Joe Turner goes to School

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High School Student set to Direct an all High School Cast of August Wilson Play

By Mia Crow

Devaughn Robinson caught the acting bug in the 7th grade in 2008 when he co-directed a production of Snoopy at the UrbanLeagueCharterSchool.

His love of theater grew when he won third place honors in the national August Wilson Monologue competition in New York.

Now at 17 and a junior at WoodlandHillsHigh School, Robinson has been named to direct August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone as a part of a new theater program for young people at the center bearing the Pittsburgh playwrights’ name.

“Ever since I was young I knew as a career, whatever I decided to do, I wanted to entertain people.” Robinson said.

The play is brought to the AugustWilsonCenter by the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company’s founder Mark Clayton Southers, who is also the Artistic Director of theater initiatives at the AWC.  PPTC is a small non-profit theater committed to developing and showcasing the talents and works of local playwrights.  Starting with Joe Turner, the company will present all of Wilson’s plays over the next 10 years with high school student directors and cast.

On the surface, Devaughn Robinson looks like the typical high school junior, dressed in skinny jeans and fitted shirt and a pair of flipped sunglass lens, made popular by Dwayne Wayne in the 90s television show A Different World.   In the world of acting, he is anything but.   

From an early age Robinson was involved in school plays and other productions to hone his craft of acting.  Along with school plays, he landed a role as one of the lost boys in Peter Pan at the Kelly/Strayhorn Theater.  At a young age Robinson knew he was an entertainer struggled with what career path he wanted to take.  He considered a life of doing voice overs for Disney movies, creating productions at theme parks, but ultimately he decided he needed to learn to write to reach his goals.  As a writer Robinson flourished.  Among other scripts, he wrote his own version of the 3rd installment of The Pirates of the Caribbean and various other plays he pitched for years before he found a producer for a play he wrote called Backstage Stories, about the conflicts and relationships that develop while performing.

“I actually contacted multiple universities, but the university that decided to do my play was CarnegieMellonUniversity.  During their playhouse series they produced the first play I ever wrote, Backstage Stories…I had college actors performing my work.”

As a result, the play ran as a part of CMU’s Playground festival and a run with the Alumni Theater Company, with actor Bill Nunn acting alongside the students.

In 9th grade Robinson competed in the regional August Wilson Monologue Competition in Pittsburgh and won first place by performing a monologue of Sterling Johnson from Radio Golf, Wilsons last installment of his 10-play cycle in the Pittsburgh Series, about the redevelopment of the Hill district in the 1990s.

That qualified him for the National Wilson competition in New York City, where he was the youngest competitor.

“It was a big thing for me because someone from Pittsburgh was representing Pittsburgh…and place nationally.  That spoke more to me than coming in 3rd.”  Robinson said enthusiastically.

Robinson’s second play, Black and White, was his take on interracial marriage and bringing the families together and was also produced by CMU in 2009.

It was during the time of the Black and White festival that it caught the attention of Mark Southers, who wanted to include the works in the festival.  Southers, founder and actor of the Pittsburgh Playwright Theater, immediately made him stage manager of Jitney, which Southers was producing at the playwright’s.  Robinson had to take down notes, took care of the props, stage direction and held cues.

 

 Later, Southers made Robinson co-director of a Teenie Harris play,  at the Hill House on the hill, grooming him for the his solo directorial debut with Joe Turner. 

 

He landed the Joe Turner gig with his impressive resume and hard work under Southers.  Robinson says, Southers gave him the chance to direct the play because he trusts his skill and love for the theater.

 

He says Southers knew his ability and passion he has for acting and it was the deciding factor in selecting him to direct this play.   Robinson knows it’s a major responsibility of creating the rehearsal times, marketing and auditions.

“I’ve sort of had to take a step back from some of the other things I’m doing.  I have to focus on this.”  Robinson stated passionately.

He feels it’s his duty help kids his age respect the craft of acting showing them how to look and feel for their characters.  He said this play gives him a chance to teach them about character and the different ways of acting.

“This is gonna be something major, a lot of the cast members have never worked in a venue this big.  It’s going to be a new experience for a lot of people and we should take advantage of that.”

Robinson knows that directing this play of this magnitude is game changing and his career can soar.   His greatest fears in directing this play is that his efforts will look like a professional production instead of a high school play, especially since it is an August Wilson play.

However, he says his greatest hope is to direct the play so well that it will be reviewed in the New York Times.  The play will run February 15-24 at 8 pm and will cost $15.

“This is a big event; it’s like a Shakespeare in the park.  No one’s ever attempted to do this.”  Robinson sees his future of him living off of his art and doing what he loves to do.

Robinson plans to attend college for acting and has his eye on a few, such as Carnegie Mellon, New   YorkUniversity and William and Mary.

“I plan on doing multiple things and not just play writing, acting, directing and writing.  I also want to continue to dance.  I don’t want to be put in a box.”

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Nehemiah Brazil’s Background Mirrors the Kids in his North side Neighborhood

photo Photo by MiaCrow

Combining Faith and Sports to Change the Lives of at At-risk Teens.

By Mia Crow

When he finished a professional basketball career in France, Nehemiah Brazil thought back to his days on the mean streets of Pittsburgh’s North side where he not only experienced trouble but saw it all around him.

As a 15-year old, he was lured to those streets, but somehow managed to leave them for an education spurred by his basketball skills.

When his basketball career ended, the devoutly religious man came back home to work in a year-round basketball program for Urban Impact, where he hopes to help kids escape the wrath of guns, drugs and gang violence in one of Pittsburgh’s most volatile neighborhoods.

“When I was growing up there was not a lot of opportunities for young kids to do much in my neighborhood and I always wanted to build a place for them to have those opportunities.”  Brazil stated with steely-eyed conviction.

Urban Impact is a youth outreach ministry that seeks to provide community development, a spiritual base and find significant ways to relate these ideals to the youth of the Northside.   Brazil is the group’s urban missionary, where he provides support and resources in obtaining a higher education and runs the organization’s Basketball Teams Program.  Brazil anticipates that his life stories and experiences will help them to think and make the best choices for their lives and some of God’s words will also be influential in those decisions.

With his easy smile and laid back demeanor, Brazil doesn’t look like he was once on the corner selling drugs or on the road to destruction until he sat down to tell of his journey.  He sighed deeply as his thoughts take him back to a time when the thought of having to fight his friend over a drug deal gone wrong and his overnight stint in Schuman Juvenile Detention Center after he was caught selling drugs on the corner of Charles and Perrysville Avenue.

“That one day felt like a life time.  I never got in trouble before so I got probation, but it really disturbed my mom because she did all she could do to make sure we had what we needed…that life can pull you in if you’re not grounded.”  Brazil says as he also noticed the effect drugs had on families.  On the day he was caught he sold drugs to a man and his girlfriend who abandoned their kids for dope.  Brazil says he felt terrible guilt for contributing to the troubles of that family.  He also gives his parents credit of taking a stance together to get him out of that life.

“That was something I’d never seen, my parents taking a stance together against me selling drugs.  That shocked me.  This was the first time they came together since I was five years old.”  If the drugs weren’t enough, street gangs were beginning to take over the corners of the Charles and Perrysville where he lived.  He remembers many of them.

“Many of those guys are either locked up or dead now.  I knew it was only because of God that I didn’t make the same choice.  I believe it is my path in life to be here for the kids in my neighborhood.  I know most of their parents and I was put here to show them a better way.”  Brazil said sighed.

Once he got out of the drug mess in the early 1990’s, Brazil, in the 9th grade, decided to concentrate on school and try out for Perry’s basketball team.  At the time he was only 5’8” tall and he didn’t make the team that was loaded with future NCAA Division One players like Eddie Benton, Malik Hightower and Will Macon.

The team was so good; he didn’t even try out in 10th grade, instead playing in church and neighborhood leagues until high school graduation.

Not only did the sandlot leagues help him improve his basketball skills, but he had grown to over six feet tall.

On the playground hoop courts at the time, Brazil started noticing he was improving enough to play tough against some of the star players he grew up with.

“I started noticing how my skills were improving and I was like man I want to go somewhere and make something of this…The only place I knew that made sense was Community College of Allegheny County.  I didn’t take my SAT’s and I didn’t do necessary stuff to get in a four year school.”  Brazil explains.

Before he enrolled at CCAC, Brazil was recruited by the U.S. Government’s Job Corp program.  In exchange getting an education and following through with the program, they paid for his education, a bus pass and money to spend on clothing and books.  It changed his life.    Soon after, he quit his job to attend CCAC full time and play basketball there.

Now 6’5” tall, Brazil thrived in 2 seasons at CCAC, which earned him a scholarship to Kutztown State University.

After a dominating career there, his coach told him about a professional French league that needed players and before he knew it, he was living in the South of France, playing in an international basketball league.  Over the ensuing decade, he played on four teams Aix Les Baines, Feurs, Vitre and Blois.  Two of those teams won the championships and Brazil earned league MVP three times and a career average of 20 points per game.

Brazil laughs as he describes how he had to adjust to life in another country.   He still vividly remembers his first stop, when the French coaches took him to the city of Aix Les Baines, his first stop.  The car didn’t have any air conditioning and the road to the city wrapped around a mountain and was winding.  The car was zooming down the hill swerving and Brazil said he was bent over, holding his stomach and ready to throw up.  He was car sick for the first time in his life.  He lived with a Frenchwoman who rented him and a teammate a small apartment.

Brazil says he appreciated being in France learning another culture and playing a game he loved he said it was hard at first and he spent time reading the bible and establishing his own relationship with God.  That first year in France, it was quiet, there was no television so he would sit in his room and read the bible to fill time and he began to realize how important a role God played in his life thus far.   Brazil said that playing ball in France was a cutthroat business, if he didn’t do well in a game or he would do well and the team wasn’t, they could cut them and find another American and they weren’t obligated to pay the player the rest of the money they were contracted to be paid.

“There were many stories about the behavior of American players who would go in the office and steal all the liquor and use the phone calling America and ran up the bill…many of my teammates would complement me on how well I carried myself.”

Another pivotal moment in Brazil’s life was as he says, getting serious with his now wife, Precious, who was the first person he’d seen “bring church home.”  He says he knew about church and how people would go to church receive the word and leave it at the church door.  His wife would listen to gospel music, sang in the choir and watch gospel programming.

Brazil says he admired her commitment to her beliefs and he admired that and while he was in France he took the time to get his life right with God.  By his second year in France Brazil had married Precious and brought his daughter and young son along with him.  His daughter was five and in kindergarten and his son was three they both attended a school in Aix Les Baines where they only spoke French; both of his children were speaking the language within the year and by the time they had their last two children who also learned French, his older children were completely bilingual.

“We left France when my daughter was in sixth grade, she’s now in high school and she is fluent in French.  My sons came home speaking French but eventually forgot it because they didn’t have anyone speaking with them constantly,” said Brazil proudly.

They had two more sons in the nine years he played in France.  Throughout it all, Brazil’s burgeoning religion and his desire to help the kids in his neighborhood urging him to return to the North Side to achieve that goal.

“When I was growing up there was not a lot of opportunities for young kids to do much in my neighborhood and I always build a place for them.”  Brazil said.  He knew there were opportunities outside of the North Side, if only kids would realize it.

“My world views and my mentality of being in the hood changed when I went to France.  It was a good experience, we learned another language and we were able to meet people of different nationalities.”  Brazil said.

Brazil talked with excitement of his growth in his relationship with God he says, “I want to go back to where I came from and be able to walk amongst the people and share with them, this is where basketball took me, but ultimately where God brought me…I’ve come from the same situation you’ve come from, up against the same things.”  Brazil’s believes his life story and the positive change he made with his belief in God is the message he sends to the kids he works with at Urban Impact.  “There is a better way and they can make better choices, through Christ.”

Brazil coaches Urban Impacts high school boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams, who are going well this season; V is 7-0 and the JV is 6-2.  Brazil aspires to one day teach high school math, coach high school basketball and become a pastor of a church someday.  His family has adjusted very well to life in America, his daughter, who is a sophomore at North Catholic high school.  She helps the kids who are struggling in French and plays AAU basketball with Pittsburgh Impact a team Brazil is the coach.

“Fatherlessness is an important factor in these kids’ lives and God has placed me in their lives for a reason, to be a positive role model and to show them another way.”

Combining Faith and Sports to Change the Lives of at At-risk Teens.

By Mia Crow

When he finished a professional basketball career in France, Nehemiah Brazil thought back to his days on the mean streets of Pittsburgh’s North side where he not only experienced trouble but saw it all around him.

As a 15-year old, he was lured to those streets, but somehow managed to leave them for an education spurred by his basketball skills.

When his basketball career ended, the devoutly religious man came back home to work in a year-round basketball program for Urban Impact, where he hopes to help kids escape the wrath of guns, drugs and gang violence in one of Pittsburgh’s most volatile neighborhoods.

“When I was growing up there was not a lot of opportunities for young kids to do much in my neighborhood and I always wanted to build a place for them to have those opportunities.”  Brazil stated with steely-eyed conviction.

Urban Impact is a youth outreach ministry that seeks to provide community development, a spiritual base and find significant ways to relate these ideals to the youth of the Northside.   Brazil is the group’s urban missionary, where he provides support and resources in obtaining a higher education and runs the organization’s Basketball Teams Program.  Brazil anticipates that his life stories and experiences will help them to think and make the best choices for their lives and some of God’s words will also be influential in those decisions.

With his easy smile and laid back demeanor, Brazil doesn’t look like he was once on the corner selling drugs or on the road to destruction until he sat down to tell of his journey.  He sighed deeply as his thoughts take him back to a time when the thought of having to fight his friend over a drug deal gone wrong and his overnight stint in Schuman Juvenile Detention Center after he was caught selling drugs on the corner of Charles and Perrysville Avenue.

“That one day felt like a life time.  I never got in trouble before so I got probation, but it really disturbed my mom because she did all she could do to make sure we had what we needed…that life can pull you in if you’re not grounded.”  Brazil says as he also noticed the effect drugs had on families.  On the day he was caught he sold drugs to a man and his girlfriend who abandoned their kids for dope.  Brazil says he felt terrible guilt for contributing to the troubles of that family.  He also gives his parents credit of taking a stance together to get him out of that life.

“That was something I’d never seen, my parents taking a stance together against me selling drugs.  That shocked me.  This was the first time they came together since I was five years old.”  If the drugs weren’t enough, street gangs were beginning to take over the corners of the Charles and Perrysville where he lived.  He remembers many of them.

“Many of those guys are either locked up or dead now.  I knew it was only because of God that I didn’t make the same choice.  I believe it is my path in life to be here for the kids in my neighborhood.  I know most of their parents and I was put here to show them a better way.”  Brazil said sighed.

Once he got out of the drug mess in the early 1990’s, Brazil, in the 9th grade, decided to concentrate on school and try out for Perry’s basketball team.  At the time he was only 5’8” tall and he didn’t make the team that was loaded with future NCAA Division One players like Eddie Benton, Malik Hightower and Will Macon.

The team was so good; he didn’t even try out in 10th grade, instead playing in church and neighborhood leagues until high school graduation.

Not only did the sandlot leagues help him improve his basketball skills, but he had grown to over six feet tall.

On the playground hoop courts at the time, Brazil started noticing he was improving enough to play tough against some of the star players he grew up with.

“I started noticing how my skills were improving and I was like man I want to go somewhere and make something of this…The only place I knew that made sense was Community College of Allegheny County.  I didn’t take my SAT’s and I didn’t do necessary stuff to get in a four year school.”  Brazil explains.

Before he enrolled at CCAC, Brazil was recruited by the U.S. Government’s Job Corp program.  In exchange getting an education and following through with the program, they paid for his education, a bus pass and money to spend on clothing and books.  It changed his life.    Soon after, he quit his job to attend CCAC full time and play basketball there.

Now 6’5” tall, Brazil thrived in 2 seasons at CCAC, which earned him a scholarship to Kutztown State University.

After a dominating career there, his coach told him about a professional French league that needed players and before he knew it, he was living in the South of France, playing in an international basketball league.  Over the ensuing decade, he played on four teams Aix Les Baines, Feurs, Vitre and Blois.  Two of those teams won the championships and Brazil earned league MVP three times and a career average of 20 points per game.

Brazil laughs as he describes how he had to adjust to life in another country.   He still vividly remembers his first stop, when the French coaches took him to the city of Aix Les Baines, his first stop.  The car didn’t have any air conditioning and the road to the city wrapped around a mountain and was winding.  The car was zooming down the hill swerving and Brazil said he was bent over, holding his stomach and ready to throw up.  He was car sick for the first time in his life.  He lived with a Frenchwoman who rented him and a teammate a small apartment.

Brazil says he appreciated being in France learning another culture and playing a game he loved he said it was hard at first and he spent time reading the bible and establishing his own relationship with God.  That first year in France, it was quiet, there was no television so he would sit in his room and read the bible to fill time and he began to realize how important a role God played in his life thus far.   Brazil said that playing ball in France was a cutthroat business, if he didn’t do well in a game or he would do well and the team wasn’t, they could cut them and find another American and they weren’t obligated to pay the player the rest of the money they were contracted to be paid.

“There were many stories about the behavior of American players who would go in the office and steal all the liquor and use the phone calling America and ran up the bill…many of my teammates would complement me on how well I carried myself.”

Another pivotal moment in Brazil’s life was as he says, getting serious with his now wife, Precious, who was the first person he’d seen “bring church home.”  He says he knew about church and how people would go to church receive the word and leave it at the church door.  His wife would listen to gospel music, sang in the choir and watch gospel programming.

Brazil says he admired her commitment to her beliefs and he admired that and while he was in France he took the time to get his life right with God.  By his second year in France Brazil had married Precious and brought his daughter and young son along with him.  His daughter was five and in kindergarten and his son was three they both attended a school in Aix Les Baines where they only spoke French; both of his children were speaking the language within the year and by the time they had their last two children who also learned French, his older children were completely bilingual.

“We left France when my daughter was in sixth grade, she’s now in high school and she is fluent in French.  My sons came home speaking French but eventually forgot it because they didn’t have anyone speaking with them constantly,” said Brazil proudly.

They had two more sons in the nine years he played in France.  Throughout it all, Brazil’s burgeoning religion and his desire to help the kids in his neighborhood urging him to return to the North Side to achieve that goal.

“When I was growing up there was not a lot of opportunities for young kids to do much in my neighborhood and I always build a place for them.”  Brazil said.  He knew there were opportunities outside of the North Side, if only kids would realize it.

“My world views and my mentality of being in the hood changed when I went to France.  It was a good experience, we learned another language and we were able to meet people of different nationalities.”  Brazil said.

Brazil talked with excitement of his growth in his relationship with God he says, “I want to go back to where I came from and be able to walk amongst the people and share with them, this is where basketball took me, but ultimately where God brought me…I’ve come from the same situation you’ve come from, up against the same things.”  Brazil’s believes his life story and the positive change he made with his belief in God is the message he sends to the kids he works with at Urban Impact.  “There is a better way and they can make better choices, through Christ.”

Brazil coaches Urban Impacts high school boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams, who are going well this season; V is 7-0 and the JV is 6-2.  Brazil aspires to one day teach high school math, coach high school basketball and become a pastor of a church someday.  His family has adjusted very well to life in America, his daughter, who is a sophomore at North Catholic high school.  She helps the kids who are struggling in French and plays AAU basketball with Pittsburgh Impact a team Brazil is the coach.

“Fatherlessness is an important factor in these kids’ lives and God has placed me in their lives for a reason, to be a positive role model and to show them another way.”

http://www.pointparknewsservice.com/2012/11/30/nehemiah-brazils-background-mirrors-life-of-north-side-children/

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The August Wilson Center hosts 1936 Nazi Olympics Exhibit

photo

The official poster for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games shows an Olympian rising above Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate. (1936).

By Mia Crow

There are pictures of Olympic hero Jesse Owens making his gold medal winning long jump in front of Adolph Hitler, defying the Nazi leader’s theory of a “master race.”

Also in an exhibit from now until February 2013 at the August Wilson Center is Connellsville native John Woodruff, also black, winning the 800 meter run in the 1936 Olympic Games in plain view of Hitler.

The exhibit also shows disturbing Nazi inspired consequences of racial mixing in Germany with images called the “Rhineland Bastards.”

All of these images are part of The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 exhibit on loan to the Wilson Center with hopes of keeping themes of racism and prejudice in front of the public.

“The Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the AWC felt it was important to have this exhibit here to talk about some of the themes of racism and of prejudice,”

“It tells how and why it’s relevant today and to also bridge the gap between the two communities,” said Cecile Shellman, artistic director of visual arts and exhibitions.

The exhibit, which is cosponsored by the Holocaust Center of  Greater Pittsburgh  and the Wilson Center juxtaposes the participation of blacks and Jews in  the 1936 Berlin Olympics against public relations campaign Hitler waged to showcase his master race ideology and a way promote his propaganda under the false pretense of being a hospitable country.  Hitler’s regime, only moments before the tourists and athletes arrival, temporarily removed the anti-Jewish signs and removed any Gypsys off the streets and into internment camps.

This exhibit was brought to Pittsburgh by way of the National Holocaust Museum in collaboration with the AWC.

It is a soul stirring chronicle of the effects of racism against two cultures in two different parts of the world.  For instance, there is the African American Experience section displaying panels with images of restrooms and restaurants showing “Whites Only” signs then there are the images of the Jewish people and Gypsies enclosed in camps, of Jewish athletes who were kicked out of sports clubs and off the German team.

Hitler’s rise to power and his hatred for anyone “non-Aryan” caused a major debate among the many countries set to compete in the Olympics which sparked a boycott debate.  There are images of Jeremiah Mahoney and, president of the Amateur Athletic Association, who was opposed to sending any athletes to Germany and Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, who was opposed to boycotting the games, they are shaking hands as they come to a compromise about the games.  Many of those countries agreed to boycott the games that year; they felt they would be endorsing Hitler’s ideals.  However, despite the threat of boycott the United States and 48 other countries decided to participate, making it the first-time so many teams competed in any previous Olympics, the exhibit shows the Boycott Debate.

“It was important for African American athletes to be here…they were going to a place where the Jews were being discriminated against and black athletes were living with racism in our own country,” said Shellman.   The African American athletes were subjected to Jim Crow laws in the United States, but in Germany they were hailed as heroes.  The 1936 Olympics gave them a sense of hope and black pride.  Nineteen blacks competed in this Olympics bringing home 14 medals for the US.

Jesse Owens was responsible for four of those medals, winning gold in the long jump, 100 and 200 meter dashes and the 4 x 100 meter relay, making him the most successful athlete in those games.

“He ran off with everything but the stadium.”  Shellman said reading the caption of a political cartoon showing Jesse Owens running with objects from the stadium and Hitler observing in the background.  The exhibit illustrates Owens’ success in Germany, there are image of him and German competitor and eventually close friend, Carl Ludwig Long relaxing on the ground having a friendly conversation.  Despite Hitler’s Aryan ways, there are other images of Owens being barraged by German fans for his autograph.

John Woodruff, then a freshman of the University of Pittsburgh, won the gold in the 800 meter run beating the German’s with ease.  .  Woodruff’s gold winning run is displayed on a paneled image of him in the exhibit along with a video kiosk in which Woodruff and other athletes describe their experience in the Olympics. “This was the first Olympics in which they participated with the biggest contingency winning 70 of the 187 medals and this was the most medals won by the African American athletes.”

Children of African Colonial soldiers and German women made up a very small population of biracial children in Germany after World War I.  There were about 500 teens that were known as the “Rhineland Bastards” who were forcibly sterilized to keep them from reproducing and to “purify” Hitler’s “master race.”  The AWC exhibit shows the image of these teens, who were mostly white with blond hair and one black with curly black hair in sailor type dress, but they weren’t the only people who were subjected to Hitler’s “purification,” the mentally disabled, Gypsies or Roma and Sinti, and the physically disabled.   “This exhibition has a lot of information that has not been explained in this context before…there are photographs that have been in archive in Germany and here in the United States that have not been widely distributed…and it certainly makes you think.” Said   Shellman, for example, the images and text describing the “Rhindland Bastards” and the Nuremberg Laws.

The Nazi Olympics exhibit  is set up to resemble a stadium with panels of images of Hitler’s Nazi propaganda and it shows and his ideals he wanted to show of blonde haired and blue eyed pure race.  There are panels of the Olympic success of African Americans, such as Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe and John Woodruff and the Jewish Athletes such as, Alfred Flatow, Lili Henoch and Roman Kantor competing in their prospective event.  It tells of the popularity the black athletes gained but had to go home to Jim Crow America and be subjected to discrimination and segregation, but their Jewish counterparts were also successful but were killed in the aftermath of the Olympics in death camps during World War II.  They were killed in the Holocaust. “This is a powerful exhibit and it asks what will we do when we encounter racism?  It continues and what will we do?  This whole exhibit is about how we respond to things like that and how our bravery and the bravery of these athletes tell the story of courage,” says Shellman.

The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 will be at the AWC from October 15- February 2013. Hours of admission is Tuesday-Saturday 11a.m.-6p.m.  Admission is free. Fee for Special Exhibitions on the second floor: Adults – $8, seniors (62 and over) and Students with valid ID – $4 and Children – $3. Members are free.  www.augustwilson.org http://www.pointparknewsservice.com/2012/10/29/august-wilson-center-hosts-1936-nazi-olympics-exhibit/

 

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Connect Card Machines Piloted in Select Bus Stops

photoPhoto by Mia Crow

By Mia Crow       

A way to pay for public transportation called the “Connect Card,” a personal smartcard for riders to debit fares, has been tested in the marketplace since last spring and transit officials hope to launch this electronic pay process throughout the system in the near future.

Port Authority hopes the new Connect Card, which will have ATM-like machines placed near stops all over the region, will provide more convenience to riders to buy and load bus fare when it is fully implemented.

“There are about 500 riders who were selected fairly recently to participate in this test.  The riders were given the connect card with different monthly, weekly and cash options,” said Heather Pharo Port Authority spokeswoman.   The vending machines are part of a pilot program that began in March of this year.  Participants will use the machines to test how well they work when loading and reloading the card and for checking their balance.  Annual pass holders are also among the test groups, they have been sent a connect card to replace the paper bus passes, they will also help PAT monitor the cash fare boxes on the buses.

The Connect Card, a plastic smart card with a computer chip will be used to replace paper bus passes and tickets. It provides a variety of fare options and allows customers to load money for additional zone fares. The benefit for PAT is that it will help them capture lost revenue by preventing fraud and theft, and save on the cost of printing bus passes and tickets. For its customers, they will be able to load and reload their cards online as well as the vending machines. PAT will partner with other retail businesses to sell the Connect Card and finally customers can register their cards. This will protect their fares and cash balances if lost or stolen, according to Ms. Pharo.

After learning about the card’s purpose LaCiane Estes said she would definitely use it. “I won’t have to go downtown or Giant Eagle for a bus pass. I like the convenience of loading my card online or in one of those machines,” she said.  Others still didn’t know what the service is because PAT won’t begin to market it in earnest until after the pilot program has been successfully completed and all of the kinks worked out.

“I thought it was an ATM machine,” said Rachel Mells at the Wilkinsburg bus way as she looked over the bulky machined that resembles the parking machines seen in parking garages.  “I don’t even know what the Connect Card is about.”  Ms. Pharo explains that there is no set launch date as of yet, but more information will follow the completion of the pilot program at the end of next month.  Because the pilot program is still in the developing phase, there is no set amount to pay for the Connect Card; the test groups only pay the price of their fare for the moment.   More information including informational videos about the Connect Card can be found on its website at http://www.connectcard.org.

http://www.pointparknewsservice.com/2012/10/23/port-authority-moves-closer-to-connect-card-transition/

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December 3, 2012 · 4:53 pm

Urban Impact Gives Hope with Faith and Sports

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By Mia Crow

It was not until Malcolm Hill found a group called Urban Impact that he was able to escape negativity on the streets of North View Heights and propel himself to a college education.

For DaWayne Steele, the same organization’s basketball program enabled him to escape the plague of guns and violence that permeates Pittsburgh’s North Side.

“I saw a lot of evil and a lot of disloyalty and a lot of people I couldn’t see myself around.  Urban Impact put me around people that I could relate and connect to,” Hill said in a telephone interview on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.

At a time when Pittsburgh’s inner city streets increasingly resemble a war zone, especially in situations of black-on-black crime, Urban Impact, a faith based organization, invests in the lives of at-risk youth of the North Side.  They offer assistance with college readiness, a strong foundation in faith, the opportunity to compete and play together as a team in athletic programs and a variety of other ways to escape the hard lives of the streets.

“Urban Impact has been a voice to those kids to say there is another way that you can live your life, that in the long run will pay off and be more beneficial than just what you know, or what you think is okay…there is another way,” said Urban Impact missionary and coach Nehemiah Brazil.

Brazil played basketball for nine years in France. He came back to Pittsburgh to make a difference in the lives of the teens in his North Side neighborhood.

Union Place, a red stone building that houses Urban Impacts offices, is a hub of activity, with people going up and down the stairs and in and out of the café.

There is a sense of community in the building. Brazil sat at the table wearing a yellow Urban Impact t-shirt as he explained how important it is for the at-risk teens to get the message the organization is trying to send.

Brazil feels it is important to communicate the message of Christ to the youth in his neighborhood, to share and help them make better decisions than the generations before. He says he feels fatherlessness is a big issue with young black men. Without fathers they lose an important part of growing up like how to take care of the home and raise a family.  They don’t know how to treat their wives or how to become men.

Brazil tells the young men to make better choices in their lives and to be a good father when the time is right. He came to Urban Impact to give back to these kids and to be the male role model that is lacking in many African American households.

Urban Impact is about building a strong community by abiding by its motto: “Changing lives one person, one family, one block at a time.”

Urban Impact’s athletic program is for boys and girls in grades 3-12 and offers intramural basketball, high school travel basketball teams, middle school travel basketball teams, boy’s high school and middle school basketball leagues, baseball, soccer and performing arts.

The program activities consist of dinner, devotions, relationship building and basketball.  The season goes from September to March, and meets at North Side gyms, such as, Allegheny Traditional Academy, Martin Luther King, Perry and Oliver high one day a week.

For Hill, growing up in Northview Heights made it tough to avoid the negative forces that can pull a young black man into the allure of the streets and the violence that comes with it.  Sometimes he succeeded and sometimes he didn’t.

Hill heard his friends talk about the free dinners and playing basketball and began to attend Urban Impact.  It gave him a peace of mind and challenged him to change his life.

“It gave me something to think about, you know…I gotta get out of these streets and figure out what I want to do with my life…these streets are not for me.  It influenced me to find a good education and where to go; they played a big part in that,” Hill said.

Hill is now 20 and a freshman at Morgan State University.  He is majoring in sociology with a minor in criminology.  He plans to give back as a social worker so that he can be in a position to help just as someone from Urban Impact helped him.

Steele reflects on the decisions he made in his life and the friends he lost due to homicides.

“A couple of murders that happened I knew people and I use to hang with people, but if I wouldn’t have took the route I took I probably would have been in the same situation,” Steele said in a phone interview. “Without Urban Impact, I wouldn’t have taken that route…after high school I probably would have been in those streets.”

Steele attended Oliver High School and spoke on the negative influences that walked the halls, he saw Urban Impact as his escape from those influences.

Steele and his friends joined and this helped keep him off the streets and out of trouble.  He credits Urban Impacts resourcefulness in finding him help with his academics and how to succeed and finish high school.

Steele is now 20 and working a good job with the help of the Missionaries of Urban Impact.  He is grateful to the program and the impact it had on the decisions in his life.

“I’ve worked for Urban Impact for three years and I have seen the positive effect this organization has had on the kids that participate in our program.” Said Nehemiah Brazil.

http://www.pointparknewsservice.com/2012/10/29/urban-impact-gives-hope-with-faith-and-sports/

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Resume

Mia Crow

1451 Crucible St.

Pittsburgh, PA 15205

Mcrow629@gmail.com

(412) 352-8877

 

Objective

        To build a career that offer challenge and growth with opportunities to enrich my knowledge and skills while contributing my best to the organization I work for.

 

Education

 

Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA 2011-Present

  • Masters: Journalism: Print/Digital Media
  • Master of Business Administration: Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management

 

Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pa 2007-2009

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Major: Creative Writing. 
  • Coursework in: Screen Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Mystery and Suspense for Children
  • Minor: African American Studies
  • Thesis: “Black Pride: My Journey of Ascension through Creativity.”
  • Employed while a student, covered the majority of tuition

 

Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pa 2003-2007

  • Associates in Science
  • Major:  Child and Family Studies
  • Coursework in:  Child Development, Sociology of the Family, Teen      and Adolescents

 

  • MVP Award: Reporter for the Allegheny View
  • Dean’s List
  • Certificate, Child Development Association 2003

 

Relevant Experience

 

Brightside Academy, Pittsburgh PA

Group Supervisor                                                                                                              1994

  • Supervise and assist with the daily activities; teach basic educational skills; develop weekly lesson plans based on provided curriculum; assist staff as needed; and wrote stories used in after school sessions.

 

 

Joseph Horne’s Department Store, Pittsburgh, PA

Telephone Operator                                                                                                          1988-1994

  • Answered all incoming telephone calls and transferred customers to desired departments; assisted customers with inquiries; provided excellent customer service.

 

 

I am proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Adobe Creative Suite

 

 

 

References Available Upon Request

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