On Wednesday, Jan. 3, I was in attendance at the inauguration of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. The program was highlighted with seven videos, and as I watched and listened, it was obvious that all had a universal theme. Video No. 6 summed it up for me. It was titled, “If It’s Not For All, It’s Not For Us.” Mayor Peduto’s acceptance speech was a continuation of the videos as he expounded on Pittsburgh becoming a city for all of us.
On the way home, I reflected on how far have we really come in a city that is oftentimes referred to as an UP SOUTH CITY. It was the year 1947, at the age of 17 I was introduced to a political system that was a form of slavery, and I made a vow to myself that I would do everything possible to change it, and God knows I’ve tried.
It was the only inauguration that I have ever attended that there was a focus on all of the citizens of Pittsburgh being promised they would be afforded an opportunity to sit at the table. Over the years, mayors here have surrounded themselves with political hacks, persons who have no genuine feelings or concerns about the people or the well-being of the city at-large. However, Mayor Peduto’s appointment of Kevin Acklin as his first chief of staff proved to be a genuine concerned public servant, who truly cares about all persons. In this second term, Mayor Peduto was able to fill the vacancy of Acklin with another competent and concerned individual, Dan Gilman, whom I believe possesses all of the same qualities of Acklin, which will serve all persons well.
My personal concerns are that I fail to see a viable number of Black persons on the mayor’s staff who, in my estimation, are able to help the mayor generate major growth in relationship within the Black communities. I have grown weary of those persons, White and Black, who constantly quote statistics when they address the ALLEGED BLACK ACCOMPLISHMENTS. For example, a statement was made that Blacks received 16 percent of $44 million of Pittsburgh contracts. There was a contract awarded and the person in charge stated that Blacks received 58 percent of a $100 million contract, etc. I asked with great regularity every day, who are these alleged persons receiving this money???
They definitely are not the Black business persons I interview and talk to regularly.
I wish Mayor Peduto the best as he and his staff strive to ensure that the City of Pittsburgh truly becomes a city of INCLUSION.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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