A group of protesters march, with arms locked and placards held high, through the streets of East Liberty.

Protesters march in East Liberty. Photo: Nate Smallwood

‘Our Children Are Not Allowed to Make Mistakes,’ and Other Stories

On Friday, March 22, former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was found not guilty in the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II. Rosfeld shot Rose last summer after the teen ran away during a traffic stop, striking him in the back, arm, and face. Rose later died at McKeesport Hospital.

After the verdict was announced, protesters marched from the courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh to East Liberty, a neighborhood where gentrification and skyrocketing rents have systematically pushed out longtime black residents. Marchers locked arms, carried signs with “I am Antwon Rose” and “Justice 4 Antwon” written in black marker, and held photographs of the 17 year old in their hands.

“Our children are not allowed to make mistakes,” writer Brian Broome articulates in an incisive essay published in this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper. “Our children are robbed of the very human act of making bad decisions in youth. Every bad decision made by a Black or brown child serves as some sort of proof of innate bad character and is therefore punishable by death.”

What We’re Reading

A curated selection of writing at the intersection of art, culture, and community, compiled each week by the editors of Storyboard.

Fearing For Your Life
By Brian Broome, Pittsburgh City Paper

I don’t know what I expected to happen, really. Regardless of the outcome, a promising young man would still be senselessly absent from the world. He would have still been violently taken. I don’t know what any of us Black Americans are looking for in these verdicts. Maybe it’s different reasons for each one of us. And, to be honest, it’s not like I couldn’t tell you now what I was looking for while staring at that live stream, it’s that I’m ashamed to tell you what I was looking for.

Read “Fearing For Your Life” by Brian Broome.

Museums Cut Ties With Sacklers as Outrage Over Opioid Crisis Grows
By Alex Marshall, The New York Times

For decades, the Sackler family has generously supported museums worldwide, not to mention numerous medical and educational institutions including Columbia University, where there is a Sackler Institute, and Oxford, where there is a Sackler Library. But now some favorite Sackler charities are reconsidering whether they want the money at all.

Read “Museums Cut Ties with Sacklers…” by Alex Marshall.

Pittsburgh Photography Exhibits Say ‘We Are All Related’
By Bill O’Driscoll, 90.5 WESA

Andrea London has been a portrait photographer for 30 years. . . . And she says she has always let her portraits speak for themselves. But during the 2016 presidential campaign, letting the images do the talking came to seem inadequate.

Read “Pittsburgh Photography Exhibits…” by Bill O’Driscoll.

How Havana’s Street Artists Are Adapting To a Rise in Censorship
By Deni Ellis Béchard, Pacific Standard

Since streaming and sharing video in Cuba is so difficult, Yulier plans to distribute his films via El Paquete, the underground Cuban “Internet,” which consists of terabyte hard drives loaded with media. . . . In a city with a booming black market—in which almost everyone is buying and selling, exchanging money, cracking software, unlocking phones—El Paquete was one of the most important recent innovations, and Yulier has been developing plans to create something like a channel on it, through which he might continue to share his political art openly.

Read “How Havana’s Street Artists Adapt…” by Deni Ellis Béchard.

Photos Reveal the Geography of Basketball
By Amanda Kolson Hurley, CityLab

Sometimes there would be someone, and I would talk to them, show them photos. I could show people even if I couldn’t speak their language. . . . But it’s a different thing when they’re playing. It’s about the game, the sport; you don’t look at the surroundings as much. It’s the same as with a party: When the space is empty, you focus on what remains. The architecture of the place.

Read “Photos Reveal the Geography…” by Amanda Kolson Hurley.

About this Series

A curated selection of writing at the intersection of art, culture, and community, compiled each week by the editors of editors of Storyboard.