Team 5 Update 2/4/2017

Team 5, Brian, Vicky, and Justin, wanted to discuss what we think our theme “Lives Lost” means. To us, “Lives Lost” is more than just about death. We interpret it as subjects such “Lost Opportunities”, “Lost Livelihood”, and “Lost Identity”. We’re purposely giving the topic of “Lives Lost” a broader definition, including but not limited to death within the community. We feel this will bring about opportunities to intervene into the existing situation that is Hazelwood.  

On Wednesday evening, we met with three members of the Hazelwood community at the Center of Life. As a team, we also discussed the fact that people get stuck in vicious cycles. For example, we learned from Saundra, a Hazelwood Community member and local activist, that there is a lack of support the kids living in Hazelwood, as well as for young parents. This causes people to fall out of what we consider social norms, creating a “pipeline from school to prison”.

Moving forward, we developed a handful of directions for us to take.

We plan to seek out organizations within Hazelwood as well as within the greater Pittsburgh area that focuses on reintegrating former inmates into society.

Another direction we are considering is researching gentrification and how it would affect Hazelwood. Based on our conversations Wednesday evening, we felt that residents could benefit from knowing what to expect.

A final direction we consider pursuing is the feeling nostalgia felt by the community for days before the steel closed. We would like to understand what about the time when the mill was still open made life “good” for residents, not limited to economic benefits of the steel mill. We want to understand the qualities and aspects that made life for Hazelwood residents good when the mill was open.


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