Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A crowd of people filled the block in front of the City-County Building, as well as the parking lot across from it on Saturday for the third annual Women's March. 

New Attorneys General To Continue Investigating Clergy Abuse

Jan 18, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Newly inaugurated state attorneys general said they plan to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims reach out to state hotlines and online systems to report past abuse.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In light of the #MeToo movement, a new initiative in western Pennsylvania will offer free and confidential services for students and low-wage workers facing sexual harassment and assault.

While there has been a lot of attention given to high-profile cases, sexual harassment is pervasive in workplaces, K-12 schools and colleges, according to the Women’s Law Project, which launched #MeTooPA to help individuals who are traditionally underserved by the legal system.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The mother of Trayvon Martin, whose 2012 death was a key moment in the Black Lives Matter movement, said there were unsettling parallels between the killing of her son and that of black Rankin teen Antwon Rose.


Sala Udin has been a political activist for more than 50 years. He marched on Washington, was a freedom rider and eventually took up a career in politics, serving first as a city councilman and today as a Pittsburgh Public Schools board member. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

There were 55 homicide deaths in Pittsburgh last year, most due to gun violence. Despite the Tree of Life shooting in October, in which 11 people were killed by one gunman, homicide deaths dropped for the fourth year in a row.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

A judge ordered Monday that a jury be selected from another county for the trial of a western Pennsylvania police officer accused in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last year.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Some of the police officers who responded to the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people were honored at a religious ceremony.

They attended a community-wide meal Saturday night at the Beth Shalom synagogue. Three of the officers suffered injuries in the shooting.

A commander who was supposed to be off on Oct. 27 recounted racing to the scene at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

Richard Vogel / AP

Some local feminist activists say a fundraiser to bring a large balloon depicting President Trump as a baby to Pittsburgh's Women's March reveals a larger division between feminists in the city.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh led more than 120 security trainings in the year leading up to the deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life in October, including an active shooter drill at the synagogue just weeks before.

Frank Franklin II / AP

A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys and making one of them say confession after the assaults is set to be sentenced in Pennsylvania court.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Criminal charges were dismissed Thursday against a Wilkinsburg woman whose confrontation with a North Versailles police officer went viral.

Penn State Frat Death Case Continues, But Whittled Down

Jan 10, 2019
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A string of guilty pleas has left just five defendants still fighting charges in the hazing-related death of a pledge at a Penn State fraternity two years ago, a case whittled down as prosecutors were unable to get the most serious counts to stick.

Courtesy of Therese Rocco

Therese Rocco joined the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in 1948 as a temporary replacement in the missing persons office. In post-war Pittsburgh, she says, most male officers believed women couldn't handle police work, let alone carrying a weapon. 

Matt Rourke / AP


Criminal convictions can affect people's working lives and chances of finding safe and suitable housing for decades to come, even when the charges were minor and put no one in harm's way.

Sam Myers / AP

A lawyer who held off an angry mob while representing the first black family to move into the all-white development of Levittown, Pa., has died. Samuel Snipes was 99.

His family says Snipes died Dec. 31 at his family farm in Morrisville, Pa.

In 1957, Snipes represented Daisy and Bill Myers when the black couple quietly moved into Levittown.

Weeks of harassment, public protest and death threats followed. At one point, Snipes held off a mob of enraged white people until police arrived. The governor eventually ordered in state police.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

With the start of the new year, the commonwealth is working to roll out a law aimed at protecting sexually exploited children.

Act 130, known as the Safe Harbor law, ensures child victims of human trafficking won’t be prosecuted for prostitution or other crimes.

Among other things, it sets up a fund for those victims to get back on their feet.

Shea Rhodes, who directs the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University, said the money would come directly from the state prosecuting traffickers.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh is making a significant investment to improve security at all of its locations.

Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

Five years in, Mayor Bill Peduto’s inner circle is constantly changing.

A Reckoning Is Underway In The U.S. Catholic Church

Jan 3, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Over the past four months, Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children in an unprecedented public reckoning spurred at least in part by a shocking grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, an Associated Press review has found.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

As 2018 turned to 2019, a bunch of new laws took effect in Pennsylvania.

Courtesy of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

Allegheny County common pleas judge Kim Berkeley Clark became the first African-American to serve as president judge for the county’s courts during a swearing-in ceremony last week. The landmark shift got no mention at the event, but the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts confirmed Wednesday that the county never before has had a black president judge.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Nearly 10 weeks ago, Pittsburgh was shaken by a deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. The city’s resilience in the face of tragedy gripped the nation.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County residents generally perceive that the quality of life in the region has improved in recent years, according to a new University of Pittsburgh survey. But that perception differs based on who was asked.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

For mothers who have lost children to gun violence, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time. An event in Pittsburgh will bring some of these grieving women together.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Congress has enshrined in law an Obama-era executive order banning youth solitary confinement in federal prisons. The reform was one of many included in the First Step Act, which passed the Senate earlier this week and won a bipartisan vote in the House on Thursday.

Michael Frankel/SNJTODAY.COM / AP

The story of black South Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Johnson being forced by a white referee to choose between forfeiting his dreadlocks or one of the biggest matches of the year has aroused furor online since the incident last Wednesday.

At Local Police Departments, Inequality Abounds

Dec 24, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Where you live in Allegheny County determines what kind of police officer responds to your call for help.

Homeless For The Holidays: Some Colleges Keep Needy Students On Campus

Dec 21, 2018
Avi Wolfman-Arent / Keystone Crossroads

Princess Hill doesn't think much of the holiday season. She literally doesn't think about it.

KDKA-AM Newsradio 1020

A Pittsburgh newscaster who was previously fired for comments deemed racially insensitive about a shooting has a new job in broadcasting.