Here to Help: Community Resources

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The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and subsequent protests in Pittsburgh and across the country have been triggering and traumatic events for our community. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a reliable source for information and resources to help understand and process these events.

Read community message of support from our President and Director, Mary Frances Cooper.

The following information and resources may be of help during this difficult time:

 

Trauma Resources

Black Therapists in Pittsburgh
Collected resource for individuals seeking black therapists within the Pittsburgh region

Center for Victims
“When most people hear about trauma, they picture hospitals and doctors–but not all wounds are visible. Thanks to our committed allies and donors, we’ve been educating and raising awareness about psychological trauma for decades: how a single event can impact your entire life, how your body and mind respond to the ongoing stress, how your very genetics can change as a result.”

JFCS Community Counseling
JFCS is known as a leader in providing innovative and effective social service solutions to problems facing families and individuals of all ages and walks of life. Services are provided and referrals are made without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, age, handicap or disability. 

National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ)
The National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) employs principles of social and restorative justice seeking transformation in the ways justice questions related to injustice, incivility, conflict, crime and harm are addressed. It promotes effective forms of justice that are safe, just, equitable, sustainable, reparative and socially constructive.

RESOLVE Crisis Services  (Always available at 888-796-8226) 
Resolve is a 24-hour, 365-day crisis service. It’s free to all residents of Allegheny County, regardless of your ability to pay. Both Allegheny County and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital sponsor their services.  You do not need a psychiatric diagnosis to seek help from RESOLVE. They offer many services that do not depend on a formal diagnosis, and they help many people who have never had a psychiatric diagnosis. The 150-member crisis team provides:  crisis counseling and support, referrals and intervention services for adults, teens and their loved ones.

Steel Smiling
“If any Black person in Pittsburgh is uninsured and in need of mental health therapy, please let us know. @steelsmilingpgh has some funding available to help offset costs for your in-person/tele-mental health sessions. Also, if you’re Black and have insurance but can’t afford the co-payments, we have some funding to support with those costs too. Text/email us at (412)-532-9458 or info@steelsmilingpgh.org. We’ll do our very best to honor your needs and get you connected with a Black, culturally-sensitive, clinical professional in a timely manner. Stay safe and please try to center your Healing today.”

YWCA Pittsburgh
“This is a call to action. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. YWCA GP continues to stand against racism. However, we also understand a radical systemic overhaul of racist policies and practices requires movement. The work of freedom is the work of a lifetime. We are here for sustained action until racism is truly eliminated. YWCA’s Center for Racial and Gender Equity offers ongoing anti-racism and racial justice training. Racial justice won’t happen unless we engage on an ongoing basis. We work to protect voting rights and access. The leaders we elect today can impact policy and systems changes to promote racial justice. Our Voice. Our Vote. Our Future.”

They offer immediate assistance through the Resource Center, please complete the online application by clicking here.

 

Legal Resources

Governor Tom Wolf’s Response
Gov. Tom Wolf announced the expanded activation of the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). That activation, combined with the declaration, authorizes PEMA to direct emergency operations in Allegheny, Dauphin and Philadelphia counties, allocating all resources and personnel as deemed necessary to cope with the situation.

National Lawyers Guild – Pittsburgh Chapter
“The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.”

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
“The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.”

 

Informational Resources

Anti-Racism Resource Collection
“Anti-racism work is an ongoing, everyday process of active allyship, listening and learning. In that spirit, the Resource Sharing Project provides a round-up of some of our favorite resources to aid in your journey to undo racism in your coalition and community.  Anti-racism work is an integral part of our work to end sexual violence and essential to advance women of color leadership in our movement and beyond.”

Black Lives Matter Resources
A collection of toolkits and reports covering topics ranging from healing justice and conflict resolution to organizing and the history of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Talking About Race with Kids & Teens
Compiled by CLP librarians, this resource offers information and book recommendations to help caregivers initiate and navigate challenging conversations with kids and teens.

 

Know Your Rights

ACLU’s Know Your Rights – Demonstrations and Protests
General guidelines provided by the American Civil Liberties Union.

B-PEP quick reference brochure “You and the Police”
This brochure has three purposes:  

  1. To outline for people their legal rights when interacting and communicating with the police. 
  2. To inform people of their responsibilities and obligations any time they (or a family member or friend) have contact or involvement with police officers. 
  3. To promote improved relations and understanding between members of the community and the police. 

Law Library of Congress: Right to Peaceful Assembly
First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States Congress from enacting legislation that would abridge the right of the people to assemble peaceably.  The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes this prohibition applicable to state governments.  

The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly.  The right to assemble is not, however, absolute.  Government officials cannot simply prohibit a public assembly in their own discretion, but the government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met. 

Legal Information Institute: Criminal Procedure  
Criminal procedure deals with the set of rules governing the series of proceedings through which the government enforces substantive criminal law. Municipalities, states, and the federal government each have their own criminal codes, defining types of conduct that constitute crimes. Title 18 of the U.S. Code outlines all federal crimes. Typically, federal crimes deal with activities that either extend beyond state boundaries or directly impact federal interests.  

 

Civic Engagement

Exercise Your Right to VOTE!

Are you a resident of PA, at least 18 years old and have a PennDOT ID? Now is the time to make your voice heard by voting for local and national representatives:

VotesPA
Great starting point for voter registration, important deadlines and learning about updates to the voting process. You can also find your polling place and contact information for election officials in your area.

Vote411
VOTE411 is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Whether it’s local, state or federal, every election is important to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities.

Ballots Not Bullets in Minneapolis (Common Cause)
Common Cause Minnesota Executive Director Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera offers a first-person perspective after two nights on the streets of Minneapolis reaching out to communities she has worked in for years and offering people watching around the country a different perspective than cable news.

Find Your Legislator
Reach out to your local legislators. This link provides contact information, committee assignments and term length, along with an extensive directory of current PA legislators.

PCNTV CIVICS 101
Civics 101, a free public service of the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), is an online educational tool to help Pennsylvania students understand how our state government works. This tool is intended to supplement classroom learning, but can also be a useful tool in the home. Programs include interviews with elected officials, tours of the state capitol and Governor’s residence, and so much more. In addition, an interactive video game is available to keep children interested and engaged. A Continuing Education section provides adults with a deeper level of study through talks on related topics. The site is accompanied by a Teacher’s Guide, which provides ideas for ways Civics 101 resources may be used in the classroom.

 

Engage with Local Media

Media Organizations in Pittsburgh
VisitPittsburgh has compiled a list of broadcast and print media for the City of Pittsburgh. Reach out and share your first-hand experiences. Request interviews to set the record straight. Highlight what is happening in your neighborhoods that may be overlooked or incorrectly reported.

PublicSource
PublicSource is the only nonprofit digital-first news organization that lives up to its mission of delivering public-service reporting and analysis in the Pittsburgh region. We are local. We believe in journalism as a public service. We tell stories for a better Pittsburgh.

 

CLP Booklists