Posts by southa

“Flyboy” mural beautifies Wilkinsburg

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in Events | 1 comment

“Flyboy” mural beautifies Wilkinsburg

The mural near the Busway is ‘so much more than art’

Article in Pittsburgh Courier

WILKINSBURG RISING—Neon Coleman-Beauford is elated as Hebru Brantley puts the finishing touches on his mural, “Flyboy,” on Wallace Avenue in Wilkinsburg. (Photo by Emmai Alaquiva)

There’s a new resident in Wilkinsburg.

Meet “Flyboy.”

Flyboy sits taller than any human and can be seen for blocks.

He’s got certain powers no human would ever have. After all, he’s a superhero.

Flyboy is the name of the character that was illustrated on a building at the corner of Wallace Avenue and Pitt Street in Wilkinsburg, near the Busway. The mural was created by Hebru Brantley, an internationally-known African American artist from Chicago.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presented Brantley’s gallery show, “I wish I knew (how it felt to be free)” at the August Wilson Center last year. The Trust brought Brantley back to the area this year to do the mural. The mural is a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“Yesterday, there was a moment where there was an African American kid walking along the street,” Brantley told the crowd at the April 28 unveiling. “He stopped at the wall, and I was standing across the street watching his interaction. I didn’t engage him, but you saw in that moment where he connected with this wall, and whatever that message was for him, it was impactful. He slowly walked down the block taking apart the piece and really engaging with it. More than anything, that’s really my intended purpose.”

Marita Garrett, a member of the Wilkinsburg council and winner of the May 16 primary for Wilkinsburg mayor, told supporters she was among those in a small group searching for the right spot for the mural to be located. One day, she looked toward the Wilkinsburg Busway and saw an empty building.

“The sun just hit right here,” she said.


Hebru Brantley

“I truly believe that a community needs arts and the culture, that’s essential to any community. If you don’t have that in your community, then what type of community do you really have,” Garrett said.

Flyboy is a character you can’t miss. If one grabs a bite to eat along Penn Avenue, they will see the mural. Headed on the “Fast Bus,” also known as the “P1” or the “EBA?” One is sure to see Flyboy.

Brantley has been recognized nationally for his public works and solo shows in Chicago, London, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles and New York. He’s collaborated with Nike and Adidas, to name a few. Brantley has a Bachelor of Arts degree in film from Clark Atlanta University.

Brantley told the New Pittsburgh Courier that Flyboy is all about empowering Black communities.

“It’s a lot to be said when you enter into African American communities and there’s a lack of representation in these settings (films, comics, cartoons),” he said. “So for me, it’s important to sort of create a character that can stand and be a hero (to African American audiences) and be a symbol of empowerment.”

“It’s so much more than art,” Garrett said. “What it signifies to our youth is that you can truly be anything that you want to be and that you should strive for excellence

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Crop Walk

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Events | 0 comments

CROP Walk 2017

Sunday, October 14, is the date for the CROP Walk for 2018.  It consists of walking 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) through the East End to Squirrel Hill and back.  This is an East End community wide program with many churches in Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, and Edgewood involved.  Registration is at 1:00 PM right here at South Avenue UMC and the walk begins about 2:00 PM. 

 Why do we walk?  The motto of the Church World Service CROP walk is “We walk because they walk.”   In many places in the world, people must walk to attend school, to obtain food and water, or to obtain firewood.  This project raises money to help provide food and clean water for the hungry people of the world

We are looking for volunteers who will walk the 10 K and sponsors to support the walkers with money for the needs of people around the world.  People who are willing to walk can sign up on Sundays at the Action Table after the Service.  The walkers will then be asking you to sign on as sponsors with your gifts of money.   

 The money raised is divided as follows: 25% stays in the local area for Wilkinsburg Community Ministry and for the East End Cooperative Ministry; 75% goes to Church World Service projects around the world.

 Won’t you become involved either as a walker or as a sponsor of those who walk?



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Revolutionary Lifestyle

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
March 1, 2015
“Revolutionary Lifestyle” (1)

Making journeys is not unusual these days. People move to find work. People move to study. Young folks think nothing of travelling for gaps of years. We are a very mobile society.  But the journey of the Lenten season is different. It is an inward journey.

On this second Sunday of Lent Mark’s reading provides many firsts:

The first mention of the cross and the first of 3 times that Jesus discloses his forth             coming death to his disciples. In each case the disciples will respond inappropriately           after which Jesus will offer a call: “If anyone will follow me, let him take up his cross and          follow me.” (Mark. 8:34)

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Wade in the Water

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 22, 2015
“Wade in the Water”

Meditation for the 1st Sunday in Lent

Today is the first Sunday in Lent.  Because of the weather our Ash Wednesday service had to be cancelled, so this is the beginning of our Lenten journey. Often when you think of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, the images of sack cloth and ashes come to mind. But what you may not know is that in the early church Lent was a time to prepare for Baptism; Baptism that would occur on Easter. When we think of Baptism, a different image comes to our minds – water.

Shallow waters are where non-swimmers feel safe…  where people wade and wait. It is a place where people test the climate.

Deep waters can be scary, dangerous, and exciting!   It is a place to strive toward …deep relationships …deep connections…deep understandings. After all, deep waters are where we find mystery…where we find deep, almost unimaginable diversity…where we can be vulnerable …where there is enough space to create deep roots…where people plunge and take chances.

Lent is about going deeper.

We learn from nature that what happens in shallow waters has a lasting effect on the deep. Small talk happens in shallow waters; it is where people build up trust and see if they want to take a relationship deeper. Sometimes   “sayings,” are said in shallow waters to be funny; but sometimes they are not.

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Shining Moments

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 15, 2015

“Shining Moments”

Mark 9:2-8

For many families Harry Potter has become a familiar friend. My grandchildren introduced me to this series and each year a different book in the series appeared on their Christmas lists. As time went on I became familiar with many of the characters. One of my special favorites became Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. (1) For most of the series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school, Hogwarts.

Author J.K. Rowlings describes Professor Dumbledore this way: As a mentor to the central character Harry Potter, “Dumbledore is a very wise man who knows that Harry is going to have to learn a few hard lessons to prepare him for what may be coming in his life. He allows Harry to get into what he wouldn’t allow another pupil to do, and he also unwillingly permits Harry to confront things he’d rather protect him from.” (2)

In some ways the relationship Dumbledore had with Harry reminds me of Jesus and his followers.

Today is Transfiguration Sunday. The story is familiar; the account is recorded in three gospels – Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36 – all containing the same significant details: Jesus… a high mountain …Peter, James and John … the cloud of Presence … Moses and Elijah …and the light.

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