Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Bloggers

I Am Not a Writer

Pittsburgh Bloggers Guest Blogger Event 2016

Today’s post comes from my friend Sue Kerr of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers.  For April Fools, local bloggers are having some fun by showing up on other blogs with guest posts. You can see my post over on my friend Emily Levenson’s new blog harvest + bloom, where I talk about how a potential freelancing opportunity allowed me to see the value of time in a new way. 

And now, without further ado, please welcome Sue Kerr!

I am not a writer. There’s no unfinished manuscript in my life, nor any lingering regret about not pursuing a career as a journalist. I don’t write poetry and I’ve never kept a journal in my entire life.

In 2005, I began blogging as a community organizing tool (I’m a social worker, not a writer.) I never expected to still be at it in the year 2016. Didn’t expect to write – WRITE – over 2,000 blog posts. Didn’t see it coming that my blog would be the longest running LGBTQ blog in Pennsylvania (yep, the whole darn Commonwealth) nor did I imagine being asked to write things for other people’s sites. Sometimes, they pay me. Who knew?

I should also tell you that I am not an artist. But somehow I find myself now managing a multi-year community art project on my blog. I’m a blogger artist attached to a gallery and funded by a major foundation. How did that happen?

Blogging. Blogging happened and now I am fortunate enough to be curating a project called AMPLIFY which explores the everyday ‘lived experiences’ of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) neighbors in Western Pennsylvania. I collect their stories using an online form and publish them in a Q&A format without editing or modifying their words.

Blogging allows for many things. It allows me to publish without concerns for grammar or spelling overruling someone’s authentic voice. It allows me to modify the questions as we move through the project. I have the flexibility to use pseudonyms to protect identities. And I have the privilege of using my own voice via my original content to continue drawing people’s attention to this curated archive of their neighbor’s experiences.

We started in January 2015 and now find ourselves with more than 125 contributions from people with ties to 18 of the 26 Western PA counties in our cachement area. They range from 18 – 71 and run the gamut of identity, gender, race, religion, family status and so forth. Their stories are profound and ordinary; I’m sure you would find at least one anecdote that rings true for you, no matter who you are.

There are three reasons why I am doing this. First, I believe that the power of sharing one’s story is a positive experience and want to create a safe space for my LGBTQ siblings and neighbors to be able to do that on their own terms. Second, there is also power in having access to an archive of people’s stories that mirror your own experiences. A blog archive can be accessed anywhere in the world where there is Internet access. It serves both as a unifying experience now for today’s neighbors and a permanent record of what life is like in the mid 2010’s for LGBTQ residents in Pennsylvania, a state with marriage equality but no statewide non-discrimination protections. And, finally, I know that the act of being more visible is a dynamic force that creates change.

AMPLIFY will continue throughout 2017 so we have the opportunity to reach out and connect with people in the outlying counties, to gain their trust and invite their participation. After that, who knows what is next? I am working with the Senator John Heinz History Center to ensure that AMPLIFY’s archive is accessible.

In the meantime, I am publishing an AMPLIFY zine series and working with a local playwright to create a staged version of the blog posts. I just submitted a forum piece to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And there are three partially completed grant proposals in my inbox.

Clearly, this not a writer thing hasn’t worked out for me. And I couldn’t be happier.

Established in 2005, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents is the longest running LGBTQ blog in Pennsylvania. Editor Sue Kerr is a social worker, social media consultant and avidly shares pet pics to her Instagram account. She is currently a Resident Artist with Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery where she created the #AMPLIFY project. You can find her on Twitter at @pghlesbian24 and Instagram @pghlesbian

Thanks, Sue!  For more April Fools fun, visit the other participating Pittsburgh Bloggers listed below.  

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Goodness Madness // Last Minute Panic // Steel City Intrigue // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman

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Armchair BEA 2013: Paths to Becoming a Better Blogger

Armchair BEA 2013

Armchair BEA logo design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

I love today’s Armchair BEA blogging topic because it coincides so well with much of what I’ve been contemplating and working toward recently.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s introduction to these series of posts, I’ve been blogging for nearly five years. During that time, my approach has undergone some dramatic changes while certain things have remained the same.

Authenticity vs. Anonymity

The obvious change is that I’m now (as of last week!) blogging under my real name. As our lives began to be documented more and more online, and as my professional and personal interests started to blend, it became more difficult for me to blog under the veil of anonymity, as I did in the very early days.

Back then, I wasn’t even Melissa; I was Betty and Boo’s Mommy. After awhile, maintaining that persona became too much work as I realized that if I was authentic (which I always try to be in my writing and my life anyway), then there was no reason to hide online. My main concern was always what an employer or potential employer would think about my blog, that I would be fired for it. I was tired of being afraid about … well, what, exactly?

I mean, I wasn’t exposing corporate secrets or dishing dirt about my coworkers. I was, for the most part, just giving my opinions on books and sharing our family’s experiences with raising a son who has autism.

I’ve come to realize that if those are make-or-break issues to a potential employer, then there are probably bigger problems at play there. (And then I was laid off anyway – although not for reasons connected to the blog – so it didn’t matter.)

Another issue with changing to self-hosting and dropping the anonymity was – and is – the desire to write professionally. I’ve been writing a novel, and I’ve blogged about that process. It’s hard to stay anonymous as a blogger when you’re using your blog as a platform for your writing (and kind of counterproductive, too, right?). So I realized that if I really do want this, then I’d better get comfortable with the idea of blogging under my real name. (Or, at least some name other than Betty and Boo’s Mommy!)

It has been liberating. Freeing. For me, I think it has been the right choice.

Creating Community

One key to growing as a blogger has been getting involved in blogging communities – both online and in real life. Within our online book blogging community, there are many ways to do that, whether it is by participating in or hosting events, supporting new bloggers, promoting authors, and much more.  Although we have grown and changed considerably in the past five years, and many micro-niches have developed in book-blogging, I still think there is ample room for people who have a passion for books, who write well, who have integrity, and who are committed to creating quality content while finding their own voice.

There may be opportunities to do that within one’s larger real-life community as well. In Pittsburgh, that comes more naturally here than in some other places. In my introductory post yesterday, I wrote that this city seems to attract incredibly creative, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, and collaborative people.

I’m getting more involved in some of the behind-the-scenes work for Pittsburgh Bloggers, and all one needs to do is peruse that site to see the wide variety of topics that Pittsburghers blog about. Separate from that, there is a Pittsburgh Bloggers Facebook page where we help each other with issues, occasionally guest post on each other’s sites, and come together to promote various causes. We also get together IRL for regular “tweetups” and there are creative groups where you can find kindred blogging types, such as Propelle and CreativeMornings Pittsburgh.  A few bloggers are even akin to local celebrities here, which is kind of fun.

The Future of Blogging (for me)

I’m interested in exploring local blogging collaborations from a social justice perspective, especially given my nonprofit background. I’m keenly interested in women and girls issues, and would like to do more work in that realm while connecting with similarly focused bloggers. I’m also working on a new idea involving the Pittsburgh writing and literary communities.

I’m starting to submit some writing locally. Two of my personal essays that were published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were based on blog posts. I was recently hired as a freelance book reviewer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as well (my first review should appear in a week or so), and on June 18 I’ll be doing a reading of my novel-in-progress at Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, Pa. combined with a talk about book blogging. (It’s open to the public if you are nearby!)

One goal for the future is to work more closely with authors on a professional basis. I recently edited Melissa Luznicky Garrett’s young adult novel, The Prophecy, and I absolutely loved the experience. We wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for blogging and we’ve become friends in the process. I’d like to think I helped make her book stronger. You can read more about my professional writing and editorial services here, then contact me through my website if you’re interested in talking with me further.

Every so often, someone or a group of someones decides that blogging is dead (again) and writes another version of its obituary. I don’t see it that way and never have. I see blogging – and book blogging in particular – as something very much alive, a form of expression that continues to evolve and change.

Just like those of us who love it so much.

 

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Pittsburgh Nonprofit Entrepreneuring Youth Helps Ignite Students’ Dreams

Pittsburgh has been getting all kinds of accolades recently for being a hotbed for entrepreneurs.

Now, if you’re a Pittsburgh-area middle school or high school student with a great business idea and aspirations of soon being your own boss, one nonprofit wants you to envision yourself among them.

Entrepreneuring Youth (known as E Youth) is helping young people learn about business creation and experience ownership. By partnering with educators, parents, and youth work professionals, they use entrepreneurial learning to help students create opportunities, build abilities and gain confidence.

And it’s right here in our city, giving students opportunities to think about a future that they may have otherwise believed to be out of reach. I’m happy to help promote this worthy cause because when I first moved to Pittsburgh, E Youth President Jerry Cozewith was one of the first people I met. We sat next to each other at a Pittsburgh Technology Council conference, and Jerry was extremely gracious, helpful, and supportive to me as I began to find my way professionally.

A few weeks ago, my new friend John (he of the esteemed Pittsburgh blog Ya Jagoff!) asked me to consider writing a blog post about E Youth’s Ignite Possibilities event. I couldn’t say no. (Plus, you kind of don’t say no to the guy who writes Ya Jagoff. I mean, rilly.) 

At E Youth’s Ignite Possibilities business expo, scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, June 6 at The Rivers Club, Downtown, some of the area’s brightest middle school and high school students will have the chance to showcase their business ideas and plans to Pittsburgh’s civic leaders and business people. It’s all part of the George W. Tippins Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the Tippins Foundation and named in honor of one of Pittsburgh’s most successful entrepreneurs, inventors and financiers. (That would be George W. Tippins.)

Most importantly, says my friend Jerry Cozewith, it’s about what the possibility of owning a business can represent to someone exploring what they want to do in life and the skills needed to get there.

“The Ignite Possibilities event serves as a celebration of youthful entrepreneurship and the positive life lessons it fosters,” he said. “Each year our attendance grows as more adults learn about the initiative and spirit of self-motivation being cultivated among our young people.”

“Constructive competition is an integral component of E Youth’s innovative programs,” Cozewith continued.  “The competitions provide entrepreneurship students a unique opportunity to hone their marketing, presentation and communication skills, network with local business leaders who serve as competition judges and coaches, and compete for seed capital grants to support their business or academic goals.”

During the pre-event reception, several young business owners will receive seed capital awards to launch or grow their business. The first-place finisher will earn a trip, sponsored by E Youth, to a national competition conducted by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)  in New York City later this year. Last year, that distinction went to brothers Jesse and Josiah Council, ages 14 & 15, co-founders of J&J’s Soothing Cream. They finished as national runners up, earning $5,000 to invest in their education and their business growth.

You can learn more about Entrepreneuring Youth by visiting www.eyouthamerica.org. The Igniting Possibilities event is free, but registration is needed. To register:
http://www.showclix.com/event/IgnitePossibilities2013

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you!

copyright 2013, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Springtime Outings with the Beez Family (A Pittsburgh Bloggers Guest Post from BeezusKiddo)



Today, as part of some April Fools shenanigans with othePittsburgh Bloggers, nobody is where they are supposed to be. Meaning that, today I’m featuring a guest post from my new friend Elizabeth Collura who is an attorney, wife, mom, and one of my favorite local bloggers. 

Elizabeth’s blog, the awesomely-named BeezusKiddo, has been one of my favorites since we moved here to Pittsburgh because she, Mr. Beez, and Baby Beez seem to do ALL THE AMAZING THINGS in this city. I’ve gotten so many great ideas from her blog. (And for my bookish friends, if you were thinking that the Beezus part refers to the Beverly Cleary character, you would be right.) 

And now, without further ado, please welcome Elizabeth from BeezusKiddo

Springtime Outings with the Beez Family

The weather man tells me that this week there is finally hope of Spring returning! Perhaps this frightful winter weather won’t be permanent after all!


Life being what it is, with errands and laundry and what not, it’s hard to find time to just relax.  But with the hopes of spring around the corner, I’m itching for some adventures.  If I had a whole day to spend just chillin out maxin relaxin all cool, this is how I’d spend it:


We’d start our day out with a hearty breakfast.  Pancakes at the Dor-Stop? Yes, please!



Next we’d head into Oakland. The first order of business would be a visit to the Carnegie Library. Baby Beez could read and play in the kids area, while I read a magazine and Mr. Beez surfs the internet.  No visit is complete without checking out an armful of bedtime stories, and a stack of Dora and Elmo videos too.


After the library, a visit to Schenley Plaza would be in order.  In the summertime, they offer monthly family day events where carousel rides are free, and there are activities like face painting, balloon animals and caricatures.  We are also big fans of the frequent free concerts and theater performances in the Plaza.  Even when there isn’t a special event going on, the charming carousel is well worth a spin.


After all this, it would be time for Baby Beez and Mr. Beez to take a nap.  If I knew what was good for me, I’d take a nap too…but I just can’t help myself. So I’d head out to the Allegheny River for some quality kayak and podcast time.


And after everyone is well rested and I’ve cleaned the river water smell of myself, we would trek back to the North Shore to take in our beloved Buccos.


We’d each be treated to our favorite snacks: French fries for Baby Beez and Mr. Beez, and Quaker Steak BBQ wings for me.


Hopefully the Pirates will score some runs and we can see the fireworks.  We know those Bucco’s well enough to have well-practiced loss scowls.



But maybe this year? Right? I think it’s time for a winning season! Happy opening day, yinz!
OK, yinz see what I mean? I’m exhausted just reading that! I’ve never been to the Dor-Stop nor the main branch of the Carnegie Library. I had no idea that there was a carousel in Schenley Park, and maybe if I get myself to a Pirates game this year their record will change. (Hope springs eternal, right?) Four great Pittsburgh ideas in one post. Thanks so much, Elizabeth!  As part of the April Fools Pittsburgh Bloggers event, I’m guest-posting about what to do when “You’ve Lost That Blogging Feeling” over at Will Reynolds Young’s blog. 

Photo Credits: Top photo taken by me, March 30, 2013, Pittsburgh as seen from the top of the Duquesne Incline. All other photos by Elizabeth Collura. 


Links to other participating Pittsburgh Bloggers and their posts are here: 
Making Rainbows for The Steel Trap
A Librarian’s Lists & Letters for Prettyburgh
Prettyburgh for Oh Honestly, Erin
Oh Honestly, Erin for everybody loves you
everybody loves you… for The Great Scott! Blog
The Great Scott! Blog for jelly jars
jelly jars for Glitzburgh
Glitzburgh for Pittsburgh Hot Plate
Pittsburgh Hot Plate for fooding with Emily
fooding with Emily for ‘lil Burgers
‘lil Burgers for Red Pen Mama
Red Pen Mama for Crank Crank Revolution
Crank Crank Revolution for Yinz R Readin
Yinz R Readin for Beezus Kiddo
Beezus Kiddo for the betty and boo chronicles (obviously ….)
the betty and boo chronicles for Will Reynolds Young
Will Reynolds Young for Tall Tales from a Small Town
Tall Tales from a Small Town for Ya Jagoff
Ya Jagoff for Sean’s Ramblings
Sean’s Ramblings for Love The Burgh
Love The Burgh for Primped in Pittsburgh
Primped in Pittsburgh for Making Rainbows


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The 35 Day Project: Kindness #1 – Bus Stop Waiting

Yesterday I told you about my friend and fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Tiffany Harkleroad. She’s launched “The 35 Day Project,” a spread-as many acts-of-kindness-as-you-can initiative for the 35 days leading up to her 35th birthday, which is on April 20. She’s encouraged her friends to join in. If you can do one act, great! If you can do all 35, even better. No pressure.

These acts don’t have to cost much money (and in my case, they can’t, given that I’m still unemployed and trying to make a go of this freelance writing, editing, and consulting business). But kindness doesn’t have to have a big price tag, so I’m all in. (Plus, you know I love this kind of thing.)

Today is a miserable weather day here in Pittsburgh, no question. I didn’t expect a snow day, but I was pretty sure the freezing rain and “slippy” (see, this Philly girl’s gettin’ da ‘Burgh lingo dahn!) roads would be enough for a 2 hour delay.

Not so much.

As I waited with my kids at the bus stop, it occurred to me that today is probably a pretty tough day to be a bus driver. Not only with the crappy, unrelenting winter weather, but also with the emotional heartache of Saturday’s bus crash involving the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team and the loss of their coach and her baby. My kids have only been taking the bus since early February, but every morning and every afternoon, the bus driver – a kindly, grandmotherly type – waves to me as she drives off.

This afternoon, this will be waiting with me at the bus stop. Some Little Bites muffins, some packets of tea, and a thank you note that says, inside:

“It’s not easy driving a school bus on regular days, especially days like these. Thanks for all you do to keep our kids safe today and every day! Enjoy some tea, muffins, and relaxation on us.” 

Want to be part of Tiffany’s 35 Day Project, too? Go here.

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you!

copyright 2013, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles.

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The Sunday Salon: A Bit O’Randomness

Top o’ the morn’ to all of you and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Whether you are Irish or not, it’s a good day for spreading a little luck because, as Sir Paul McCartney sings, we can all use a little luck to make this whole damn thing work out, can’t we?

Anyway, I’ve had a bunch of things I’ve been meaning to make mention of here, so I thought I’d do a bit o’ randomness for you.

  • This week, I finished The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (my review will be up tomorrow, as part of the TLC Book Tour). You’re going to hear me talk about this book for a long time. It has more than earned a spot on my All-Time Favorite Books List. Yes, it’s that good. As Beth Kephart says in her review of this book, “[n]o one will ever convince me that Talmadge didn’t live, or that the baby Angelene isn’t living, still, or that somewhere in the northwest, a grove of gnarled trees isn’t recalling two ruined sisters.”  My thoughts exactly. 

  • Loved this guest post (“I Read the Book … Or Did I?”) on Book Riot from Andrew Shaffer. I could write a whole post of my own about this very subject, but that’s precisely why I’m participating in the Little Women read-along currently underway (and being hosted by Florinda and Fizzy Thoughts). Had you asked, I would have said unequivocally that Little Women was absolutely a book I’ve read. But now … I’m not so sure. I know I’ve started this (several times, actually) but never finished it. I just started this (again!) last night. 
  • Have you heard about Hand-Picked Words yet? I am SO IN LOVE with this idea. (Full disclosure: One of my essays has been chosen for one of the boxes, but I would love this anyway.) You know how some farmers offer boxes, where you get an assortment of fresh produce on a weekly basis in exchange for a subscription fee? Well, Hand-Picked Words is the same thing in literary form. It’s a monthly box for book lovers: hand-picked stories, novel excerpts, essays, poems, and the like. At the same time, it’s a new way of self-publishing, which helps authors market their work and and retain the rights to it. It’s the well-thought out brainchild of Danica Stone, who launched a Kickstarter campaign for this project. I’m overjoyed to see this morning that Hand-Picked Words has reached its goal!
  • I got a new editing project! This is the second novel I’ve had the privilege to work on, which I’m very excited about. 
  • If you missed my announcement on Friday, I was asked to do a reading and talk about blogging for Words in Process. They gather monthly (April through October) at Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, Pa. to hear a featured writer read from his or her work, which is followed by a Q and A session and open mic. If you’re anywhere near Ligonier, I’d love to have you join us on June 18 at 7 p.m. (It’s open to the public and free of charge.) 
  • Finally, since this has been a bit of a self-promotional post, I’ll end with spreading some kindness. Tiffany Harkleroad is a Pittsburgh blogger (and a book blogger, to boot!) and today kicks off what she is calling The 35 Day Project. To celebrate her birthday, Tiffany has launched a 35 day act-of-kindness-a-thon and everyone is invited to the party. All that’s needed is to commit to doing one act of kindness on one day between today (March 17) and April 20 (Tiffany’s 35th birthday). Of course, more acts are encouraged, too. 
Hope this Sunday treats you kindly – and may a little luck come your way, too! 

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you! 
copyright 2013, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.
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    Remember Her Name: Ka’Sandra Wade


    Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents

    Pittsburgh’s first homicide of the year was a domestic violence incident that took the life of Ka’Sandra Wade. Today, I’m participating in an effort organized by my friend Sue, who writes the blog Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and who is an active member of the local social media community, including The Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Society.

    Among the goals of today’s Pittsburgh Cyber Vigil is to remember Ka’Sandra Wade’s name. All too often in such incidents, it is the name of the alleged perpetrator that stays with us and perhaps the circumstances of the crime itself. Today, we’re bringing attention to who Ka’Sandra was – a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship, an ambitious worker with aspirations of a better life, and a mother of an 11 year old son named Zaire.

    I didn’t know Ka’Sandra. I admit that I also didn’t know many of the details of this case until I first learned of Sue’s efforts with the Pittsburgh Cyber Vigil. (Maria from 2 Political Junkies has a great synopsis on her post, “Remembering Ka’Sandra Wade.) But what haunts me is that Ka’Sandra knew she was in a bad relationship and was trying to leave – always the most dangerous time for those in domestic violence situations. Ka’Sandra had also reached out to and had the support of coworkers at her job. Finally, she called 911 on New Year’s Eve when she was in trouble.

    There is an investigation into the police response to that 911 call. From the reports, this appears to be rather botched (to say the least) – with investigators showing up and taking the word of a male individual that everything was fine and never speaking to the person who made the call. As Sue writes, “[t]he situation is complicated and tragic and has generated an outcry from the community to push for better investigation of domestic violence allegations, stronger laws to protect women and more awareness on the part of the community.”

    We start today, by remembering Ka’Sandra Wade’s name and by pledging to remember the names of all those lost.

    Other Posts from Bloggers Participating:

    Losing Sight of the Shore –  BECAUSE Ka’Sandra Wade can not.

    2 Political Junkies (Maria) – Remembering Ka’Sandra Wade
    2 Political Junkies (Maria) – One More Thing
    Wonder Women Wanderings – In Honor of Kasandra Wade

    Podcasts
    Truality Radio – Host Ezra is an old friend of Ka’Sandra and saw her one week before her death. He describes that last encounter.
    My name is Leslie Smith.  I’m known by most as Ezra.  I’m a spoken word artist and actor from Pittsburgh, Pa.  I’m so saddened by the lost of Ka’Sandra.  I called her “Pink”.  I met her in 2000 while attending the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center with her.  We both were in the college program.  We dated briefly, but remained friends.  I ran into her every once in a while and we would just say hello to one another and keep it going.  I saw her about a week and a half before her murder in East Liberty standing in front of a building.  We said our usual hellos and I kept walking.  But, then, something told me to stop, turn around, and chat with her for a little bit.  So, I turned around and asked her how she’s been.  I knew that Pink had gone through some rough times in her life from past discussions and I was hoping she was in a good place now.  She said she was about to start working full time at ACTION United and was about to start attending Devry University to receive her bachelor’s degree. Ka’Sandra sounded so proud of her accomplishments. There was a gentleman standing outside with her and I wasn’t sure if he was her boyfriend.  I asked if he was and he said no and they both laughed.  I told them I was just making sure I wasn’t disrespecting anybody.  I said, “Well, good for you.  Keep it up.”  She said thanks and I went on my way.  I left thinking to myself, “Well, there’s a job corps success story”, smiling to myself.  I was so happy for her.  She had overcame and accomplished a lot.  I still can’t believe she’s gone.
    Twitter
    Please follow #RememberHerName
    Other Mentions
    Melissa McEwen at Shakesville included the vigil in her weekly lists of must-read posts.

    Additional resources:

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