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Penn State invites public to view free Thursday discussion, will hold community forum Saturday
An online forum Thursday afternoon will discuss how income inequality leads to poor health for Black women.
“Socioeconomic and Environmental Perspectives on Black Women’s Health” will be moderated by Johnathan White, history lecturer at Penn State Greater Allegheny campus in McKeesport. The event begins at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live on Penn State’s website at watch.psu.edu/crossingbridges.
The panel discussion is the second in this year’s series of Crossing Bridges Summit events. The first, in October, examined Black women’s health from a medical perspective.
Jacqueline Edmondson, Greater Allegheny chancellor and chief executive officer, said the Crossing Bridges Summit committee selected this year’s theme after reading the 2019 report “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Race and Gender.”
That report, written for Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission by five faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh, found serious income and educational disparities for all women in the region, but especially Black women and girls, as compared to men.
The study compared Pittsburgh to 89 other cities and concluded that Black women in Pittsburgh were more likely to die in child-birth than in almost any other American city. It also reported that Black women in Pittsburgh are more likely to face unemployment and poverty than 85 percent of other cities.
“We want to partner with local and national experts to help the campus community and the public understand the issues identified in this report, to consider how these issues are manifest in the Mon Valley region, and to identify areas where the campus can collaborate with community partners to be a catalyst for change,” Edmondson said.
Created in 2017, the annual “Crossing Bridges Summit” at Penn State Greater Allegheny is designed to examine ways that the McKeesport campus can serve as a catalyst for social change and bridge racial divides in the Pittsburgh-area community.
Previous speakers have included McKeesport native, All-American football star and Penn State trustee Brandon Short, award-winning author and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, and 1960s activist Angela Davis.
Panelists for Thursday’s event are scheduled to include Dannai Wilson, program director for Maternal and Child Health, Allegheny County Health Department; Jim Kelly, deputy director, Bureau of Environmental Health, Allegheny County Health Department; Tammy Thompson, poverty expert and executive director, Circles of Greater Pittsburgh; and Germaine Gooden Patterson, community health worker, Women for a Healthy Environment.
On Saturday, the McKeesport campus will hold a “virtual summit talk” at 10 a.m., allowing campus and community members to discuss the panelists’ perspectives and to identify ways to take positive steps to address inequality in the Pittsburgh area.
Although Saturday’s event is also free and open to the public, pre-registration is required at greaterallegheny.psu.edu/register-summit-talks.
“Our October Summit Talk marked the first time we offered a live stream broadcast of the event,” Edmondson said. “On the day of the event, it was viewed more than 300 times by audience members in over 19 states and Canada. Over 50 people have watched the archived recording.
“That engagement demonstrates that people want to learn about the serious inequities faced by Black women,” she said. “We hope as people continue to watch and learn from our panelists, that they will become advocates for meaningful change in their communities.”
The Crossing Bridges Summit program includes five elements—the speakers series, the summit talks, discussions led by students, a visiting scholar program and a task force on racial equality and justice.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network are sponsoring this year’s summit.
Originally published December 09, 2020.