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On Tuesday, May 14, Councilmembers R. Daniel Lavelle and Rev. Ricky Burgess introduced legislation that will require City of Pittsburgh Departments and Department heads to embed equity and inclusive practices within their respective departments. The Councilmembers, on behalf of the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition (PBEOC), have been working with Mayor Peduto and the Pittsburgh All-In Cities’ Equitable Development Collaborative to look at best practices to align the PBEOC’s Peace and Justice Initiative (P&JI) work with that of the Equitable Development Collaborative: The Path to an All-In Pittsburgh report.
The legislation consists of four primary components:
Councilman Lavelle expressed the importance of the legislative package functioning as a tool to help address the racial disparities that unfortunately create a tale of two cities in Pittsburgh. “The long standing racial disparities that continue to plague our city are the direct result of decades of structural racism, accompanied with both public and private policies that devalued the lives of black and brown people, thus leaving their communities in economic and social despair.”
It has always been at the core of Councilman Lavelle’s beliefs that in order for the City of Pittsburgh to truly prosper as a whole and continue to progress into the future, the disparities that plague many of its communities must be addressed. “With the introduction of today's legislation”, he noted, “we are acknowledging that in order to move beyond our past and for the future success of our city, the City of Pittsburgh must become equitable and just for all its citizenry. More specifically, the City of Pittsburgh must become not just livable for all, but a city where people of color can thrive. And that requires an intentional focus on eliminating racial inequities and barriers, and making accountable and catalytic investments to assure that historically disenfranchised communities and lower-wealth residents directly benefit from our new and growing economy. These pieces of legislation aim to do just that.”