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Homewood's biggest problem

Posted by Elwin Green on July 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM

On Wednesday, I met with about 30 other people to spend the entire day talking about Homewood's possibilities, problems and potential solutions. Early in the day, the discussion leader singled me out and asked me something like "What do you see as the biggest problem?"

I didn't talk about crime, and I didn't talk about blight. I talked about communication. I said that Homewood is a "broken information ecosystem," in which too much of the information available to residents consists of rumor, innuendo, assumptions and bad memories.

I could have offered this flyer, which I picked up Tuesday at the Homewood Carnegie Library, as Exhibit A:  

This flyer exemplifies Homewood's communication problem. Here's why:


  1. It makes assertions without any evidence to back them up. It provides no reason to believe that what it says is true.
  2. The assertions are all negative in character.
  3. It does not tell you who is behind it. You, as a reader, have no way to question them, or to compliment them, or to offer them your side of this story.


Even if what the flyer says is true, the flyer gives you no reason to believe that it is true. Therefore, the only reason for someone to believe it, is because they want to - say, someone who already has a personal dislike for Rashad Byrdsong. For such a person, the flyer validates what they already think and feel, without providing trustworthy information.

That is destructive communication, it stunts our growth as a community.


Don't hear what I am not saying. I am not saying that what the flyer says is false - or true. I am saying that the flyer gives you no reason to believe that it is true. I am saying that some people will believe that it is true, simply because they want to. And I am saying that the perpetual validation of assumptions with information that may be false is bad. Extremely bad.

I will get back to you on the question of whether or not there is a deal between S&A and CEA. When I do, it will be with information from the sources. And you will know how to contact me to respond.

What do you think about the flyer? Am I making good points, or am I off my rocker?

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Reply kxm
11:03 AM on July 27, 2012 
Spot on, my friend. I ignore information presented in this manner for all the reasons you state. I don't like things presented with no source, no background information and no way for me to verify information. Present verifiable FACTS and then feel free to give me your OPINION, but don't conflate the two. Failure to disclose the source of the flyer also prevents me from evaluating what interests the person(s) may have in the project--what agenda s/he may be bringing to the table.
Reply Kevin B.
6:31 PM on July 27, 2012 
Well stated. The problems of Homewood are many, but communication (or the lack thereof!) is an issue that rises to the top.
Reply Jerome Jackson
9:34 PM on July 27, 2012 
The flyer is not an honest description of what took place.
Reply Elwin Green
10:08 PM on July 27, 2012 
kxm - you make a good point that I hadn't thought of, about the possible agenda of whoever produced the flyer...
Kevin B. - thanks - I see this type of thing happen over and over...
Jerome Jackson - are you able to share more?
Reply Yusuf Baskin
11:35 PM on August 20, 2012 
Homewood Nation, this flyer is miscommunication of an idea and concept that is really needed for our Senior Citizens of Homewood. I personally know & have work along side Rashad Byrdsong decreasing the Gang Violence in the early 1990's. Brother "Brydsong has been getting the raw end of the Black Community comments for years. This flyer is not a fair representation of what this good brother really wants and envisions for this project. I am a man of integrity and if this flyer is accurate, then it is the responsibility of the community to hold Rashad or any citizen accountable. It is so easy to get someone to believe half truth. I personally cannot comment on the flyer because I am a strong believer of giving someone the professional courtesy to allow them to defend themselves. So, making a comment without having all of the information is not fair to brother Rashad or the Homewood community. However, I can say, a series of communication needs to occur so that fair representation can be provided for this project. Historically, the black community has allowed nonblacks plan, discuss, design and implement notable projects that impact the black community without the input of the black community. This is 2012 and if this flyer is true, People of the Homewood Nation needs to stand up and hold everyone accountable. If this flyer is a miscommunication, People of the Homewood Nation needs to call a mandatory meeting to strategize, discuss and plan a comprehensive approach that will allow this project to employee skilled and unskilled citizens of Homewood for this project. Homewood Nation, stand up and stop pointing the finger at brother Rashad and be accountable!!! Brother Rashad, do the right thing and Allah will continue to bless you. Eid Mubarak

Yusuf Baskin-Homewood-4-Life

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In October 2005, after a bullet came through his living room window, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Elwin Green began writing "My Homewood," the first blog on the P-G's website. For 4 1/2 years, "My Homewood" shared stories of tragedy and beauty, of perplexity and hope - stories that live again in "The Homewood Chronicles."

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