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, Mayor of Wilkinsburg, 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 2021

Sunday, October 10, is the date for the CROP Walk for 2021.  This year, each team will pick how and when they will walk.   This is an East End community wide program with many churches in Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, and Edgewood involved.  

 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 or an optional 1 mile 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.  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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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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The Exorcist

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 1, 2015

“The Exorcist”

Mark 1: 21-28

It has been centuries since the man with the unclean spirit was healed; our understanding of our bodies has increased in leaps and bounds. We know even more about the miracles of our brains, our nervous system, our circulatory system, our skeletal system. In our day and time it is not demons that cause illness.

Today demons live in books and movies.  One of the most famous is The Exorcist (1973).

It is ranked number 2 in the list of horror movies that depict demon possession and exorcism.  Just in case you are wondering, The Shining is ranked number one – but there is also a debate on the list on whether or not it really fits in this category.

Back to The Exorcist – the website says this about the movie:

“The standard by which all other demonic possession movies are judged, The Exorcist     has terrified millions of viewers over the years with its then- (and still somewhat)            shocking portrayal of the possession of a young girl, introducing now-standard            possession movie elements like levitation, vomit, profanity and body contortions.”

If the site is correct and this is how we view demon possession, it is little wonder why many people have difficulty relating this morning’s scripture.  But what would it look like if we made an intentional decision to separate our understanding of demon possession? The view depicted in movies like the Exorcist could be understood as entertainment (or not, depending on whether or not you enjoy these types of movies or books).

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It’s Only the First Step

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
January 25, 2015

“It’s Only the First Step”

Mark 1:14-20

What would make you drop everything and pursue an entirely new life? A great job offer? A marriage proposal? The chance to make a huge difference in another part of the world? What do you think — what would prompt you to take off from everything you know for something entirely different?

That’s essentially the scene that Mark describes and, truth be told, most of us have a hard time imagining doing what the future disciples do.

Time plays a significant role in the Gospel of Mark, the key word throughout his account is “immediately!” Things happen fast in his tale…and if you blink, you just might miss a crucial detail.

It all begins with those first words Jesus utters, words of invitation and challenge: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” It is a bold proclamation! Notice, he did not say, “Keep doing what you’re doing, the kingdom of God is a ways off yet” or “the kingdom of God is what you will experience after you die.”  “No,” Jesus says, “you don’t have to wait until you die to experience a whole different kind of life. Now is the time.” 

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