Trauma Response Team Addresses Aftermath Of Antwon Rose Verdict, Finds Hope In Community

Mar 27, 2019

A trauma response team is spending the week with former classmates of slain teenager Antwon Rose Jr. at Woodland Hills High School. The counseling group, operated through FOCUS Pittsburgh, provides mental health services to residents of affected communities to facilitate what founder Rev. Paul Abernathy calls “trauma-informed community development.”

Society has an obligation to respond to local violence and the trauma it brings, he says.

Rev. Paul Abernathy created the FOCUS Trauma Response Team after serving with the Army in the Iraq War, where he says he was introduced to the effect trauma can have on people exposed to violence.
Credit Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

The visit comes on the heels of the acquittal late Friday of Michael Rosfeld, the former East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Rose, then 17 and unarmed.

Abernathy says the trauma unit would have been on site no matter what the jury decided. The not guilty verdict came “in the context of an already complex web of trauma.”

Later in the program:

In early March, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant and their partners. But 90.5 WESA’s Ariel Worthy reports that on the same day the bill passed, a state appeals court struck down another local anti-discrimination ordinance, leading some to wonder whether the same thing could happen to the Pittsburgh bill.

This month’s episode of 90.5 WESA’s Still Working follows three Western Pennsylvanians for whom making food is not just a chore or a joy: it’s a job. Hear from a chef at an assisted living facility, a maple syrup producer and a nursing mother, who is also a school counselor. Find more episodes of Still Working here.

And on Tuesday, voters in the 37 district will choose Republican D. Raja or Democrat Pam Iovino as their new state Senator to replace Guy Reschenthaler, who resigned after being elected to the U.S. House. While their fundraising has them in a dead heat, Chris Potter, editor for WESA’s government and accountability team, reports that there are meaningful policy differences between the two candidates.

90.5 WESA's Alex Lenigan and Julia Zenkevich contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.