Dear Pitt News Editorial Board,
This past week, The Pitt News Editorial Board published an editorial titled “Pittsburgh says it’s committed to immigrants, it’s time to show it.” Such an article we feel unfairly represents the legislation put forth by Councilman Dan Gilman and inaccurately communicates its purpose as well as its potential to aid immigrant and refugee communities in Pittsburgh. The existence of Councilman Gilman’s legislation must not be interpreted as the failure of Mayor Bill Peduto’s “Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan.” Rather, Gilman’s proposed legislation shall build on the success of the mayor’s pre-existing policies regarding the immigrant and refugee communities. Furthermore, as the director of a community organization that is specifically devoted to serving our immigrant population, I must call on the editorial board for their failure to include the perspective of community members in the article. Immigrant and refugee community organizations are in the best position to evaluate the success and efficacy of the policies put forth by Mayor Peduto and Councilman Gilman, as daily we are witnesses to the ways in which government policies impact individual members of our communities. Therefore, it is imperative that our voices be fairly represented by The Pitt News, a responsibility shared not only by yours but also other media outlets in our city. The misguided framing of the issue by the editorial board overlooks what are meaningful actions proposed by the councilman, developed in partnership with the community — ones we hope will be replicated by municipalities across Allegheny county. For example, his six-part legislation will involve the creation of an Office of Multicultural Affairs, a department which will be responsible for the training of local authorities in order to ensure safe and fair treatment and practices of immigrants. Finally, it is wholly unproductive to attack a city stakeholder who is currently championing immigrant and refugee rights.
Sister Janice Vanderneck, Casa San Jose