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Pittsburgh Courier Parker charts new direction for NAACP NEW Published Weekly FEBRUARY 13-19, 2013 INSIDE

by Christian Morrow Courier Staff Writer

Constance Parker, elected Presi-

dent of the NAACP Pittsburgh Unit in November, met with the New Pittsburgh Courier Editorial Board and said the unit has failed to com- municate with and for the Black community in recent years, and that will change. “We need to disseminate informa-

Black History Month

Special Section

Vibrant Pittsburgh: Blacks must be part of diversity

by Christian Morrow Courier Staff Writer

Many have heard the

rumblings, the comments. And when someone like Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl or County Ex- ecutive Rich Fitzgerald touts a commitment to di- versity and the next class of police academy graduates is all White—but includes women, the rumblings get louder; diversity does not mean Black. “We’re getting pushed fur-

ther into the background for another agenda,” said NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Constance Parker during a recent meeting with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “We opened the door, and now we’re being kicked out of it.” Courier columnist Louis

“Hop” Kendrick agreed. “The same problems I

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tion much better,” she said during the Feb. 6meeting. “The lack of com- munication in the community, with multiple organizations that don’t talk, that don’t like each other and tear each other down is a problem because we can’t afford business as usual.” Parker said, as president, her

agenda will focus on three main areas; health, education and em- ployment, and she added she is very pleased to have a new Legal Re- dress Committee to address dis- crimination and abuse in those and other areas where African-Ameri- cans are being slighted, or worse. “We have to take a legal approach

on a lot of these issues,” she said. “We’re investigating two complaints

of racial abuse at the Post Office on the North Side. Back in the day, that was enough to get some action taken. It will be again.” Parker added that the legal team,

which volunteered their services without her asking, would also be looking at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. “That incident where the woman

called 911 and then was killed when the officer left is horrible. If the law can’t perform its job, the law should be changed,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a strong enough handle on the control of the police force.” For her part, Parker said she

would make herself more available to the public and the media—par- ticularly the Courier—because it’s her duty as president. “You owe it to the people to report

what you’re doing, and to let them know you’re out there. Even if it’s just a phone call, you owe people a response.” Parker said when it comes to mo-

NEW DIRECTION—New NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Constance Parker an- nounced the reformation of the unit’s Legal Redress Committee during a January press conference. (Photo by J.L. Martello.)

bilizing people for actions, the unit is blessed with some new younger

SEE PARKER A3 Black Americans: The new face of HIV/AIDS

by Rebecca Nuttall Courier Staff Writer

In the late 1980s when

Clarisse Jordan contracted HIV, it was known to her and many others as the “gay White male disease.” She wasn’t gay, White, a prostitute, drug user, or any of the other identifiers used in the early days to catego- rize those living with HIV/AIDS. She’d only had one part-

ner, her boyfriend, but when her family discovered he had been diagnosed with HIV, her mother urged her to get tested. “I went in and my doctor

took the blood and it took a month and a half for the re- sults to come back,” Jordan said. “I wasn’t worried.” Today, Jordan is one of the

more than 510,000 African- Americans living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and while Blacks make up 12 percent of the population, they represent 44 percent of total HIV/AIDS cases. She shared her story as part of the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event hosted by theUniver- sity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Minority Student Organi- zation on Feb. 7. “I’ve literally almost died

11 times. My mother never came to see me,” Jordan said after explaining how her mother kicked her out after she was diagnosed

HIV RAPID TESTING—Zeba Ahmed demonstrates how the test is done. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

with HIV. “I’ve been posi- tive for 28 years and my mother is just now able to ask me about my health.” Jordan was in and out of

the hospital from 1997 to 2006, but today her viral load, which measures the severity of the virus, is un- detectable. Her t-cell count is high, which signifies the strength of her immune system, and she is down to 12 pills a day from her pre- vious medicinal cocktail of 27. “There’s nothing fun

about having HIV; there is nothing pretty about it,” Jordan said. “The medicine basically makes you feel like you’re going crazy. Those are the side effects for me.” The event also featured

other speakers, workshop sessions and an informa-

tional fair about various ef- forts to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Students were also invited to take advantage of free rapidHIV testing. “I wanted to checkmy sta-

tus. I wanted to be sure and I wanted to be able to say concretely whether I was positive or not,” said Zeba Ahmed, a junior, after she received her results. “I ap- preciate that there’s people making an effort to raise awareness about the risks.” According to a 2011 report

by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the Al- legheny County Health De- partment and the Univer- sity of Pittsburgh, African- Americans represent 12 percent of the Allegheny

SEE HIV/AIDS A4 Urban League kicks off anniversary

by Rebecca Nuttall Courier Staff Writer

On Feb. 9, the Urban League of

Greater Pittsburgh began the year- long celebration of their 95th anniver- sary by hearkening to the past. As part of the kick-off celebration, they honored Wendell Freeland, former chair of their board of directors, with the inaugural Wendell G. Freeland Living Legacy award. “Civil rights work, including the work of the Urban League, is ex-

tremely hard work, but we have helpers around us and this man is one of them,” said Pittsburgh Urban League President and CEO Esther Bush. “For the work that he has done over the many decades and the work he will continue to do, we want to rec- ognize him.” While the event was originally

meant to feature remarks by National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, who was prohibited from attending due to inclement weather on the east coast, it seemed fitting to

give over the program to Freeland who took the audience on a journey with him as he shared anecdotes from his many years with the local Urban League, the organization’s involve- ment with the Civil Rights Movement and his own rise to senior vice-presi- dent of the National Urban League board of trustees. “At that time, for a Negro to be on the

Urban League board, you had to be 60 years old. You really had to prove

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