Fineview & Perry Equity Statement
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the decisions that Fineview & Perry Hilltop boards have to make in order to prevent displacement and keep the community diverse can be and have been opposed. Issues of social exclusion and marginalization make life challenging for underrepresented and disadvantaged communities. It is our organizational duty to examine whether the opposition is due to bias / unconscious favoritism toward or prejudices against people of a particular ethnicity, race, gender, social group, age, neighborhood or class. We understand that we can’t truly impact racism without diversity, but most importantly Inclusion. It is easy to accept Black and Brown people’s integration into neighboring communities but attitudes change when the inclusion comes to our own backyard. To become a race-conscious community we have to be intentional about equitable inclusion and examine the ways residents experience multiple forms of discrimination. As we identify and understand barriers to inclusion and who the most marginalized are we will build a community that works for all. Our hope is that FCC & PHCC boards and the broader community will embrace this Racial Equity statement for generations to come or build a better and more improved statement relevant to the times. This document is a working, breathing document and can be changed to reflect Fineview & Perry Hilltop priorities and objectives with a review process and ⅔ vote by the Boards.
PRESENTLY, Pittsburgh is one of the worst places in the country for Black people to live. Racial inequity in Pittsburgh is an emergency that must be addressed immediately. For example, “Fetal deaths are 2 times more likely among Pittsburgh’s Black women compared to White women. By itself, this inequality is startling. Yet, even more striking is the fact that Pittsburgh’s Black fetal mortality is higher than Black fetal mortality in 94 percent of similar cities.” p.14, Howell, Junia, et al., 2019 “Pittsburgh’s Inequality across Gender and Race.” Gender Analysis White Papers, Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission; hereafter “Pittsburgh Inequality Study.” Furthermore, “Pittsburgh’s high rates of Black maternal mortality are not the result of Black women’s lack of access to prenatal health care. Likewise, Black women’s unemployment and poverty are not explained by their educational levels. Instead, Pittsburgh’s Black women have poor health and economic outcomes because of the individual and structural racism and sexism they face. Thus, effective interventions will aim to transform the institutions that perpetuate these inequities, not the individuals who experience exclusion and marginalization.” p. 66, Pittsburgh Inequality Study. Unfortunately, there is a disparity in terms of income between Black and White Pittsburghers. Black Pittsburghers make around one half what White Pittsburghers make and that is reflected in our community ($26K compared to $51K in the City; $20K compared to $40K in Fineview and Perry Hilltop). There is also a disparity in household stability, status, and wealth as it relates to renting vs owning a home: 53% of households in Perry Hilltop are renting; 87% of Black households are renting. 58% of households in Fineview are renters; 85% of Black householders are renting. We need to be a leader in changing this.
ADDITIONALLY, Pittsburgh is one of the most segregated cities in the country. Our community is diverse and integrated compared to other neighborhoods. 65% of residents in Perry Hilltop are Black, while 55% of residents in Fineview are Black. Allegheny Dwellings has been separated from Fineview, even though it is part of Fineview. Black residents, primarily young women and their families, with low incomes, make up the majority of households in Allegheny Dwellings. This is in keeping with a national trend where public housing has shifted to predominantly Black and Brown women and families. We are fortunate to live near one another and need to maintain our diversity and build on this as a strength of our community.
ADDRESSING THE FUTURE, Perry Hilltop and Fineview Citizens Councils recognize the Racial divide that exists in today’s climate. We are saddened because Racism is alive and as profound as it was in the 60s and throughout American history. This is largely through systemic racism, meaning this country was built on racist policies and laws. We don’t subscribe to the one bad apple theory, which points at an individual as the problem, or the cause behind racism, and by removing them we remove racism. We have been watching our Neighborhoods (Fineview & Perry Hilltop) transform around us. Neighborhoods that once were diverse have aggressively been moving towards upscale white communities, while the displacement of Black and poor families occursat a rapid rate. Other Northside communities have experienced gentrification at an alarming pace; this phoenomenoncontinues to threaten our community.
Our Vision is to create procedures to provide transparency and address any inequities within our organization’s systems, processes and policies. (See Nov 2021 FCC/PHCC Community Gathering Agenda.) To that end we are “committed to being intentional and factual as we continue to lead dialogue and actions to address racial inequities and economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities.” (See IMPACCT Brooklyn’s Racial Equity Statement.) We will be closer to achieving the goal of racial equity “if one’s racial identity no longer predicts, in a statistical sense, how one fares.” (See page 3 of Pressley Ridge Strategic Plan 2022-2024.) Our success will “bring the voice of the community to the forefront and contribute information, resources, and diverse perspectives to our networks, elected officials, funders, donors, and other stakeholders in the field of housing, community and economic development.” FCC & PHCC are committed to building internal capacity for further understanding the impact of racism on Black, Indiginous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, interrogating our own structures and systems, and improving how we address racial equity within the organization through inclusivity, empowerment and continuous staff and board training.
We seek to implement an equity policy that will maintain diversity organizationally, ensure Systematic collection, disaggregation, and publication of data on the board, staff, advisor, vendor, and grantee diversity, and use a community scorecard to maintain accountability and equitable impact. *
As a service organization, it is extremely important to collaborate with partners who will help us achieve our community priorities. From a perspective of equity and balance, equitable collaboration addresses power imbalances and provides ways of actively redressing them. As leaders in the community, we help identify partners and bring resources to those who are underserved or left behind.
We will proactively seek to retain vendors from BIPOC communities and utilize local, diverse businesses when engaging for services
We will seek to partner with donors, funders, and other stakeholders who have demonstrated action and value that advance racial equity;
Collaborate with transparency, integrity, and a willingness to listen
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. Security and equity are connected. In an equitable society, there is increased well-being and safety. It is our responsibility to address the imbalances of the community. We do this through advocacy.
We pledge to recommend changes to public policy, funding and investment which are identified by our community priorities.
Acknowledge and celebrate the value and rich history of our communities, local partners, coalitions, and networks serving historically excluded people; and demonstrate through actions and words that we value the diversity of our community.
We pledge to create awareness and education through hosting meetings and conversations which preserve cultural identities.
As a community organization, we want to inspire residents to become members who support and get involved as a valuable part of their community's growth and well-being.
Housing developments, programs, services, and marketing materials will be designed to ensure members of the community are represented, empowered and reduce harm;
Engage historically-excluded residents for employment, membership, volunteer and board opportunities, including leadership, within our organization
Lend a hand:be helpful, friendly or kind to our neighbors. Go out of the way to know who your neighbors are and be mindful of their circumstances, not expecting them to be the same as your own, coming from a place of difference - showing them respect and kindness.
Compassionate concern and kindness for ourselves, others and the environment we are in. Identifying, understanding, and exposing unconscious bias. Giving ourselves and others room to grow and change.