Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Office to Address Inequities Hiring, Salaries among Areas City Will Examine

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Office to Address Inequities Hiring, Salaries among Areas City Will Examine

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed an executive order Friday creating the city's first Office of Equity - a group of 12 leaders who will work to address inequalities both in and outside local government.

The new office is replacing the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, which was created in 2014. "It's a Justice League type of thing," said Majestic Lane, the chief equity officer and former deputy chief of Neighborhood Empowerment.

"The Avengers were all doing different things, but when they got together, they became the Avenger-Avengers, so it's very similar," Mr. Lane said.

Mr. Lane's analogy speaks to unifying some who were working for the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment with others doing similar work outside the office.

The group will work to address the mayor's directive that "if opportunities in Pittsburgh are not for all, they're for none," Mr. Peduto said.

The Office of Equity will build upon work by Valerie McDonald-Roberts, former chief urban affairs officer, which includes the creation of a $2 million Childhood Equity Fund, the implementation of the Gender Equity Commission, expanding the use of naloxone to stop fatal overdoses from opioids, and the introduction of Financial Empowerment Centers.

"Based upon the research from the Equity Indicators report, OnePGH and the concerns I hear from constituents daily, we know we have more work to do on equity," Mr. Peduto said.

Mr. Lane said they plan to address inequities that affect race, gender, youth, businesses, the opioid epidemic, veterans, the homeless population and overall community wellness.

"This is a lot of refocusing and recalibrating to also say, hey, people may live in neighborhoods that may not be bad, but still have issues and challenges," Mr. Lane said. "It's leaving from a place-based vantage point, to being more focused on people of communities. …

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