more disconnected from one another due to technology and the media. All social media has done is highlight an apathy that’s always existed.

              • I can’t argue this. If anything technology has made people free to be even worse to each other.

              • NukeWaste

                In other words, people do not care about each other. So, what? People don’t want to be helped, they don’t need to be helped, and if you force your help upon them, it will do little.

              • Kantrice Dorsey

                I don’t know if it’s all due to social media, but the sense and pride in your community was much more evident back in the days when I was growing up. I’m 56 years old, and neighbors looked out for each other. Other adults could correct me if I was doing something I had no business, and I was respectful of them. Everyone knew my family because my Mother was very active in programs to help the community. I never wanted to embarrass her. As an adult I saw my hometown, which I am from Wilkinsburg declining. As a single woman I didn’t find a lot of opportunity for me to stay, so I moved away.

  • As a fellow pittsburgh resident I will say that Wilkinsburg was kinda sucky long before the revitalization of East Liberty…

  • I looked up some stuff on Wilkinsburg report on the Business market, it’s not pretty:

    Most of the retail sales comes from Gas and Auto, which is unlikely to lead to major gains in income or wealth.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_MmVCzeskCs/VuGlow_vH7I/AAAAAAAAAbQ/6sKLVZ39BRQ/s100-p-o/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B10.47.44%2BAM.png

    Most of the rental apartments are basically low-cost rentals, even if you had serious dough, it would be hard to find a place to rent:

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-jmyBh036–0/VuGlo4xxWeI/AAAAAAAAAbU/eXkR61De-N8/w893-h424-no/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.09.24%2BAM.png

    Most people who move there, move because it’s affordable and cheap, not because of opportunities:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-pAtnjZxDsK4/VuGlpVuaoLI/AAAAAAAAAbc/-T04bxrAstA/w905-h380-no/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.10.03%2BAM.png

    The property taxes are much higher than they would be for the same property in Pittsburg:
    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Zh6betuoZe8/VuGlpQrpYdI/AAAAAAAAAbg/cHMJnwEL6WI/w836-h478-no/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.12.13%2BAM.png

    The city has problems bringing in business and retaining them:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-F6hZwJjiSjU/VuGlpuS0PiI/AAAAAAAAAbk/jbPm2QB4irc/w804-h443-no/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.13.22%2BAM.png

    Some of the suggestion that were made:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kBmxWCt6oEc/VuGlpmu-qNI/AAAAAAAAAbo/8VYNsaDKWEY/s100-p-o/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.13.51%2BAM.png

    Other Rent Stats:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZHXgRBGsZOk/VuGlp8JYWsI/AAAAAAAAAbs/YVjXaWe21QY/s100-p-o/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-10%2Bat%2B11.14.36%2BAM.png

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      The population can’t take advantage of the wealth created in other parts of the city. That’s due to lack of education for some. For those that are educated, then it’s “culture” fit. If you come in on the capital side, the bars to entry are even greater.

      And what little the community can scrounge up is taken by no equity rent, transactional costs from living in a place with poor amenities..

      Same economic story in every black neighborhood.

      But at the aggregate level, black Americans spend a lot of money.

      • Val

        “And what little the community can scrounge up is taken by no equity
        rent, transactional costs from living in a place with poor amenities.”

        Yep. Like James Baldwin said, it’s expensive to be poor.

        • Epsilonicus

          From experience, it damb sure does.

          • porqpai

            I cannot understand why people don’t get this and look at me like I’ve grown two heads when I say it. Eating healthy is expensive. He ll nowadays eating period is expensive. Not to mention everything else folk with regular income tend to take for granted. None of it is cheap if it’s good for you or necessary.

    • Excellent followup Negro Libre. Well done. I do have a question on how home rule works in PA. In my experience, all else equal, ghettos tend to be worse off in states with strong home rule as opposed to places where counties have more power.

      • Wilkingsburg is part of Allegheny County. Here’s a part from the wikipedia section (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegheny_County,_Pennsylvania)

        Law and government

        For most of the 20th century, until 1999, Allegheny County was governed exclusively under the state’s Second Class County Code. Under this code, the county handled everything: elections, prisons, airports, public health and city planning. Unlike the rest of the state, where certain public offices are combined and held by one person, in Allegheny County all public offices are held by elected individuals.

        Before the implementation of the home-rule charter on January 1, 2000, there were three county commissioners. These were replaced with an elected chief officer (the county executive), a county council with 15 members (13 elected by district, two elected county-wide), and an appointed county manager. The changes were intended to maintain a separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches while providing the citizens with greater control over the government.

        County Medical Examiner office

        The county has 130 municipalities, each governing itself; no other county in Pennsylvania has nearly as many, with Luzerne County’s 76 being second.[7] The county has one Second Class City (Pittsburgh) and three Third Class Cities (Clairton, Duquesne, and McKeesport).

        In other words, the city is pretty much on its own.

  • PilasRotas

    So close and still so far apart. The only way we’ll ever see any change in the extreme differences between areas is if school funding is distributed evenly. It’s not about “paying for other people’s kids”. It’s about paying for the future of everyone. If we gave kids the tools they need to succeed in this world they are less likely to end up in crime. Crime costs society a fortune each year. Why not spend that money on preventing crime?

    • Val

      “Why not spend that money on preventing crime?”

      Because crime leads to prison and prison is a huge industry in this country worth billions. We have to take the money out of the equation and then there will be an incentive to get to the core of the crime problem.

      • Also, it would either require tax hikes to pay for students people don’t care about (and if you wanna see how popular that is, go to Jersey, find a White person and say “Abbott District”), taking money out of predominantly White schools or having little Black boys go to school with little White girls (we know that would entail more, but that’s what racists will fixate on).

        That won’t happen.

        • PilasRotas

          Because people can’t think longer than their noses reach. They don’t realize that when society as a whole is healthy everyone benefits, even the rich folks. When society as a whole is unhealthy, we all pay a price.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        That money should be spent to subsidize the rent and other essentials of those people who are working and have lived in the neighborhood but still can’t afford to live.

  • Squish

    Literally ALL OF THIS.

    As a lifelong Pittsburgher and one who hails from Hazelwood, lived on the North Side (Hail, to thee Oliver), and now lives on the east side of town, I can emphatically agree that the way this city is set up is by design. Black people, poor people, and the elderly are systematically being pushed out of the neighborhoods they grew up in, raised their kids in, and paid taxes for, for friggin Google. It’s disheartening, it’s sad, and it’s frustrating. Pushing for systemic changes is already difficult enough. Pushing for systemic changes in Pittsburgh is a whole other ballgame. We can’t give up, though. There is a solution out there…we just have to find it and implement it.

    • Epsilonicus

      “Google can’t buy my culture”

      That statement hit me so hard. So powerful

      • Verdadgiuliano2


        “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


        two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month .,3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoi!50????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsDaily/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:::::oi!50…

      • Jenniferjhartman1


        “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


        two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoi!614????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsInfo/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:::::oi!614…….

    • ThePatrioteer

      Paid taxes in? Are you kidding me? Most of those people get back more than they paid in. So, basically, don’t improve the city, leave the ghettos where they are?

  • outlyer06

    sounds like detroit and chicago

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