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Report: Vast disparities continue to exist in PPS between Black and White students But A+ Schools also highlighted some ‘bright spots’ occurring in the district by Rob Taylor Jr. Courier Staff Writer

In an urban school district like Pittsburgh Public Schools, of which its students are majority-Black, how can the label of a “gifted student” be mostly associated with a White student? Perplexing, but true, according to A+ Schools’ yearly “Report to the Community” findings, released Nov. 16. A+ Schools, a local non-profit advocacy organization, found that during the 201920 school year, 66 percent of PPS students identified as “gifted” were White; just 18 percent were Black students. The district has a student population that’s 51 percent Black, 32 percent White, and the remaining 17 percent identifying as multi-ethnic, Hispanic or Asian.

The Pa. State Code defines “mentally gifted” as “outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program,” the report read. A+ Schools found that the students who were classified as “gifted” were mostly found in PPS schools that had the lowest percentages of students classified as “economically disadvantaged.” A New Pittsburgh Courier analysis of the data provided by A+ Schools revealed that there were three PPS schools that had 25 percent or less of its students classified as “economically disadvantaged.” Those three schools had the highest percentage of “gifted” students (CAPA 6-12, 34 per-

cent “gifted;” Colfax K-8, 20 percent “gifted;” Montessori PreK-5, 17 percent “gifted”). But in more than 45 PPS schools of which the percentage of “economically disadvantaged” students was 45 percent and higher, less than 10 percent of the students were classified as “gifted.” There’s only one school in the district last year that had more than 45 percent of its students classified as “economically disadvantaged” but had higher than 10 percent of its students classified as “gifted.” The school, the Courier has learned exclusively, was Obama 6-12, 51 percent “economically disadvantaged,” 14 percent “gifted.” “Gifted identification in the lower grades provides automatic access to more rigorous courses in high school,” A+ Schools’ report read, “which

TAMARA SANDERS-WOODS, principal of Pittsburgh Colfax K-8, was featured in A+ Schools’ annual “Report to the Community” for leading the improvement of Black students’ reading at grade level at the school. has been shown to be a powerful predictor of college enrollment, persistence, and success.” As students progress to high school, more Black students in the district tend to take AP, or Advanced Placement, courses. However, of the students who took at least one AP course in the 2019-20 school year, 56 percent were White, 27 percent were Black.

Possibly more staggering, while 23 percent of White students passed an AP course and scored a “3” or higher on an AP exam last year, just 1 percent of Black students did. James Fogarty, executive director of A+ Schools, told the Courier in an exclusive interview, Nov. 20, that there SEE A+ SCHOOLS A5

‘NEVER SETTLE.’

Dashon Cruse becomes federal licensed drone operator...at 18 years old by Rob Taylor Jr.

southwest of the Sioux City, Iowa, airport operating an Courier Staff Writer unmanned aircraft. What Quick!...You’ve been con- is the maximum altitude tracted to inspect towers lo- above ground level that cated approximately 4NM you’re authorized to oper-

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ate over the top of the towers? Exactly. Try 60 of these types of questions coming at you during the Federal Aviation Administration’s knowledge test you must pass in order to fly a drone legally for commercial purposes in the U.S. You better know your stuff. Dashon Cruse, a recent

graduate of University Prep High School (Pittsburgh Milliones), knows his stuff. On Oct. 13, Cruse, who will turn 19 on Dec. 6, walked into the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, and two hours later, walked out as a licensed commercial drone operator. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. But Cruse told the

New Pittsburgh Courier he was determined to make history. It’s believed DASHON CRUSE that Cruse is the lone certified African American male drone being operated by a drone operator in Pitts- person, but it could be for burgh between the ages of recreational purposes, in 16 and 40. Look up in the sky, and one may find a SEE CRUSE A4

WESTINGHOUSE SOARS OVER THE COMPETITION Bulldogs go undefeated, beat Allderdice in the City League title game, 36-20, on Nov. 14. Get more on Page A8.

(Photo by Courier photographer William McBride)


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BLACK VOTERS IMPACTFUL IN 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

DENISE MURPHY, pictured in the photo at right, leads Naomi’s House, the special education and after-school mentoring initiative in Swissvale. In October, she teamed up with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists to host a community voters’ registration day, offering games, entertainment and refreshments. Also pictured are Weldianne Scales, Michelle McCord and Jerry Dickinson. (Photos by Courier photographer Jacquelyn McDonald)

Courier’s prediction proven correct: Biden wins Georgia Recount gives Biden the edge over Trump by 12,284 votes by Rob Taylor Jr. Courier Staff Writer

America’s first Black president, Barack Obama, won the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, but with no electoral college help from the state of Georgia. African Americans came out the woodwork to vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012 in Georgia, but it was, to put it bluntly, a lot of Georgia’s White population who did not cast a vote for Obama. Many of them voted for John McCain in 2008, then Mitt Romney in 2012, the Republican challengers. Fast forward to 2016. Nothing changed. Georgia went to the Republican, Donald Trump, by five points over the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Still, the New Pittsburgh Courier was crazy enough to predict in its Oct. 28, 2020 edition that Georgia would be won by the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, and not Trump, in the 2020 election. And after a recount of the five million votes tallied in Georgia, its Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, announced Nov. 19 that Biden officially defeated Trump in the Peach State. This is not a misprint. Georgia, at least in 2020, isn’t the Georgia of old. Or, at the very least, one can confirm that the demographics and ideologies of some of the state’s residents have changed. The Courier, in its Oct. 28 print edition, made reference to the possibility that Georgia, a traditional Red state, would go Blue for Biden. So many African American organizations pounded the pavement in Atlanta and the surrounding ‘burbs over the past few years, stressing the need to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Most African Americans grew sour of President Trump, and wanted him out of office. The official vote count

in Georgia, as of Nov. 19: 2,475,141 votes for Biden, 2,462,857 votes for Trump. Biden won by 12,284 votes. But if other Southern states like Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina handily went to Trump in the 2020 election like they did in 2016, what made Georgia so different? One word: Atlanta. Political experts love to focus on the changing demographic of Atlanta’s suburban areas as a key to Georgia’s political pivot, but don’t forget; there would be no massive influx of newcomers if not for Atlanta itself. Black people want to be in Atlanta. Black people want to party in Atlanta. Black people want to open up businesses in Atlanta. Black people can get record deals in Atlanta. Black people can get jobs in Atlanta. Black people can see or experience anything they want in Atlanta, except snowstorms and Super Bowl wins by the home-team Falcons. When Black millenials plan a vacation, everyone agrees on going to Atlanta. There are some who fret that Atlanta is “overrat-

ed.” But when the city was named the top place (along with Washington, D.C.) where African Americans were doing the best economically by Forbes Magazine in 2018, it’s hard to criticize the ATL. USA Today in 2019 named Atlanta the nation’s Black tech capital. The news organization reported last year how one in four workers in the tech field in Atlanta’s metro area were Black. Compare that to just 2.5 percent Black in the San Jose area, and 6.4 percent in the Bay Area, according to a Brookings Institution study. When it comes to cost of living, Atlanta packs a whole lot for less than half the price one would pay to live in, say, the Silicon Valley. When it comes to entrepreneurs, there’s no place like Atlanta to see African Americans betting on themselves and their products to make a living. And when it comes to jobs, Atlanta has Fortune 500 companies everywhere, like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS and Delta Airlines. There’s also Cox Enterprises, a media company; the cable network CNN; the credit gathering company Equifax; and so many other big-time companies in the area. Much of Atlanta’s population are not natives. This has caused Atlanta not to have a hardcore, passionate fan base for its professional sports teams, compared with the diehards in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. With everything that non-na-

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tives must encounter when moving to Atlanta, namely how to get around without getting lost, making new friends and picking the right neighborhoods, registering to vote in the new state might get lost in the shuffle. That’s where Stacey Abrams is credited with getting African Americans, many of whom in the region identifying as transplants, to register to vote in Georgia and then, participate in the elections. Abrams, a Black woman, founded The New Georgia Project in 2013, an initiative focused on registering minority voters in the state, according to USA Today. Her persistence throughout the years helped create a new wave of Democratic voters in Georgia, and when Abrams ran for governor of Georgia, she came within 55,000 votes of victory, or 1.4 percent. Abrams was poised to make history in 2018 when she was in a heated battle for the governor’s seat with Republican Brian Kemp. She would have become America’s first Black female governor. USA Today reported that after her 2018 defeat, Abrams founded Fair Fight, a progressive group with a goal similar to the New Georgia Project of registering voters nationally and combating voter suppression in states like Georgia. Since Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, Georgia has seen one million new registered voters; two-thirds of whom were people of color. Advantage goes to the Democrats. And a majority of the new voters reside in Fulton County, where Atlanta

is located, and the counties surrounding Fulton; Douglas, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Clayton, Henry, Rockdale and Newton. All the aforementioned counties went Blue for Biden in its respective vote counts. In Fulton County, Biden won 73 percent of the vote. Clayton County had 85 percent for Biden; Douglas (62%); Cobb (56%); Gwinnett (58%); Rockdale (70%); Henry (60%); and Newton (55%). A closer analysis of Georgia’s vote count shows that while Biden won the counties that house the cities Columbus, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia was redder than a rose in North Georgia, South Georgia and Southeastern Georgia. Those areas are Trump country. CBS News exit polls reported on Nov. 5 that 87 percent of the Black vote in Georgia went to Biden; 11 percent went to Trump. For White voters in Georgia, 70 percent went to Trump, 29 percent went to Biden. But Biden received more votes than Clinton among Whites, 29 percent to Clinton’s 21 percent in 2016. Including Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, Biden finished the 2020 Presidential Election with 306 electoral votes, to Trump’s 232. The Courier had predicted in its Oct. 28 print edition that Biden would defeat Trump, 309 to 229. Come Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated as the next president and vice-president of the United States. And this time, African Americans in Georgia can truly say they were instrumental in Biden’s victory...and ousting Trump.


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Dashon Cruse, at just 18 years old, becomes federal licensed drone operator M-PowerHouse organization made a presentation on drone operation at University Prep (Pittsburgh Milliones) in 2019. It caught Cruse’s attention. CRUSE FROM A1

DASHON CRUSE

which a person does not need to be certified. But in order to operate a drone legally for commercial purposes, one must be a certified operator, which includes passing a twohour, 60 question knowledge test. If you answer 75 percent of the questions correctly, you’ve passed the test. Cruse, who also played football and basketball in high school, became interested in drones after the organization M-PowerHouse did a presentation on them at U-Prep in Nov. 2019, during his senior year. “I was probably one of the only people interested in it in my school,” Cruse told the Courier in an exclusive interview, Nov. 20. “I did my own research and I saw the benefits in how technology is about to take over, and it was something different. I just like being different, so I just took it upon myself to get the license.” Cruse hooked up with Terry Smith, president and CEO of M-PowerHouse, to get the materials necessary to take the test. Cruse said he had the information in February, but didn’t begin studying it until August. “I studied it for two months,” he said. Cruse said much of the material one has to know about flying drones concerns weather. “You have

erHouse seeks to turn disparity to parity, by getting corporations such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, FedEx, UPS, the Armed Forces and others to begin to recruit African American drone pilots. And licensed drone operators can make quite the living. As freelance contractors, they can gather thermal images of the ground, produce 3-D models of buildings, and everything in between. An article published on Marketwatch.com in 2018 featured independent drone operators who made six-figure incomes. It’s not all fun and games, though. Licensed drone operators have to invest in their business. Do you have the best drone available? What is your specialty? Is there an oversaturation in drone operators in a particular city? Do you carry insurance on your drone? All of these questions are vital in understanding just how financially successful one can be in the drone operator business. According to the FAA, there are about 200,000 certified drone operators, or remote pilots, in the U.S. There are 1.7 million registered drones, with 500,000 of them used for commercial purposes. When it comes to diversity in commercial drone operators, you better get a high-tech magnifying glass. There is a severe

Dashon Cruse said much of the material one has to know about flying drones concerns weather. “You have to learn the same stuff as a meterologist a little bit. Cold fronts, warm fronts, and you have to learn sectional charts, the same charts that regular airplane (pilots) use. It’s a lot of studying you have to do.” to learn the same stuff as a meterologist a little bit,” he said. “Cold fronts, warm fronts, and you have to learn sectional charts, the same charts that regular airplane (pilots) use. It’s a lot of studying you have to do.” Cruse, who graduated from U-Prep in June with a 3.5 GPA, passed the FAA Drone Knowledge exam on his first try. “All that studying paid off, and I knew I made history,” Cruse told the Courier. M-PowerHouse played a vital role in Cruse’s progression, as the organization constantly connects Pittsburgh youth to careers and educational opportunities in STEAM-related fields. M-PowerHouse has drone professionals who instruct students, and it provides the safety helmets, vests and materials. Students like Cruse get an opportunity to fly the drones through obstacle courses and cover material to prepare them to take the exam. Smith said M-Pow-

dearth of certified Black drone operators nationally, though there are those such as Carmaine Means and Jae S. Brown who want to spread their knowledge of the unmanned aircraft systems business to fellow African Americans. Means is known as the “Drone Girl” in the Chicago area, while also working as a photojournalist at a TV station there. Brown is the leader of Vekter Management, which prepares people for advancement in the industry. Cruse told the Courier he’s preparing to launch his LLC, Superfly Drone Services, in which he’ll be able to provide different services as a licensed drone operator. Cruse’s advice to other young people looking to gain new skills in this crazy world called life: “Never settle,” he said. “Be yourself, and whatever you want to do, put your mind to it.”


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Vast disparities continue to exist in PPS between Black and White students, A+ Schools’ annual report says A+ SCHOOLS FROM A1

are three “big issues” with the “gifted” evaluation and identification. “One study showed that when teachers thought a child was ‘gifted,’ that child was given more challenging work and was pushed to grow. This also

percentage of students being suspended also had a high percentage of Black students enrolled at the school. A Courier data analysis found that Milliones 6-12 school, in the Hill District, with 88 percent of the students identified as Black, led all schools with

A Courier analysis of the data provided by A+ Schools (2019-20) revealed that in many PPS schools that have higher percentages of White students than Black students, Black students still were suspended more in that school, including: Mifflin PreK-8 South Brook 6-8 CAPA 6-12 Sci-Tech 6-12 Allderdice High School And at Carrick High School, the percentage of Black and White students was the same (42), but Black students were suspended nearly five times as much as White students. has an impact on a child’s view of self as those seen as ‘smart’ get on a bus once a week to go to the ‘gifted’ center. It’s a terrible message to be sending if you’re trying to build a growth mindset in children,” Fogarty said. The other issues with the “gifted” classification is that those children generally have an easier path to get into an AP course, and those without the classification “have to be recommended by a teacher and apply to those more rigorous courses,” he said. And Fogarty added that the evaluation instruments used to identify “gifted” students measure “specific aspects of intelligence that have a lot to do with background knowledge and the resources available to a student. It creates two tiers; one where mostly White students with greater resources are given access to additional academic supports and projects, and those without aren’t.” A+ Schools didn’t stop there with its dissection of Pittsburgh Public Schools and the disparities that exist between its Black and White students. Suspensions have reduced drastically across the district over the past four years, but of the 2,331 students suspended at least once last year, 79 percent were Black, 12 percent were White. A+ Schools feels that the 2,331 students suspended is still too much, emphasizing in its report that the 2,331 students who were suspended “could have almost filled Heinz Hall.” Because of the high percentage of Black students being suspended at least once compared to White students, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the PPS schools with the highest

37 percent of its total students suspended. At Westinghouse 6-12, in Homewood, where 95 percent of the students identified as Black, 32 percent of the total students were suspended. But the Courier also found that even in many PPS schools that had a higher percentage of White students than Black students last year, Black students still received the majority of the suspensions. At Mifflin PreK-8, in the Lincoln Place neighborhood, 52 percent of the students are White, 37 percent are Black. But last year, 70 percent of the suspensions there went to Black students. White students received 20 percent. At South Brook 6-8, in Brookline, 56 percent of the students are White, 25 percent are Black. But Black students received more suspensions than White students last year, 50 to 40 percent. CAPA fell under the same umbrella. The Creative and Performing Arts school, Downtown, had 64 percent of its students identify as White last year; Black students totaled 23 percent. Though only four percent of CAPA’s 879 students were suspended in 2019-20, more Black students were suspended than White students. Sci-Tech 6-12, in Oakland, and Allderdice High School, in Squirrel Hill, were more examples of schools with higher percentages of White students than Black students, but with more Black students being suspended last year. At Carrick High School, there was an even split in White and Black student enrollment, at 42 percent each. But when it came to suspensions last year, Blacks were suspended nearly five times as much there as White students.

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Fogarty told the Courier exclusively that to lessen the amount of Black student suspensions, the district should invest in “Parent Family Home Visits.” “It builds a culture where simple judgments are undermined and more nuanced understanding of our communities and caregivers can be built,” he said. “Our educators need tools to do this well, and we would do well to invest the time and resources in building their capacity to create strong partnerships and communication with our families.” The A+ Schools annual report also touched on topics such as chronic absenteeism, teacher demographics and school trends of state tests and exams. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Pennsylvania did not administer the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test this past spring. But A+ Schools made it clear in its report that chronic absenteeism with Black students in the district is alarming. During the 2019-20 school year (prior to March 13, when the pandemic forced school locations to close), Black Kindergarteners were chronically absent three times as much as White Kindergarteners. Chronic absenteeism is classified as missing 10 percent or more of the total number of school days in a school year. “Chronic absence in Kindergarten impedes a child’s ability to master reading by the end of third grade. Moreover, absenteeism is highly predictive of whether a student will graduate or not,” A+ Schools’ report read. And when it came to teacher demographics, the report read bluntly, citing a study: “Black students who’d had just one Black teacher by third grade were 13 percent more likely to enroll in college—and those who’d had two were 32 per-

Of the students classified as “gifted” in Pittsburgh Public Schools last year, 66 percent were White, 18 percent were Black. That’s a problem, said A+ Schools Executive Director James Fogarty, pictured at left: “One study showed that when teachers thought a child was ‘gifted,’ that child was given more challenging work and was pushed to grow. This also has an impact on a child’s view of self as those seen as ‘smart’ get on a bus once a week to go to the ‘gifted’ center. It’s a terrible message to be sending if you’re trying to build a growth mindset in children.” Fogarty also said that the evaluation instruments used to identify “gifted” students measure “specific aspects of intelligence that have a lot to do with background knowledge and the resources available to a student. It creates two tiers; one where mostly White students with greater resources are given access to additional academic supports and projects, and those without aren’t.”

cent more likely to enroll.” But in Pittsburgh Public Schools, there’s a very good chance a Black student may not have a Black teacher by third grade. A+ Schools’ data showed that in 201920, 85 percent of the district’s teachers were White; 13 percent were Black. In its report, A+ Schools highlighted some “bright spots” that were taking place in the district to help

combat the disparities between Black and White students. The district’s “Para 2 Teacher” program is aimed at helping paraprofessionals in the district, many of whom are African American, earn the necessary educational hardware to become a certified teacher. At Dilworth PreK-5, in Highland Park, some of the services provided to the school’s “gifted” students

are made available to all students. And at Colfax K-8, in Squirrel Hill, led by principal Tamara Sanders-Woods, there’s been a steady improvement in third grade reading scores for Black students. What was a 35 percent reading on grade level in 2015 blossomed to a 63 percent reading on grade level in 2019.


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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4 ways to make holiday shopping a breeze this year (BPT)—This year more than ever, we’re all ready to kick back and enjoy a relaxing holiday season. Shopping online is a great way to get your shopping done safely and conveniently this year - in fact, the majority (59 percent) of holiday shoppers plan to shift more of their shopping online compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer holiday survey. Whether you love the thrill of holiday shopping or are usually more of a gifting procrastinator, here are a few simple strategies you can apply to your online shopping that will have you checking holiday errands off your list in no time, leaving you more time to

celebrate with family and friends this year. 1. Make a list (and check it twice) First, make a list of those people in your life that you want to delight with a special gift this year. Next, create a workable budget for your gift shopping as a whole, then break down that budget per person, deciding who you might want to splurge a little more on this year, versus those that might be just as happy with something simpler. That way you’ll know what you can afford before your list gets away from you. 2. Start early No need to wait until Black Friday this year to score incredible deals on everything you need this season. Beat

the holiday rush by taking advantage of early savings and deals, so you can stress less and get on to enjoying the season. Amazon is kicking off the holiday shopping season earlier than ever with its Holiday Dash deals event, bringing Black Friday deals and discounts to all customers earlier than ever. Start snatching up deals now at www. Amazon.com/holidaydash, on the Amazon App, or by simply asking “Alexa, what are my deals?” With new deals dropping every day, you can shop with confidence that you’re getting Black Friday-worthy deals and incredible savings on a huge selection of products, making it easy to check everyone

off the gift list earlier than ever. Best of all, online shopping means everything is delivered quickly and safely helping you save even more time and money by not having to visit multiple stores. 3. Let gift guides do the work for you Need gifting inspiration? If you’ve got your list and budget together but are stuck on a few ideas, gift guides are the perfect place to start. Amazon’s holiday gift guides are easily sorted by things like price, age and areas of interest, so you can find something for everyone on your list, no matter the budget - just go to amazon.com/gifts. Still stumped? Let Alexa do the work for you by asking things like “Alexa, give me gift ideas under $50,” for more gifting inspiration within your budget. 4. Get more for your dollar with easy saving hacks For many, budgets are tighter than ever this year - in fact, a recent survey conducted by Accenture showed that nearly 1 in 4 are cutting holiday spending because of a tough year - making it more important than ever to get more for your holiday dollar. Luckily, in addition to scouting out early holiday deals there are some easy ways to get the best bang for your buck throughout the whole season. Check out Amazon Coupons for special offers that are updated frequently on thousands of products - all without the hassle of clipping, and set up the Amazon Assistant to easily monitor and compare prices on all the products you want, so you can be sure you are getting the best deals on all the best gifts. Or check out some of Amazon’s lesser known options, like Amazon’s Renewed Deals, where you can discover professionally inspected pre-owned, refurbished and open-box products. Follow these tips and you’ll feel more prepared than ever going into the holiday season!

Save money with these 3 holiday shopping tips (BPT)—The holiday shopping season may look a little different this year, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of saving money. Whether you’re shopping online or in store, these tips can help you spend less and set you up for long-term financial success. Know when to use credit or debit “The answer to this depends on your individual financial situation,” said Shazia Virji, Vice President at Credit Sesame. “Purchasing items with cash or a debit card can help prevent you from overspending or going deeper into debt, but paying with credit now allows you to save your cash for expenses that don’t allow you to pay with credit, like rent or loan

payments.” If you have a credit card that offers reward programs, you may benefit from the additional points and discounts during the holiday shopping season. One of the potential downsides to using your credit is that you may rack up more debt. If you aren’t in a position to pay your entire balance each month, you’ll likely end up paying more in interest over time. “Your cash and credit are intertwined when it comes to your overall financial health, so it’s important to find a balance between using the two,” said Virji. “In fact, Credit Sesame helps emphasize the relationship between the two by rewarding customers with cash rewards when they improve their credit score.”

Be aware of the downsides of retailer credit cards If you’ve shopped at a major retail chain or department store, you’ve likely been asked if you want to save 10 percent on your purchase by applying for their credit card. Before you apply for any credit card, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, you should make sure that you could pay off the balance in a timely manner. “Oftentimes, retailer credit cards have higher interest rates and could cost you more in the long run if you don’t pay them off in full,” said Virji. Another consideration is whether you’d benefit from the perks of having this store credit card. If this is a store you shop at frequently and would use the bonus points

and discounts, then it may be a good option for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that applying for any credit card may temporarily lower your credit score with a hard inquiry. Free shipping doesn’t always pay off You’ve found the exact gift you’re looking for online, and you’re ready to check out. Unfortunately, you’re about $15 short of the minimum total to qualify for free shipping. “Don’t feel pressured to throw another item in your cart just to save $5.99 on shipping charges,” said Virji. “Chances are, you’ll end up spending more than you’d save in free shipping for something you didn’t need. If you’re shopping from multiple online stores,

adding a few things here and there can really add up and blow your budget.” Instead, try to match up your shopping list to retailers offering promotions that don’t require a minimum purchase. Your credit or debit card may also provide exclusive discounts, like Credit Sesame’s Cash Back Offers, where you can receive up to 15 percent instant cash back from thousands of national and local retailers on qualifying purchases. “Remember, you don’t need to jeopardize your financial health to show your loved ones that you care this holiday season,” said Virji. “By managing your cash and credit together and sticking to a budget, you can buy quality gifts and keep your debt at bay.”


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THE WESTINGHOUSE DEFENSE gave Allderdice fits all afternoon at Cupples Stadium, Nov. 14.


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Steelers organization helps provide Thanksgiving meals to families

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THE GREATER PITTSBURGH FOOD BANK AND THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS teamed up for a Thanksgiving meal distribution to 200 hundred families at the former Shop ‘n Save location on Centre Avenue in the Hill District, Nov. 17. Pictured in the photo at top right are LaShawn Youngblood and Phylliss Johnson. Pictured in the photo at bottom right is Blayre Holmes Davis, with the Steelers. (Photos by Courier photographer J.L. Martello)


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Student loan debt widens racial wealth gap by Stacy M. Brown, For New Pittsburgh Courier

(NNPA)—President-elect Joe Biden wants to immediately erase student loan debt, a move that could prove more meaningful for African American students who, on average, owe much more than anyone. With the freeze placed on student loan repayments set to end December 31, Biden has gotten behind the Democrat-led House’s HEROES Act, which calls on the federal government to pay off up to $10,000 in private, nonfederal student loans for economically distressed borrowers. “People having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent … debt relief should be done immediately,” Biden stated during a news conference on Monday, November 16. NPR reported that Senate Democrats also are pushing  for much more debt relief.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) co-authored  a resolution in September  with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calling for the next president to cancel up to $50,000 of outstanding federal student loans per borrower.  According to data from the U.S. College Board, that would mean erasing all debt for more than three-quarters of borrowers. Andrew Pentis, the student loan debt policy expert at Student Loan Hero, pointed to an analysis published by his company, which shows student loan portfolios now total $1.67 trillion. Further, the data shows that debt distri-

bution is more massive among borrowers of color, particularly Black students. Nearly 9 in 10 Black students take out federal student loans to pay for college, compared with 7 in 10 White students. African American students are far more likely to have large student debt than their White, Hispanic or Asian classmates, with 59.5 percent of African American students borrowing more than $29,500. Pentis noted that the Black borrowers are more than twice as likely as White borrowers to default on their student loans, which he said is a by-product of a U.S. median household income that’s about $25,000 less for Black families than Whites. The end of the federal loan moratorium would disproportionately impact Black and brown borrowers, Pentis warned. “Student loans have long been seen as a tool to make the wealth gap in this country better,” Pentis said.  “We are seeing that those loans are actually making the racial wealth gap worse because the loans become a burden on families that are already disadvantaged in terms of having a lower household income, having a lower net worth, and student loans can be a hindrance for families trying to achieve financial goals like buying a house instead of helping those families sort of climb the social ladder and increase their financial wherewithal.” Student Loan Hero’s student loan debt analysis also revealed that large amounts of debt could act as a roadblock to completing college on time. Data showed that while 42.6 percent of students in the Class of 2017 graduated

“PEOPLE HAVING TO MAKE CHOICES between paying their student loan and paying the rent … debt relief should be done immediately,” Joe Biden stated during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 16. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA) in four years or less. However, that number drops to 28.8 percent among Black students and 29.7 percent among Hispanic students. For White and Asian students, Student Loan Hero said the rates were higher than average at 46.7 percent and 48.5 percent, respectively. Conversely, more Black students—40.7 percent—took over six years to graduate college, compared with 35.2 percent for Hispanic students, 25.3 percent for White students, and 19.7 percent for Asian students.

“It’s proven that earning degrees allows students to earn more income,” Pentis remarked. “So, if you have students not able to graduate, they’re carrying debt into careers that may not be able to pay for it. Black students are borrowing at higher amounts because of the racial wealth gap in this country.  “Typically, White and Hispanic students might borrow at relatively high rates, but they’re not borrowing as much.”

Black-owned greeting card brand now offers in-store pickup at Walgreens November 2020, Atlanta, GA—Culture Greetings, a woman-led and Black-owned greeting card company, announces the launch of a new print-to-store integration

partnership with Walgreens. Through the technology integration with the Walgreens Photo Prints and Store Locator APIs, in addition to the Culture Greet-

ings’ mail-to-recipient delivery option, customers will now have the choice to pick up their customized printed greeting cards in any of the 9,277 Walgreens or Duane

CULTURE GREETINGS COMPANY FOUNDER DR. DIONNE MAHAFFEY

Reed locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “The launching of this new partnership and integration reflects a significant first for the Walgreens API team,” said Andrew Schweinfurth, Manager, Walgreens Developer Relations. “As we welcome Culture Greetings and founder Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, we acknowledge that she is the first African American female founder to join the platform.” Founded in 2018, Culture Greetings offers more than 2000 greeting cards featuring imagery centered around and elevating the Black and Brown communities’ voices. Card options span all mainstream and cultural holidays and occasions, life milestones, social justice, LGBTQ+, and photo-card templates for customized

personal greetings. “We are excited be a part of the Walgreens Developer Program,” explains Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, Culture Greetings founder. “As we approach our two-year anniversary, this new integration marks a significant milestone for us, expanding the greeting card aisle, bringing more inclusive options and providing customers with the instant gratification of picking up their customized card within minutes of creating it.” Culture Greetings will continue to offer their flagship delivery method of mailing cards directly to the customer’s recipient. On the website, customers can choose a greeting card, write a personal note using handwriting fonts that mirror real penmanship and click “send,”

which cues their state-of-theart printing press. Gift cards from Target, Amazon, iTunes and other brands can also be included in the mailing. The company then prints and mails the card directly to the recipient’s address the following business day, saving customers a trip to the store. Culture Greetings is a Black-owned greeting card brand. Customers pick a card online and write a note inside using handwriting fonts that mirror real penmanship. Through innovative technology, Culture Greetings will print, stamp and mail the cards directly to the recipient. The platform now offers same-day pickup in partnership with Walgreens in-store photo prints. For more information visit:  https://CultureGreetings.com

An attitude of gratitude leads to happiness Thanksgiving is upon us. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest and other blessings of the past year. The dictionary defines thanksgiving as an expression of gratitude, especially to God. Growing up, our family had a tradition during Thanksgiving. We would all stand around the dinner table holding hands. Someone would bless the food. Then we’d go around the table one by one, each of us expressing what we’re grateful for. It was like a broken record. Each year you can predict what everyone would say. Usually everyone said the same thing. I’m grateful for my family, good health, and my home. Some would include jobs and cars. But all would say family, good health and home. I’ve carried on the tradition. I listen to my children echo the same sentiments, I’m grateful for my family, good health, and my home. I’m sure your family has a similar tradition. To be grateful for something is to appreciate it and not take it for granted. To appreciate something is to value it. Things you value put a smile on your face. It makes you feel good when you’re around it. It makes you happy. You’d think that if we had family, good health, and the basic necessities of life including food, clothing, shelter and transportation, we’d be happy. I can hear Mary J. Blige’s voice in my mind as I write this article, “All I really want is to be happy”. I think that pretty much sums it up for all of us. At the end of the day we just want to be happy! Nonetheless, most of us are anything but happy. We have fleeting moments of happiness. But, by and large, day by day, we move about briskly, hustling and bustling, frustrated and overwhelmed,

wondering why happiness missed us. There appears to be a void in our life. So we seek to fill the void with things, stuff, clothes, gadgets, entertainment, boyfriends, girlfriends, babies, money, drugs, sex, alcohol, vacation, cars, and houses— thinking an accumulation of these things would surely bring us happiness. We accumulate these things. In the beginning we’re pumped, joyous and upbeat. We’re happy go lucky! Inspired! We’re filled with vigor! We’re in a state of ecstasy! Sooner or later the high from the drugs wears off. The intoxication of the alcohol runs its course. The boyfriend or girlfriend begins to nag. The baby starts to cry. The money proves itself to be finite. The entertainment becomes redundant. The cars and houses require upkeep. The gadgets become outdated. The clothes are worn and torn. The honeymoon phase is over. Here we stand again grappling with the question, why did happiness miss us? I’m a natural optimist. I seek to see the good in things before I see the bad. Very seldom, you’ll find me down, drained and miserable. I live by these words. God gave me breath and good health. The rest is on me. I have my “woe is me” moments. When I do, it’s generally the result of constant negative thoughts. I’m reflecting on things that frustrate me. Things I don’t have. Things that haven’t met my expectations. Things that I thought I’d have accomplished by

now. Things I thought others would do but they didn’t do it. I have friendships with people who are naturally pessimistic. They see everything from a negative viewpoint. They can’t see the positive things going on right in front of them because they’re always focusing on the things that are going bad. Then there’s my Uncle Art. He’s the happiest man I know. He lives an ordinary life. Every time I see him, he’s smiling and joking. He’s fun to be around. He’s a family man who loves and enjoys spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and other family members and friends. If there’s a family cookout, you can bank on Uncle Art being there. He doesn’t want anything. He never asks for anything. He is always willing to assist and help others. He recently retired after working over 40 years at a local hospital. He worked the same job for 40 years. He’s been married to my maternal aunt for over 40 years. They’ve lived in their current home for a little over 30 years. My uncle loves cars. When he buys his cars, he buys them slightly used. He keeps them for about 10-13 years. This guy has had only about 3, maybe 4 cars that I can remember. He loves playing pool. He has a pool table at his home. He taught me how to shoot pool on this same pool table when I was 7 years old. What makes my Uncle Art the happiest

man I know? He truly has an attitude of gratitude. He values and appreciates everything that he has worked hard to obtain. He’s not chasing stuff. He’s content with what he has. He values his relationship with people. He values his time with his family and friends. He doesn’t just utter the words I’m grateful for family, good health, and my home. He lives these words with his actions in the moment—EVERYDAY! Our lack of happiness can be attributed to our lack of being grateful for the things that we have. We spend so much time wishing for more and chasing more, we never allow ourselves to fully absorb and appreciate the good that we have right now. There’s a high probability that you’re better off today than you were 10 years ago. Are you grateful? Do you sit back and look at how far you’ve come? Do live in the moment or are you always fantasizing about how life should be? Are you spending quality time with the people you claim to be grateful for? That void that you’re trying to fill is the absence of gratitude. Never stop working for what you want but always be grateful for what you have. For if you don’t learn to be grateful for what you have, you’ll one day be forced to miss what you had. Thank You Rod Doss and The Courier staff for editing and publishing my articles!! Thank you for reading my column! May your Thanksgiving and every day of your life be filled with Gratitude! It will lead to happiness! Happy Thanksgiving!! (Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website @ www.damonmoneycoach.com)


B2 NOVEMBER 25-DECEMBER 1, 2020

BUSINESS

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER

Want a better ROI? Get your Diversity, Inclusion team certified THE ATLANTA TRIBUNE—Diversity and Inclusion work is also becoming more complex for employers who operate in multiple states or abroad. For example, New York recently passed a law requiring annual, interactive sexual harassment training; California is on the verge of mandating at least one woman to serve on company boards, and more than 11 states currently ban applicant salary history questions. Beyond legislation, companies that operate overseas must navigate through cultural nuances that can make or break partnerships or other business opportunities. As a “newbie” navigator, Nicole L. Johnson is on a crusade to make a difference in the workplace. She currently serves as a guide for new Diversity Leaders, or organizations who are new to equity and inclusion, in an effort to help them transition through the stages of culture change. Johnson says, “The function of Inclusion and Diversity has evolved significantly over the last 30+ years. We are seeing organizations in a variety of industries, from government and nonprofit to education and corporate put this role into place. As a result, the demand for experienced, knowledgeable, and capable professionals to lead these departments has exploded.” The Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC)® has also witnessed this explosion. IDC is the credentialing arm of the Society for Diversity, the #1 professional association for Equity and Inclusion leaders. Since IDC was formed nearly 10 years ago, the organization has seen a steady increase in Diversity Certification candidates. Similar to other credentialing programs, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) certification is an external verification process that assures an employer that leaders have the right mix of knowledge, skills, and experience to impact the workplace. The process helps top companies

answer strategic questions such as: – How can we better align our organizational culture with our brand? – How can we prepare for the future workplace and marketplace? – In which markets will we play? How do we customize our products/services to appeal to different markets? – What’s the best way to capitalize on demographic and industry changes? Diversity and Inclusion work is also becoming more complex for employers who operate in multiple states or abroad. For example, New York recently passed a law requiring annual, interactive sexual harassment training; California is on the verge of mandating at least one woman to serve on company boards, and more than 11 states currently ban applicant salary history questions. Beyond legislation, companies that operate overseas must navigate through cultural nuances that can make or break partnerships or other business opportunities. In a world where advanced education and specialized skills reign, IDC establishes a global

framework for recognizing knowledgeable and highly skilled professionals. However, some employers have begun to step outside the traditional framework of certifying one Executive toward ensuring that multiple employees within the organization have credentials as a Diversity leader regardless of title. Leah Smiley, workplace inclusion expert, and IDC President says, “Extending the work beyond the Office of Diversity is important. Some companies learned this the hard way because their Diversity Officer terminated, and the momentum for equity and belonging stalled. Alternatively, a few employers successfully galvanized enterprise-wide support for diversity and inclusion through cross-functional collaboration.” A key component of IDC’s certification program is the acknowledgment that Diversity and Inclusion work has changed. It is no longer driven by Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, Political Correctness, race relations, or the right thing to do. It is a business strategy that can help organizations make money, save money, and/

or achieve organizational goals. Diversity leaders learn how to customize the business case and apply industry best practices in order to achieve expected outcomes. Smiley adds, “IDC updates its curriculum every two years to account for changes in terminology, the latest research, new legislation, and other advancements. It is a huge effort, but it pays off through the work of our designees.” Of the individuals who finish the certification program, 90 percent report that they feel more productive and effective. Almost 50 percent reported that they successfully introduced a new initiative such as a supplier diversity program, business resource group, training, etc. Half reported that they received more support from senior leadership, built better relationships with internal/external peers, hired new support staff, obtained a promotion or new job, or received a salary increase after completing the program. More than two-thirds of participants said after completing the program, their organizations increased their commitment to in-

clusion– financially and otherwise. IDC’s successes have resulted in industry recognition of the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP)® and Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)® as qualification credentials for effective Diversity and Inclusion work. The role of a D&I leader is the most challenging in any organization, as noted in Johnson’s recent article, “D&I Leaders Wear Many Many Many Hats.” As a former chief diversity officer for several Fortune 500 companies and IDC’s Board Chair, Johnson says, “There are hundreds of professions that have accredited certifications such as IT, Engineers, Occupational Therapists and more. These professions recognized that accredited certification was necessary in order to maintain a high caliber of individuals in the profession. This is accomplished by requiring those professionals to demonstrate a sufficient level of knowledge and competency about the various elements of their work. In many cases, employers require that a job candidate have a certification from an accredited institution. As such, the lev-

el of importance and value of these roles should be on par with their peers.” Johnson adds, “Accreditation ensures that designations like the CDP and CDE are based on a rigorous, well researched, legally defensible exam. Obtaining a certification from an accredited organization elevates the value of one’s certification for employers. It also ensures that those who aspire to be D&I leaders are able to demonstrate the knowledge required to perform effectively in their roles.” Smiley is confident that the industry will continue to grow, both in the U.S. and abroad. IDC has thousands of candidates in 35+ states, as well as in Germany, Japan, Poland, Canada, and India. She says, “In recent months, I’ve been contacted by people in the U.K., France, Mexico, Brazil, China, Nigeria, and other markets about the need for IDC to help more global employers explore the value of a comprehensive equity and inclusion strategy. Indeed, forward-thinking companies will experience the best ROI.”

(This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Tribune.)

Despite apology from Wells Fargo CEO, African Americans still face ‘uphill battle’ for respect by Kaylan Ware for New Pittsburgh Courier

(TriceEdneyWire. com)—On September 23, Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf apologized in a letter to his employees for comments made in a June 16 memo titled “Our commitment to change.” “While it might sound like an excuse, the un-

fortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from with this specific experience,” Scharf said in the June 16 memo. He also repeated this sentiment during a company Zoom meeting. In the same memo, Scharf proposed to double the number of Black senior

leaders by 2025. Former President of the National Bankers Association Michael Grant acknowledges the systemic racism that influences this lack of diversity and attention to diverse talent in the financial services industry. “I think that African Americans have a very difficult uphill battle to try to be respected and to be placed in positions from which we are qualified,” Grant said. “When I read the statement from [Scharf], I knew right away where that was coming from. When these folks talk about ‘They can’t find qualified candidates,’ what they’re really telling you is that they haven’t looked very hard. Because if you look hard enough, you have qualified African Americans in every industry all over this country.” Scharf ’s statement came in the midst of heightened racial tension and tragedy following multiple police killings and acts of brutality against Black people. “I apologize for making an insensitive comment reflecting my own conscious bias,” Scharf wrote in a letter to employees. “There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise.”

This incident also provoked responses from U.S. lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). “Wells Fargo is badly broken in multiple ways and that starts at the top,” Warren said to Business Insider. “Its CEO has an unfathomable blind spot about how and why this giant bank fails to hire, promote and fairly compensate Black talent—and continues to be a core part of a financial system that scams Black families disproportionately and duels structural racism in our economy and our society.” Scharf ’s September 2019 appointment came during a time of necessary image repair as the company’s reputation has been tarnished by scandals of fraudulent accounts, discrimination and overcharging. He dedicated this apology to reinforcing the company’s commitment to improve diversity and inclusion. His letter listed efforts including reaching out to diverse talent, anti-racism training courses, senior leader accountability, executive compensation, and he expanded on how each of these would be achieved. “Six months from today, let’s see what actually is produced,” Grant said. “You know, oftentimes,

folks talk about what they’re going to do, what they’re going to institute —this policy or they’re going to do that practice. We should take a wait and see attitude about any of these folks’ promises. I’m not interested in what [Scharf] says, I’m interested in what he does.” Scharf reflected on the changes Wells Fargo has made in an effort to increase diversity. The company hired Lester Owens as head of Operations, a new position responsible for building a more unified, integrated approach to Wells Fargo’s business operations functions. Owens is one of four Black faces Scharf mentioned that the company recently hired or promoted internally. In light of recent events, banks and financial institutions are increasingly being confronted for their lack of diversity on every level. “Wells Fargo is not the only culprit here,” Grant said. “This is a problem that permeates financial institutions. It permeates Wall Street. Wells Fargo is the face of that behavior, but it’s not the only actor.” From 2015-2018, race and ethnicity trends of financial institution employees showed little movement. White employees made up approximately 60 percent

of the workforce during this four year period, according to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. “This country is big enough, and rich enough, and should be intelligent enough to embrace diversity as a cause for celebration,” Grant said. “Diversity makes America work. It is what caused this country to be unique throughout the history of the world—E pluribus Unum.” Scharf acknowledged that the financial services industry has not taken serious measures to improve diversity at all levels, especially senior leadership. His proposal to tie executive compensation to company diversity encourages senior leaders to actively work on increasing representation and inclusion. “[Financial institutions] still seem to be more attuned to the good old boys network than they are into opening the doors of opportunity for Blacks and Hispanics and women, and others who have been historically left out,” Grant said. “To embrace diversity is a pull for creativity. The more you get different types of backgrounds and life experiences in your organization, the more perspective you’ll have for the needs of the customers.”


OPINION

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER

NOVEMBER 25-DECEMBER 1, 2020

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What more can we expect?

Guest Commentary

Next steps for the Black community Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have emerged victorious from the November 3rd elections, but the smoke has not yet cleared. The elections had record-breaking turnouts, and a lot of people were caught off guard by the squeaker that resulted. Many folks expected a landslide victory for Biden against Donald Trump, although it was also anticipated that Trump would not go quietly into the sunset. At press time, there were at least seven (7) lawsuits filed by the Trump administration challenging the election results. One of the things that emerged from the greater participation by members of the Black community in the voting process is the gripe that Black people keep giving the Democratic Party support and get nothing in return. Though the timing was dangerous, a lot of folks threatened to withhold their votes from the Biden/Harris team because of this state of affairs. It’s interesting that there was no talk about what the Republicans had offered Blacks, even though the threat of voting “down ballot” could have resulted in a benefit for that party. Here we are in the present, faced with a whole new situation. With record numbers of new voters, we have the chance to develop a real agenda and take that to the new administration for buy–in. The key is that we need to know what to request! It is time to develop a real agenda and coalesce around it. In the past, it was apparent that we did not hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire. We constantly complain about what we don’t get from them, but we relax once they get into office, and they forget, and we forget about ensuring that there is follow-through. The truth is that we have not fully participated in the political process. This is because people always said that the party didn’t do anything for Black people. Now we have the opportunity to make sure that this scenario changes; we can envision what we want, organize around it and put it into a cogent format, present it and remain involved by monitoring the process. With this said, what are some of the things that the Black community should include in an agenda? Rudimentary plans already exist. This might be a time for reaching out to Ice Cube for the possibility of including elements of his “Platinum Plan.” In addition, there are others who have crafted plans that offer viable options for inclusion in a “Black Agenda.” The issue is not a shortage of agenda items, actually, but it is the reluctance of Black people to work together that is the real problem. The following are initial suggestions. Convene a National Black Confab; invite representatives from across America, and proceed as though it is a Black National Congress. Let representatives caucus and develop items that will be submitted for a vote. The items that garner the most votes should be ratified, and the finished product should be presented to the Biden administration for implementation. We must do this with an understanding that the Black community has LEVERAGE; it is seriously doubted that the Democrats would have won the election if it had not been for the Black vote. With that said, the following are some of the items that should be included in a National Black Agenda. Reparations, with the format having been crafted during the Confab; criminal justice reform, with a consideration of elevating the role of rehabilitation and perhaps involving the business community to provide opportunities for ex-felons; and true education reform that offers new funding formulas that are not tied to property taxes in an attempt to begin leveling the education playing field. A state resourced funding model might be considered. Reduced or waived college tuition should be included, as should a universal health care model; a realistic jobs program should be created, as well as any other items envisioned by the Confab. Essentially, the Confab should present items with a consensus developed around them. Admittedly, this is easier said than done, especially since there are competing priorities in the Black community. ADOS, for example, might be on a different page. The bottom line, though, is that if we don’t unify around an agenda, we won’t get one implemented. (Reprinted from the Chicago Crusader)

Founded 1910

Rod Doss Editor & Publisher Stephan A. Broadus Assistant to the Publisher Allison Palm

Rob Taylor Jr.

Jeff Marion

Office Manager

Managing Editor

Circulation Consultant

John. H. Sengstacke

Editor & Publisher Emeritus (1912-1997)

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—As I write today, our nation has reached significant milestones, which in their differences are connected. We’ve experienced the loss of a QUARTER OF A MILLION Americans to COVID-19. We’ve moved toward a total infection rate of 12 million. This upswing in the disease has overburdened and threatens to break our healthcare system. Under the weight of COVID, many hospitals are unable to provide for “routine” care, including accidents and emergencies. These facts often leave the level of stress upon our nation’s healthcare providers ignored and under-reported. Consolation for those facts rests in the report that Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceuticals are ready to request emergency use for vaccines with 95 percent claimed effectiveness in laboratory tests. That good news poses the challenge of developing a viable plan for production, distribution, and the administration of the vaccine to over 330 million people. Forthcoming vaccines cannot ease the pain of loss, but there is some emotional relief for potential protection against this deadly menace. Concurrent with the clinical impact of COVID, the nation teeters on the edge of disease-related economic devastation. The disease has created major impacts on workers and essential businesses in almost every sector of our economy. Reduced demand for travel services (air, rail, hotel, etc.) have sidelined equipment and personnel in a limbo of undetermined duration and depth. Our restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit by closures ordered for the cause of reasonable health practices. Economic uncertainties

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

Commentary created by the disease generally reduce demand for all goods and services and the personnel required to support production, sales, and delivery. Excluding the wealthy or those with specialized technologically essential skills, COVID has had an unquestionably negative economic impact on millions of citizens. I’m struck by the insufficient emphasis placed on COVID’s impact on education. While school infection rates and clinical safety protocols are debated, funds to refit schools and protect teachers are on-pause. As a result, many school districts are faced with the question of whether to start, close or re-start in-person teaching. For most, these stop-again, start-again options construct a learning foundation which can only be described as uncertain. Overreaching all these facts is the outcome of a national election, contested only in the mind of “THE LOSER” and the actions of those who give him their nominal support. And this brings me to my starting point for the week. I hold certain that at Noon on January 20, 2021, we will celebrate a new President and Administration. I’m also certain that a significant portion of the 74 million voters for “THE LOSER” will

deliver non-stop resistance to President Biden. Observations of the Obama Administration inform me that Mitch McConnell, orchestrator of opposition, will remain as an obstructionist against President Biden. With political philosophies complimentary to the dictator he serves, McConnell has 1.   Loaded Federal Courts with (many unqualified) Conservative appointees 2.   Stolen two SCOTUS nominations I. Withheld Senate action for 6+ months on a Stimulus (Economic Relief) Package submitted by the House of Representatives I. Emphasized policies beneficial to the wealthy and demonstrated little or no concern for the welfare of the ordinary citizen Removal of McConnell as Senate Majority Leader is the only viable change required for the accomplishment of progressive aims of the new administration. WE CAN: I. Support Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s Georgia Senate run-off elections II. Donate to their campaigns III. Encourage every eligible Georgian to register and vote IV. If a Georgia resident, VOTE!!! Remember, voter registration deadline for the January run-off is December 7th. Voting in this run-off is more important than you think. It transcends where we live. Our opponents know this, and WE MUST SHOW THAT WE KNOW THIS, TOO!

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women.)

Thanksgiving 2020: Grateful for new hope and new direction in our nation (TriceEdneyWire.com)—This hasn’t been a normal year, and it isn’t going to be a normal Thanksgiving. Instead of looking forward to family and feasting, many of us are listening to health officials begging us to avoid large gatherings, and we’re weighing the risks against our deeply felt desire to be with our loved ones. Let’s be honest. 2020 has been a brutal year. Many are grieving the loss of loved ones. Many have lost jobs and businesses and the security they bring our families. Students and educators have had to learn and teach in new ways. Some struggle with isolation and others with forced confinement in uncomfortable or unsafe situations. On top of that, we have all been let down by our national leaders, especially a president who played politics with public health—and is now trying to undermine whatever faith Americans still share in our democracy. And still, Thanksgiving is here. My faith encourages us to try to be thankful in all things. I think that may be most important during the hardest times in our lives. During a year like this one, I appreciate the wisdom of our having a national tradition of pausing to count our blessings no matter what else is happening. Thanksgiving means family to me. I’m thinking about my 104-year-old grand-

Ben Jealous

Commentary mother, who has given thanks through periods of war, civil strife, and economic devastation. I’m grateful for the lessons her life teaches me about commitment, calm, courage, and perseverance. I am also thinking about my children, and my gratitude that this election gives me hope for their future. It renews my faith that together we can create a country that will give them every opportunity to follow their dreams. Thanksgiving and nationalism can be mixed in unhealthy ways. Yet this year, I feel a special patriotic gratitude to live in a country where we are free to choose our leaders. And I’m proud that Black people showed once again that we can shape our future by pushing back against the corruption and unprincipled power plays and institutionalized racism that are used to try to keep us from participating fully in our democracy. I am grateful for the multiracial, mul-

tigenerational social justice movement that has been brought into being to challenge unjust policing. I’m grateful for all the young people who made their first run for public office. And I am especially grateful for leaders and organizers who use their God-given talents and their hard-won skills and experience to organize, motivate, and mobilize our people—leaders like Stacey Abrams and so many others who worked to bring change to their cities and states— and our country. Of course, there’s more to do. We have important Senate elections coming up in Georgia. And next year, we’ll make many demands on local, state, and national officials to address the issues that affect our lives and our future. For now, let us be grateful for new hope and new direction in our nation, and for everyone who has given of themselves to help our neighbors and strengthen our communities. And after we pause to give thanks for our freedom and our accomplishments, let’s resolve to be, in the words of the great gospel song, “in no ways tired” of seeking justice and creating positive change. Then we’ll have even more to be grateful for next Thanksgiving.

(Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation.)

No time to rest Now that the 2020 election is over, people have been celebrating in the streets across America. But as we survey the rubble that is left of an America battered by the last four years under a Trump administration, we see there is a lot of work to be done.  Children are still in cages along our southern borders. Police murders of innocent people of color are still rampant. Conservative politicians refusing to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic and yelling “My body, my choice,” are prepared to imprison any woman who exercises her reproductive rights over her own body.  America is in a dangerous place. Donald Trump has emboldened and encouraged the inner demons of White supremacists to act out their hatred toward anyone they consider to be an “other.” The vast majority of White, self-proclaimed Christian evangelists have abandoned any pretense of human decency and make it clear that brotherly love and Christian charity are not meant for people of color.  White middle-class Americans, coded as “suburban moms,” have demonstrated by a majority of their votes that they are willing to accept the brand of raw racism that Trump represents. This, while engaging in “woke performances” to make an outward show of believing in human decency towards all.  Joe Biden’s election has not bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. It has merely flattened it back to its previous course of injustice. Joe has a history of making common cause with

Oscar H. Blayton

Commentary racial conservatives, many of whom were segregationists. And we should not wait to see if his words of equality are turned into dust by his actions. Instead, we must stay on the move and continue to push, and push hard, for our own freedoms. Yes, communities of color are exhausted. It is understandable why we are tired. We barely eked out a win after a bruising political battle with a hateful and determined segment of this country that pins its rising quality of life on our oppression. Now we want to take a break from this constant struggle, sit back and feel good about what we have accomplished so far. But this is no time to rest.  For us to rest now would be as disastrously careless as an athletic team celebrating its stellar performance during the first period of play and then not showing up for the remainder of the game. We must be mindful of the history of our continued struggle. In the 1960s, the civil rights agenda was being pushed forward and the sense of accomplishment in the Black community was

exhilarating. But although we celebrated the progress we had made at the time, we knew that the goal of universal equality had not been achieved, and we fought on. The struggle must continue because victory has not yet been won.  We have more people of color in elected office than ever before. But now that they are in office, we cannot sit back and wait for them to deliver. We must ask them, “What can we do to help you deliver for us?”  We must partner with the people we put in office. One of the persistent complaints voiced by Black elected officials is that when they sit in their city council or school board meetings, seldom do they see the people who put them there. This is a problem on the local, state and federal levels of government. It is difficult to make a convincing argument on behalf of people who do not bother to show up in support of their own demands. And it is particularly difficult when other elected officials, who are not interested in our welfare, must be moved to support our interests. Winning an election is never anything more than a beginning—a first step on a long journey towards achieving a goal. So, sure, stop and take a deep breath. Stretch your political muscles and loosen them up. Straighten your back and strengthen your resolve. And then take the next steps towards making this country and this world what we want it to be.  (Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.)


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Distortions, VIP: Versions of Identity distractions Politics featuring the VP-elect and delusions (TriceEdneyWire.com)—The right Reverend Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King’s church, is running for the United States Senate from Georgia. Warnock is a man of God, a humble man, with one of these both booming and melodious voices that pull us up from our feet and inspire choruses of “Amen,” “Tell it, brother,” and “No, you didn’t.”  Some of them will stand up and wave their handkerchiefs.  Others may sit quietly to take in his words. Warnock, who weaves his biblical reflections with a message of social justice, preaches in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Warnock also reminds me of Rev. William Barber, Rev. Freddy Haynes, and my own pastor, Rev. William Lamar of Metropolitan AME Church in DC.  These men don’t think the Bible is a book we should put on a shelf and cherry-pick.  Instead, they claim the Bible as a guide to Christian living and Christian obligation. Warnock and Jon Osoff are Democrats running in Georgia’s runoff election, and both are in tight races.  The rhetoric that has bandied about is laden with untruths.  These two races are so important that the candidates are expected to spend $150 million on them. Why? Because the current Senate composition is 50 Republicans and

Julianne Malveaux

Commentary 48 Democrats. If both Warnock and Osoff win their races, Democrats will control the Senate, with VP-elect Harris as the tie-breaker. Kelly Loffler, a multimillionaire Barbie look-alike who uses her hair as punctuation, seems to have had her Republican operatives comb through several of Warnock’s sermons.  Without evidence, she describes him as anti-police; anti-Israel; anti-Semitic (it is possible to be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic); anti-jobs (what Black pastor do you know who is anti-jobs); pro socialized medicine; pro-communist.  These words come directly from one of Loffler’s ads, most of which are out of context and amount to only incendiary lies. Indeed, her condemnations illustrate how out of step she is with many of the African Americans she hopes to represent and her insular reality and cultural disconnect.  She partly owns Atlanta’s Women’s National Basketball Association team but has been openly critical when the players on that team wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts.  She has said she thinks the Black Lives Matter movement has Marxist roots.  I don’t believe Loeffler knows a Marxist from a telephone pole. Republicans bandy about terms they believe will alienate voters.  To let them tell it, President-elect Joe Biden is a “socialist” (not), Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris is a “far-left liberal,” and Rev. Raphael is “pro-communist.” Joe Biden is about as moderate as they come. He has not yet said that he supports “Medicare for All,” but he supports protections for those with pre-existing conditions, just like 70 percent of all Americans do. VP-elect Harris has been so frequently mischaracterized that refuting baseless claims is futile.  Here is what we know— she is a savvy attorney who has increasing responsibility in the Democratic Party. She brings enthusiasm and energy (not to mention diversity) to the ticket.  The attempts to disparage her are at best mean-spirited and anti-Black (attack her on the issues, don’t call her a “monster”).   Warnock has described Loeffler’s attacks on him as “division and distraction.”  I might add “delusional” to the alliteration. Extracting a passage from a sermon in which Warnock reminded us that God comes first, Loeffler attempted to spin his sermon into an attack on the military. The Bible verse Warnock was quoting, Matthew 6:24, remind us that God comes first and should gain our allegiance above money or the military. This is basic Christian doctrine. Many of us believe in the omnipotence of God. Warnock did not attack the military; he asserted that our primary obligation is to God.   But words like “socialist” and “left-wing radical” are inflammatory terms, even if those who use them don’t know quite what they mean.  If feeding the hungry is socialist, then so was Jesus.  If clothing the naked is socialist, so is our Lord.  If healing the ill is a socialist initiative, then, of course, Raphael Warnock seems like a socialist to the woman who is worth at least $520 million and has all the health care she can afford. Warnock advocates for expanding the Affordable Care Act, a move anathema to conservatives who want to maximize the profit they can extract from sick people.  Rev. Raphael Warnock, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a Morehouse man. There is an adage—you can always tell a Morehouse man, but you can’t tell him much.  Warnock would like us to tell him that we have his back in a pivotal race that may determine how effective President-elect Biden can be.  Ignore the racist rhetoric and check out this powerful preacher and civic leader.  (Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist and author.)

In 2011, Kamala select a woman as J. Pharoah Doss Harris became a his running mate. triple first. The (At the time Biden first woman, the didn’t appear to be first African Amera serious threat to ican, and the first Trump or a comSouth Asian Amerpetent candidate. ican to be sworn No man with a in as California’s promising future in Attorney General. politics would have Those aren’t my joined the ticket. labels for Harris. That’s how Califor- And to avoid selecting a second-tier nia’s Department of Justice described running mate, the Biden campaign her on its website. Actually, Harris’ resorted to their own version of mother is Indian and her father is identity politics.) Biden’s last rival, Jamaican. Harris was elected to the Bernie Sanders, was asked if he U.S. Senate in 2016 and decided to would select a woman as a running seek the Democratic nomination for mate. Sanders said he wouldn’t limit president in 2020. However, as a the field, but if he selected a woman, presidential candidate, her personshe would have to be a progressive. al and professional identities were Then George Floyd was killed by attacked by different camps during the police and riots broke out across the primary. the country. Social justice groups The first camp acknowledged Harris and Black pundits said it was imas a woman of color, who identified perative that Biden select a Black with the “Black experience,” but since woman to be his running mate and Harris didn’t descend from Black Biden selected Kamala Harris. All American slaves, she wasn’t a repthe political pundits praised Biden’s resentative of what’s traditionally historic VP pick. Harris was the first known as the Black community. This African American/Jamaican/South camp stated they rejected identity Asian American/Indian on a major politics for agenda politics. Their party ticket for the vice-presidency. agenda (which had everything to do This time the Republicans attacked with identity) was reparations for Harris for her progressive senatorial slavery and they weren’t going to voting record. support Harris just because she was After the vice-presidential debate a woman of color. an interviewer asked Harris if she The second camp’s position was was the most progressive member of written in a magazine. It stated: Kathe Senate. Harris said, that’s what mala Harris has a prosecutorial prob- she’s accused of by her opponents, lem. The problem isn’t that Harris but Harris rejected the notion. was a bad prosecutor. The problem Biden won the presidency. is she chose to be a prosecutor in the Now the governor of California has first place. To become a prosecutor is to pick a replacement to serve the reto align oneself with a powerful and mainder of Harris’ Senate term. The fundamentally biased system. The governor is being pressured by three magazine implied Harris’ professionVIP’s. The Justice Democrats deal identity made her an enemy of all mand the appointment of a staunch marginalized groups. progressive. The CEO of the NationBoth camps displayed extreme al Association of Latino Elected and versions of identity politics, but Appointed Officials stated, California when Harris’ presidential campaign has never had a Latino or Latina repflopped, she quickly resorted to her resenting the state in the U.S. Senate own version of identity politics, and and it’s long overdue. Black Lives stated America still can’t accept a Matter launched a petition demandwoman of color running for president. ing the governor to appoint a Black Then Harris joined the VIP chorus woman. BLM said it was “nonnegothat chastised the Democratic Party tiable”—the Senate seat rightfully for reneging on its commitment to belongs to a Black woman. diversity. The remaining White canOne columnist asked, “In today’s didates were diverse in age, gender, Democratic Party, can you tell BLM sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith, no?” and political experience, but that I guess we’ll see how the governor type of diversity didn’t matter. plays his own version of identity Before Joe Biden won the Democrat- politics. ic primary, he announced he would

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Republican claims of election fraud are wrong and hypocritical I did not expect of the presidenSen. Jay Costa Jr. President Donald tial race; however, Trump to take his it was the same loss gracefully, but ballots that elected I have to admit I them that carried did not expect to Joe Biden to victosee my Republican ry. They are calling colleagues in the the process fair in General Assembly legislative races run to his aid and but questionable make bad-faith in the presidential. allegations about our election. At best, they do not see the inconPennsylvania ran a methodical, sistency here, but at worst, they are secure and accurate election and I pushing a stunning degree of hypoccannot stand by while Republicans risy at the behest of Donald Trump. seek to undermine our most importTheir outgoing leader has also ant democratic process. tweeted incessantly criticizing Our top election official, Secretary mail-in ballots and attempting to of State Kathy Boockvar, providdiscredit them based on the length ed ongoing guidance to voters and of time it took to count. And even counties on how to guarantee that while the Pennsylvania GOP goes our races were run smoothly and along with that baseless argument, determined fairly. Her leadership the blame for the delay in counting was so effective that only 1 percent rests squarely on the shoulders of of mail-in ballots arrived “naked,” Republican legislators. an issue we expected could have led The House and Senate Democrats to mass disqualifications of ballots. urged for pre-canvassing legislaThe county elections offices across tion to pass the General Assembly, this Commonwealth worked tirebut Republicans held it up. The lessly for weeks to ensure that the secretary of state and the governor general election was carried out asked for pre-canvassing legislation. in accordance with state law and County election officers and county that the results were timely and executives pleaded with Republican accurate. Their processes have been legislators to allow them to pre-cantransparent and designed to prevent vass. Republican legislators ignored fraud or misdeed of any kind. And all of these calls. They knew it while Republicans suggest somemeant that ballots would be counted thing improper happened on Nov. 3, a few days later than other states they haven’t provided any evidence and lead to uncertainty and confuor proof, or the slightest degree of sion. specificity in what they are alleging. They created the confusion they They are parroting the untruths are now calling suspicious. They are sent to them from the White House. claiming victory in elections they But beyond the dishonesty in the say we shouldn’t trust. They are GOP claims, there is also gross sowing discord for political reasons, hypocrisy. and their efforts undermine democFifteen Senate Republicans won racy. We cannot allow this inaccuin this year’s general election. They rate narrative to take hold. have all claimed victory before the Our processes work; our public serresults were certified, but now their vants are trustworthy; our election first order of business is to discredit was secure. To suggest otherwise is the execution of the election. They undemocratic and wrong. (Sen. Jay Costa Jr. is the Democratic leadare claiming there were irregularer in the Pennsylvania Senate.) ities and that they have questions about the credibility of the results

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Runoffs in Georgia offer a clear choice (TriceEdneyWire.com)—On Jan. 5, Georgia will hold a run-off election for both of its Senate seats. The races capture national attention because control of the Senate is at stake. If the two Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock both win, the Senate will be effectively split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. If one or both lose, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell will retain his ability to obstruct the incoming president. The races will be determined by whether Georgia’s voters choose to embrace and build a New South coalition or revert to the Old South. Georgia has been changing ever since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. The civil rights movement was anchored in Georgia, led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Julian Bond and John Lewis, historic leaders of that movement, also came from Atlanta. After the civil rights movement transformed our laws, Georgia began to change. Major businesses like CNN located in Atlanta, the city “too busy to hate.” Professional football and baseball teams could thrive, once their teams were integrated. Blacks and Whites played together in college sports like football, with fans divided by the color of the jerseys, not the color of the players’ skin. In recent years, Georgia has grown in population, in diversity and in sophistication. Blacks, Latinos and Asians grew in number. The college educated flocked to the Atlanta suburbs. This year, for the first time since 1992, a Democrat, Joe Biden, won the state in the presidential campaign, by a margin of less than 15,000 votes. Biden’s victory was a fusion victory. African American registration soared, in significant part due to the work of Stacy Abrams who most thought lost the 2018 governor’s race only because of brazen voter suppression. The young, single women, the college educated, Latinos all joined in Biden’s winning coalition. They had to brave long lines and overcome Georgia’s notorious efforts to suppress their votes. Over 4.9 million voted, a new record, with 4 million voting early. Now the choice facing Georgia is stark: between the sitting Republican senators peddling racial fears and yesterday and the Democratic challengers representing hope and tomorrow. Both Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are multimillionaires. (Loeffler is the wealthiest politician in Washington.) Both were caught moving large stock transactions in the wake of secret briefings on the pandemic. Both support Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Both oppose expanding Medicaid. Loeffler described herself in her ads as “to the right of Attila the Hun.” She touted her endorsement by Q-Anon believer running for the Congress. She was denounced as a “greedy insider” seeking to “profit off the pandemic” by her Republican opponent in the primaries. Loeffler is challenged by Reverend Raphael Warnock, the distinguished pastor at Dr. King’s famed Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He favors common sense in dealing with the pandemic, and bold action to put people back to work. He calls for defending the Affordable Care Act and its protections of pre-existing conditions and seeks to add a public option that will help lower prices and provide real choices. He’d vote to raise the minimum wage, to pass the rescue plan vital to workers in the pandemic, and to invest in rebuilding America. Millions will be poured into these two runoffs. Neither Perdue nor Loeffler is popular, so both will feature negative ads designed to drive up doubts about their opponents. Loeffler has already sunk a million dollars into two attack ads labeling Warnock as “anti-American” and part of the “radical left.” Perdue has charged his opponent, Jon Ossoff, with everything from being a socialist to being a pawn of the Chinese communists. They are following the playbook of Donald Trump: sow fear, feed racial divisions, and distract workers from the reality that they and the Republicans in the Senate stand in the way of making this economy work for working people. Or as Rev. Warnock summarized, “If you don’t really have an agenda for working families, I guess you have to distract working families.” Despite all the mud, Georgians will have a clear choice. Will they respond to those sowing fear or those raising hopes? Will they side with those seeking to divide us or those seeking to bring us together? Will they support those who would revert back to the Old South or those who would continue its progress into the New South? The vote on Jan. 5 will tell us much about Georgia, about the New South, and about America’s ability to deal with the crises we face.


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The wor under the proposed Agreement consists of a consultant to provide environmental-related consulting and other services for Authority for projects identi ed during the term of the Agreement, which includes, but is not limited to developing, updating and/or revising the environmental plans, policies and procedures manuals; completing environmental permit application pac ages; performing environmental compliance audits of Authority operating facilities; compliance sampling, studies and audits of water and wastewater; evaluation of the storage of hazardous materials; storage tan inspection to certify integrity; sampling to support disposal of hazardous substances, municipal, residual and hazardous waste; air quality emissions evaluations; or soil contamination remediation; all in accordance with requirements and regulations of various federal, state and local governmental regulatory agencies (Contract Services). The required contract services will be issued on a wor order basis as they are approved to proceed by Authority. The Agreement will be for a three (3) year period with the option to extend the term of the Agreement up to two (2) additional years at the sole discretion of Authority. A copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be available on or after November and can be obtained by registering at the Port Authority ebusiness website http://ebusiness.portauthority.org and following the directions listed on the website. Please note that Proposers must register under the ebusiness category(ies) of for this RFP. Proposers may also register in other categories for any future RFPs issued by Port Authority. If you have speci c questions regarding this RFP, please contact Catherine Terrill at 4 or via email cterrill@portauthority.org. An Information eeting for interested parties will be held at 9:30 a.m., prevailing time, via icrosoft Teams video conference and/or conference call to answer any questions regarding this RFP. • • •

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lectronic proposals must be both received, and time stamped by a representative of the Purchasing and aterials anagement Department through Authority’s business website at or before 2:00 p.m., prevailing time, , at http://ebusiness.portauthority.org. Proposals received or time stamped by a Purchasing and aterials anagement Department representative through Authority’s business website after the advertised time for the submission of proposals shall be non-responsive and therefore ineligible for award. ach Proposer shall be solely responsible for assuring that its proposal is timely received and time stamped in accordance with the requirements herein. This Contract Services may be funded, in part, by, and subject to certain requirements of, the County of Allegheny and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) of the .S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The proposal process and the performance of the requested services will be in accordance with guidelines and regulations of the FTA , FTA Circular 4220.1F, as amended, and all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Port Authority of Allegheny County, in compliance with , as amended, implements positive af rmative action procedures to ensure that all Disadvantaged Business nterprises have the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts and subcontracts nanced, in whole or in part, with federal funds, if any, provided under or for the proposed Agreement. In this regard, all recipients or contractors shall ta e all necessary and reasonable steps in accordance with 26, to ensure that have the maximum opportunity to compete for, and perform contracts and subcontracts for, the Contract Services. Port Authority of Allegheny County, in compliance with , as may be amended, also requires that certi ed Diverse Businesses, have the maximum opportunity to compete for, and perform contracts and subcontract for, the Contract Services. In this regard, all Proposers, and the Contractor, shall ma e good faith efforts, in accordance with 303, to ensure that DBs have the maximum opportunity to compete for, and perform contracts and subcontracts for, the Contract Services. Further, proposers and the Contractor shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, disability, national origin, sex, sexual origin, gender identity or status as a parent in the award and performance of contracts or subcontracts for these Contract Services Port Authority of Allegheny County reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. The Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (SEA) will receive proposals for David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) Structural ngineering Services, echanical/ lectrical/Plumbing ngineering Services and General Architectural Services at the SEA of ce as identi ed below. The contracts for this wor will be with the SEA. The Request for Proposals may be obtained after the date identi ed below from Bill Williams, email bwilliams@pgh-sea.com. This Advertisement applies to the following Request for Proposal: Project: DLCC Structural ngineering Services, echanical/ lectrical/ Plumbing ngineering Services and General Architectural Services RFP Available: Pre-Proposal Conference Call: oom eeting info on S A website Time/Date/Location for Proposal Submittal: lectronic Copy bwilliams@pgh-sea.com Delivered or ailed Copy to Sports xhibition Authority c/o Bill Williams 7 0th Street, Second Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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NOVEMBER 25-DECEMEBER 1, 2020

LEGAL ADVERTISING

LEGAL ADVERTISING

Bids/Proposals

Bids/Proposals

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER

SONNY BOY

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA November 16, 2020

in conjunction with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Contract Awards Room; 7th Floor; Commonwealth Keystone Building; 400 North Street; Harrisburg, PA 17120 will receive bids through ECMS or a diskette delivered to the aforementioned address until 11:00 A.M. prevailing local time, Bids will be opened through ECMS at approximately and can be viewed publicly in the Contract Awards Room, for the following: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS COUNTY PROJECT NO. 3229-0002 FEDERAL PROJECT NO. T111-161 MPMS NO.: 110648 THIS PROJECT WILL BE BID THROUGH PENNDOT ECMS As a prospective bidder, please note the following general Project data regarding: Pre Bid Information, Bidding Requirements, and Contract Conditions. See the Project Manual and Drawings for detailed information, responsibilities and instructions. PRE BID INFORMATION: View the Project Manual and Drawings on the website or in Room 04, County f ce Building, 4 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA . BIDDING REQUIREMENTS: THIS PROJECT REQUIRES PREQUALIFICATION OF BIDDERS, INCLUDING SUBCONTRACTORS, AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 102.01 OF COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPECIFICATIONS 2020-1 SUBMITTED THROUGH ECMS AND IF NEEDED ADDENDA WILL BE ISSUED ELECTRONICALLY. INSTRUCTION TO BIDDERS WILL BE PROVIDED IN THE PROPOSAL REPORT WHICH CAN BE VIEWED THROUGH ECMS. SUBMIT YOUR BID USING ECMS OR MAIL A DISKETTE TO THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, CONTRACT AWARDS ROOM. CONTRACT CONDITIONS: U.S. Department of Labor minimum salaries and wages apply to this Project. The County Manager reserves the right to reject any and all bids. The anticipated notice to proceed for this project is and the project is to be completed by The County of Allegheny, in accordance with the Davis Bacon Act and other Federal Labor Standards Provisions; -

, hereby noti es all bidders that it will af rmatively ensure that in any contract pursuant to this Advertisement, the County will afford disadvantaged business enterprises full opportunity to submit bids in response to this invitation and the County will not discriminate against disadvantaged business enterprises on the grounds of race, color, or national origin in consideration for an award. It is a condition of the bidding process/contract that responsive bidders/contractors shall follow the disadvantaged business enterprise procedures in the Bidding and Contracting Documents. CONTROLLER COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY Electronic Proposals will be received online at the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s Ebusiness website . Proposals/bid submittals will be due on and will be read at , the same day, at Port Authority’s Heinz location ( ), for the following: (

)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Bid Number B201084A B200972AR B201087A B201088 B201089A B201091A B201194A B201195

Bid Name Diesel Engine Oil Cummins ISB Engine Parts Bus Batteries LRV Mobile Column Lifts Processed Stone Deep Cleaning Disinfecting of Facilities Disinfectant/Cleaning Efficacy Testing & Reporting LRV Swivel Rings

No bidder may withdraw a submitted Proposal for a period of 75 days after the scheduled time for opening of the sealed bids. A Pre-Bid Conference will be held via tele-conference on each of the above items at Please contact the respective Contract Specialist for Tele-Conference dial-in information. Attendance at this meeting is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged. These contracts may be subject to a nancial assistance contract between Port Authority of Allegheny County and the United States Department of Transportation. The Contractor will be required to comply with all applicable Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations. -

Port Authority of Allegheny County hereby noti es all bidders that it will af rmatively insure that in regard to any contract entered into pursuant to this advertisement, disadvantaged business enterprise will be afforded full opportunity to submit bids in response to this invitation and will not be discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, or national origin in consideration for an award. The Board of Port Authority reserves the right to reject any or all bids.

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LEGAL ADVERTISING

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Legal Notices

Legal Notices

HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH HOMEWOOD NORTH SPRINKLER SYSTEM MODIFIFCATION, AMP-020 REBID HACP IFB NO. 600-24-20 REBID THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH will receive sealed bids for the Homewood North Sprin ler odi cations, AMP-20 The construction work is estimated to begin in . Bid Documents will be available on or about 2020 and may be obtained from the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s webpage, . Bidders may register on the website and download the bid documents free of charge. Electronic versions of the Bid Documents, including bid forms, project manual, and drawings can be picked up in person, from 8:30 at: Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh Development and Modernization Department 100 Ross Street, Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA Jose Solis, Project Manager 4 - 4 will be held on

: Homewood North, 0 Albertice St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 Bidders shall come prepared to review all aspects of the construction site necessary to prepare a bid. HACP Procurement Department 100 Ross Street, Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA Attn: Kim Detrick, Director of Procurement HACP will also accept online submissions for this Invitation for Bid in addition to accepting submissions at our 00 Ross Street of ce. For respondents wishing to submit online, please access the instructions provided in the project manual to submit the bid digitally. In addition to the electronic submittal above, The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh in the lobby of 100 Ross St. Pittsburgh, PA . Sealed bids may still be mailed via USPS at which time they will be Time and Date Stamped at 100 Ross Street 2nd Floor, Suite 00, Pittsburgh, PA . All bids must be received at the above address no later than ., regardless of the selected delivery mechanism. THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH reserves the right to waive any informality in, or reject any and all bids. No bid shall be withdrawn for a period of sixty days subsequent to the opening of bids without the consent of the HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH. The Contractor will be required to comply with all applicable Equal Employment Opportunity requirements for Federally Assisted Construction Contracts. The Contractor must ensure that employees and applicants for employment are not discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sexual preference, handicap or national origin. HACP has revised its website. As part of those revisions, vendors must now register and log-in, in order to view and download documentation. THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH STRONGLY ENCOURAGES CERTIFIED MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESS ENTERPRISES AND WOMAN-OWNED BUSINESS ENTERPRISES TO RESPOND TO THE SOLICITATION. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Kim Detrick, Director of Procurement at (412) 456-5116 Opt 1. r HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH

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CITY OF PITTSBURGH CARES ACT (CDBG-CV) FUNDING AND FY 2019 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN SUBSTANTIAL AMENDMENT As an entitlement community, the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (“City”) receives funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), HOME (HOME) Investment Partnerships Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. Through the March 27, 2020 passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, the City has also received CDBG-CV, ESG-CV, and HOPWA-CV allocations. The City will receive an additional round of Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds in the amount of $3,112,342. The purpose of this public hearing is to present substantial amendments to the City of Pittsburgh’s FY 2019 Annual Action Plan for the use of the FY 2020 CDBG-CV # 3 funds. To expedite the disbursement of the City’s 2020 CDBG-CV # 3 funds, via 24 CFR 5.110, the CARES Act authorizes HUD to grant waivers to the public notice, public comment, and citizen participation plan requirements found in 24 CFR 91.105I(2) and (k), 24 CFR 91.115I(2) and (i) and 24 CFR 91.401. In accordance with the City of Pittsburgh’s Citizen Participation Plan and HUD’s regulatory requirement waivers (which reduce the minimum 30-day public comment period to a 5-day period), a virtual public hearing will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 to provide an opportunity for comment on proposed Substantial Amendments to its 2019 Annual Action Plan. The public hearing virtual location will be posted at https://pittsburghpa.gov/omb/omb-public-notices. Please check our website at https://pittsburghpa.gov/omb/cd for more information. The funds allocated under the CARES Act may be used for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The proposed activities must meet one of the three National Objectives as required by CDBG regulation: • Benefit low-and moderate-income persons • Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, and • Meet an urgent need In addition, and for the purpose of an expedited use of the CDBG-CV funding, the bill eliminates the cap on the amount of funds a grantee can spend on public services, removes the requirement to hold in-person public hearings in order to comply with national and local social gather requirements, and allows grantees to be reimbursed for COVID-19 response activities regardless of the date the costs were incurred. The bill also allows grantees to apply the waiver of statutory regulations to 2019 and 2020 allocations. The City of Pittsburgh previously adopted its FY 2019 Annual Action Plan and Budgets for the use of CDBG funds. In accordance with CDBG program regulations, the City of Pittsburgh is allowed to make substantial amendments to its Annual Action Plan and Budgets in accordance with the City’s Citizen Participation Plan. The City has determined that it is necessary to amend the approved CDBG program budget for the previously approved program year for FY 2019. The funds will be reprogrammed from cancelled projects/activities to new projects/activities and/or increase funding for other previously approved projects/activities. These are considered substantial amendments in accordance with the City’s Citizen Participation Plan as the following applies: the scope, purpose, and location of the project activity have changed. The amendment to the FY 2019 Annual Action Plan is proposed as follows: CDBG-CV # 3 Activities: •Emergency Rental Assistance $2,000,000 •Bryn Mawr (East Hills) - HVAC System $250,000 •Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank $281,171 •Jewish Family and Children Services - Food Bank $281,171 •412 Food Rescue $300,000 Total: $3,112,342 Please be advised that effective Monday, November 30, 2020, a summary of the proposed Substantial Amendments to the City of Pittsburgh’s 2019 Annual Action Plan will be available for review and public comment on the City of Pittsburgh’s website https://pittsburghpa.gov/omb/omb-public-notices. The document will be on display on the City’s website from Monday, November 30, 2020 to Monday, December 7, 2020. To provide comments, please email community.development@pittsburghpa.gov. Written and verbal comments will be accepted no later than 4:00 p.m., Monday, December 7, 2020. Written comments may also be submitted to Whitney Finnstrom, Senior Manager, Office of Management and Budget, Community Development (OMB-CD), 200 Ross Street, Suite 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

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