I congratulate Harold Miller on his excellent May 5 business page column "Minorities Getting Left Behind Here." As a long-time activist, veteran of the civil rights movement and academician, I can attest to the truth of his statements. Each time Pittsburgh receives an accolade about being a fine place to live or a good place to raise children, I wonder how many blacks were included in the survey. Such accolades always lead me to wonder, just whom these survey publishers spoke to in arriving at their conclusions. I know of no African Americans who participated.
Several years ago, Ralph Bangs from the University of Pittsburgh published a series of economic studies about Allegheny County. He concluded that of 50 similar cities in the United States, this region was the "least welcoming" to minorities.
While his findings were not news to minorities or those who work with minorities, it was shocking to many others. We hoped that his reports would have been a rallying cry for government, educational institutions and the foundation community. Unfortunately, the reports made little difference.
Mr. Miller's article is equally important. I wonder how many of the mayoral candidates will discuss the issue on the campaign trail, and if they would address the issue should they be elected. Will the educational institutions move to do something about the education of minority students? Will the police department correct the policies that result in the police force looking like representatives of a suburban community with restrictive housing covenants? Will anyone pay attention, or will his article join other important writing such as the report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, the Ralph Bangs studies or other devastating reports, on a shelf somewhere gathering dust? Is anyone listening?