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File #: 2020-0448    Version:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed Finally
File created: 6/23/2020 In control: Committee on Finance and Law
On agenda: 6/23/2020 Final action: 7/7/2020
Enactment date: 7/7/2020 Enactment #: 316
Effective date: 7/9/2020    
Title: Resolution Declaring that Black Pittsburgh Matters in the City of Pittsburgh.
Sponsors: Reverend Ricky V. Burgess, R. Daniel Lavelle


Resolution Declaring that Black Pittsburgh Matters in the City of Pittsburgh.



WHEREAS, Article I, § 26 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides that, “Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.”; and,


WHEREAS, on December 23, 2019, the Honorable William M. Peduto, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, signed into law Resolution Number 843 of 2019, declaring racism a “public health crisis” in the City of Pittsburgh, a Home Rule municipality and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and,


WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh recognizes the history of racism in our country and how it has led to many current-day disparities in education, health and safety, job attainment, income and wealth, housing and healthcare, disproportionate incarceration rates for people of color and other pernicious systems of injustice. The City further recognizes the existence of white privilege, meaning the systemic advantages that white people have relative to non-white people; and,


WHEREAS, City of Pittsburgh recognizes the need to examine seemingly neutral policies and practices to determine whether they are contributing to racial inequity and, where needed, change or eliminate the policy or practice as the city has a long history of decision and policy making that has resulted in classist and racist outcomes; and,


WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission’s "Pittsburgh's Inequality Across Gender And Race" report concludes that Pittsburgh’s Black residents could move to almost any other U.S. city of comparable size and have a better quality of life; and,


WHEREAS, one of the major the consequences of Pittsburgh’s institutional racism and discriminatory practices is predominately Black communities of concentrated intergenerational poverty; and,

WHEREAS, the challenges of poor Black communities-including worse health outcomes, higher crime rates, failing schools, and fewer job opportunities-make it that much harder for individuals and families to escape poverty and often perpetuate and entrench poverty across generations; and,

WHEREAS, concentrated poverty in Black communities shapes everything from higher crime rates to limited social mobility for those residents -and especially their children; and,

WHEREAS, these negative factors affecting Black communities and their residents also negatively impact the regions they inhabit and the ability of those metropolitan areas to grow in inclusive and sustainable ways; and,

WHEREAS, the majority of Pittsburgh’s African-American residents live in largely segregated, largely poor, predominately Black communities; and,

WHERAS, the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath has the potential to disproportionately disaffect African-Americans in Pittsburgh and their communities according to the social determinants of health; and,

WHEREAS, the majority of Americans now support the central tenet of the Black Lives Matter movement that African-Americans are unfairly discriminated against; and,

WHEREAS, the American Society of Landscape Architects have formally acknowledged: Black Lives Matter.  Black Communities Matter.

WHEREAS, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has stated: “The fact is mere words are insufficient salve to bind the wounds created by centuries of brutality and injustice.  No single statement can adequately address the United States of America’s 400-year legacy of enslavement and violent marginalization of black, indigenous, and other people of color.  It is also a fact that what you say is what you do.  In that regard, AIA’s words and actions have failed to live up to our highest ideals and values.  AIA understands the disappointment of our past inaction and inadequate attention to the issue of systemic racial injustice.  We were wrong not to address and work to correct the built world’s role in perpetuating systemic racial injustice, including the use of slave and forced labor, designing housing that marginalized communities of color, helping to design communities that excluded people of color, and participating in municipal projects that destroyed or weakened thriving African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities.”

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare that “Black Pittsburgh Matters”; and,

Be it further resolved that Black Pittsburgh Matters includes Black Lives Matter, Black Communities Matter and Black Wealth Matters; and,

Be it further resolved that the City of Pittsburgh affirms and adopts the following Black Pittsburgh Matters Strategic Investment Principles.

Section 1.  The goal of the Black Pittsburgh Matters Strategic Investment principles is to prioritize resource allocation and wealth building opportunities for Black people and Black communities. In Pittsburgh, racism is a prolonged public health crisis that results in segregated Black communities of concentrated intergenerational poverty.  The City of Pittsburgh has a moral obligation to protect the lives of Black People, transform Black communities of poverty into communities of opportunity and increase Black employment and entrepreneur opportunities. In order to combat the effects of institutional racism in Pittsburgh, the City and its authorities must intentionally and strategically invest in Black people, Black places and Black spaces.

The Black Pittsburgh Matters Strategic Investment Principles are:

1.                     Prioritize investments in community-based violence and crime prevention, intervention and reintegration programming in Black communities while simultaneously reforming policing and criminal justice policies and practices that disproportionately disaffect Black people and Black communities;

2.                     Prioritize investments in community and economic development projects in Black communities;

3.                     Prioritize investments in capacity-building of local community-based and faith-based organizations in Black communities;

4.                     Prioritize investments that results in stakeholder collaboration and resource coordination to provide quality health, educational, public and social services to residents in Black communities;

5.                     Prioritize investments in workforce development, minority entrepreneurship, minority-owned businesses that build and/or rehabilitate housing and minority contractors established in or operating in Black communities.


Section 2. All City of Pittsburgh departments, agencies, Authorities and participating partners are requested to adopt and affirm the Black Pittsburgh Matters Strategic Investment Principles.

Section 3. The City of Pittsburgh, through the Department of City Planning shall work with community-based organizations to create specific neighborhood transformative comprehensive community plans in collaboration with representatives, partners and stakeholders from those Black communities to facilitating the implementation of the Black Pittsburgh Matters Strategic Investment Principles.