Community Conversation: Healing & Building Community as NeighborsMay 26, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The past calendar year has presented extraordinary unprecedented challenges that have in many ways both forced us apart and brought us together. A global pandemic, social and racial justice movements in the wake of violence, a tumultuous election, a violent insurrection, and untold personal costs have taken their toll. We stand now looking at a post-Covid era and, in the midst of uncertainty, feel the call to unite, build community, and invest in resilience.
Join us for a conversation that honors the past year and looks forward to living together in community as neighbors and citizens. Josiah Gillam, the My Brother’s Keeper Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office of Equity, will moderate a conversation among our three panelists, Keshira haLev Fife, Brian Burley, and Itha Cao. Following this conversation, community members will have the opportunity to join in the conversation and for further dialogue in small groups through breakout rooms. We invite you to come ready to listen, learn, and contribute to this exciting discussion.
Register on Zoom here to join the webinar, or watch live on Facebook @WorldAffairsPGH. This event is free to attend and open to all.
Josiah Gilliam serves as the My Brother’s Keeper Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office of Equity which focuses on collective impact serving Black men and boys alongside other intersectional initiatives. He is a Pittsburgh resident and serves on the Board of Directors for PUMP and the Union Project.
Brian Burley’s passions + purpose lie in helping people & businesses go from good to better, and from better to best (himself included). He believes more than anything in the power of people + in businesses’ abilities to adapt to the new workplace and workforce. He believes in hope, truly the idea that if you expose more humans to what is possible and representation of that possibility, then they will reach farther than they ever thought. He believes in the tribe, not the tribe in the sense of separation, but in the sense of community and space where people can come together and be exactly who they were put on this planet to be.
Brian is an author + Chief Vision Officer of YNGBLKPGH, Pittsburgh’s largest and most engaged social talent community and brand for Black Millennials. In a little over a year, YNGBLKPGH (the phrase “young black Pittsburgher”) has gone from a negative phrase regionally to a positive one. A community some would say is nonexistent, has become a regional force with philanthropic, political & industry fervor. To boost, a book of over 140 Millennials that has sold over 3,000 copies and been adopted by educational institutions around the region and a community of over 4,000.
In addition to YNGBLKPGH, Brian also specializes in the space of human capital strategy and consults with both business, educational & philanthropic clients around the region. Once again, supporting the theme of taking businesses from good to great, especially in these unique times for businesses evolving right before our eyes.
Itha Cao is the chef and owner of The Hungry Cao, offering Chinese cooking classes and private events that since 2017 has had the dual mission of elevating the standing of ethnic Chinese cuisine in Pittsburgh and donating to a local social justice cause/organization.
She is also Senior Civic Innovation Specialist at the City of Pittsburgh, Department of Innovation and Performance, where she leads the City’s Civic Tech efforts through external partnerships and is the program manager of PGHLab, the City’s urban incubator for startups. Prior to her current role, Itha served as a Policy Analyst for Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, Office of Equity, focusing on special programs and initiatives that impacted vulnerable communities: digital equity and inclusion, food insecurity, land recycling, and Asian American affairs.
Itha believes in civic engagement through diverse representation and currently serves as the Impact Officer for the World Economic Forum’s Pittsburgh Global Shapers community, and is a Board member of Civically, Vibrant Pittsburgh, the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Urban Magnate (PUMP), and the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. She is also a proud high school mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program.
Keshira haLev Fife (she/they pronouns) is a Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) and a queer Jewish woman of Colour who delights in serving as community weaver, prayer leader, lifespiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress, teacher and public speaker. She is Executive Director of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, founder/co-leader of Kesher Pittsburgh, Program Director of the ALEPH Kesher Fellowship, and Lead Facilitator for Keshet’s GLBTQ+ Jewish Youth of Colour programming. Keshira received smicha from the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute in 2017 and earned her BS 2000 and MS 2001 at Carnegie Mellon University. After many years of traveling and living abroad, she and her beloved once again make their home on Osage and Haudenosaunee land, also called Pittsburgh, PA.