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Group looks to galvanize Pittsburgh's black voters

| Friday, June 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly is planning an aggressive campaign to organize black voters in Pittsburgh and force city leaders to improve the city's poorest neighborhoods.

Rick Adams, one of the assembly's officials, said the goal is to elect leaders who will work to reduce crime, substance abuse and unemployment, among other social and economic ills. The organization will formally announce its plans Saturday during a breakfast at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Manchester. It also will honor 10 residents for community service.

“We feel there needs to be a citywide and countywide strategy for the community to address those issues,” Adams said. “We think the most powerful way to approach problems in the community is to, in effect, take a consensus.”

To do that, the assembly is planning the District Precinct Organizing Project. It would recruit two people from predominantly black voting precincts to encourage voter registration and participation and seek consensus from residents on the best ways to address problems plaguing city neighborhoods.

One of the long-range goals is to abolish the practice of purging people from voter registration rolls after a long period of inactivity. Adams said he would also like to create a way in which black voters would be automatically registered when they turn 18, but he is unsure how that might work.

“That's just an idea at this point,” he said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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