Ed Gainey made story on November 2, defeating Republican candidate Tony Moreno to become Pittsburgh’s first black mayor.
Gainey has a variety of plans and priorities in areas such as public safety, education, the economy, and the environment. Throughout his campaign, Gainey center many of its goals are to make Pittsburgh a fairer place for everyone. Gainey’s goals will benefit everyone in Pittsburgh, but many of his plans will specifically help Pittsburgh women of color.
Hopefully Gainey will be a refreshing presence in city politics. compared to the current mayor, who has mismanaged some issues surrounding racial disparities. Mayor Bill Peduto face much criticism for his handling of the Black Lives Matter 2020 protests following the arrest of a protester, who was thrown into an unmarked van by plainclothes officers for allegedly endangering public safety.
While Peduto said he was “livid” about the arrest, he shocked many people when he tweeted that “the right to close public streets is a privilege”. Subsequently, a lot too Express their concern about the nature of the arrest.
A to study conducted by CityLab last year ranked Pittsburgh one of the worst cities in the United States for black women. The study looked at the health, education, and economic outcomes of black women, and Pittsburgh ranked lower in all three categories. On the other hand, the Economist Intelligence Unit looked at similar criteria for all residents of every American city and Pittsburgh rated as the third most livable city in the country. Clearly, there are huge disparities between the lives of black women and that of the average Pittsburgh resident that we need to work on.
While many of the issues black women face boil down to systemic racism and sexism, which do not have easy solutions, several of Gainey’s plans show strong potential to start moving forward on the inequity that defines Pittsburgh. . If Gainey follows through on his plans, we could see a big improvement with the current disparities in health, education and economic opportunity.
Pittsburgh To struggling with air and water pollution for decades, resulting from both old and current industrial activity. Although there has been several attempts to reduce pollution, this remains a major concern. The problem is even more serious when you look at how disproportionate it is affected people of color in the city. A report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health showed that communities of color are most affected by lead exposure in Allegheny County. A to study published in the journal “Environmental Health” found that minority neighborhoods in Pittsburgh face a higher rate of deaths from air pollution from coronary heart disease.
In his vision of the city, Gainey mention that he wants to get rid of all lead water pipes in the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority system by 2026 and end real estate practices that push low-income people into areas with environmental risks. Ending these practices could help reverse inheritance of the racial and income-based segregation left by redlining. In addition, these segregated neighborhoods have most exposed to pollution and other environmental hazards.
These plans are a good way to start reducing environmental racism in our city, which ultimately tracks to worse health outcomes for black women.
In education, a to study conducted by the City of Pittsburgh found that a high rate of referrals to police has a negative impact on the educational attainment of black children. One arrest tracks to a 25% increase in the probability that a student will drop out of school.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a concept this refers to children kicked out of public schools by the police instead of receiving educational counseling services. by Gainey plans for police demilitarization by increasing de-escalation training and improving community-police relations will hopefully help create a more nurturing environment where black children can focus on their education.
Discussing the issue of over-policing, Gainey noted, “We have seen the trauma suffered by black and brown communities. We are going to change that.
In addition, the study of the City found that black girls in Pittsburgh are less likely to go to college than other cities. by Gainey plans to allocate more funds to urban schools, while achieving more equitable broadband access, will help remove some of the barriers that prevent black girls from pursuing higher education.
Many of the issues black women face with regards to health and education outcomes, from not being able to to afford decent housing or not being able to To pay for higher education without getting into excessive debt, finally boiling to their lack of opportunities for economic growth.
Gainey plans to tackle economic disparities by establishment City certification program for minorities, women and disadvantaged businesses to reduce barriers for these companies to become certified. Working on a program like this would create many new opportunities for women in Pittsburgh. Black woman are often among the fastest growing entrepreneurs in other comparable cities, so providing them with the right infrastructure and resources to make it happen in Pittsburgh should both fuel economic growth and uplift black women.
Gainey also plans to partner with the Pittsburgh business community to establish a Minority Business Accelerator, intended to help minority-owned businesses grow and prosper.
In addition to helping new businesses, Gainey has plans to reform the current workforce. He plans to create new opportunities in the public sector for good jobs that are more accessible to people from a wide range of backgrounds. This is a crucial opportunity for black women, given that they have unemployment rate higher in Pittsburgh than 97% of comparable cities.
Making changes in all of these areas that lead to more economic opportunities for black women will ultimately lead to better outcomes for their health and education, as they will be able to to afford better resources in both areas.
The conversation about women’s issues in our country is often limited to a few issues, such as abortion, which are more gender specific. However, as the study shows, the inequalities that women of color face run much deeper than that. Many of the changes needed to address current disparities need to be implemented at the local level.
According to a to study conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics, women hold only 30.5% of municipal government offices. A to study from governmentjobs.com found that black women are 58% less likely to be hired for positions in state and local governments compared to white men who apply.
Because women of color are so under-represented in local governments, it is even more crucial to ensure that our issues are heard and addressed. If we hold Gainey accountable and advocate for his plans to come true, we can begin to make Pittsburgh a more liveable place for women of color.
Nithya writes on social issues and politics for The Pitt News. Write to him at [emailÂ protected].