African American women and girls oral history program culminates with celebratory event

"Girl Talk" celebration to recognize the work of teens in the Hill District

INFORMATION CONTACT: Chanessa Schuler, Director of Programs, 412.586.6300 x 8,

PITTSBURGH, PA – “Girl Talk” connects generations of girls and strong, successful women from the same community through meaningful, transformative conversation. This initiative teaches girls to use their voices and the voices of others to make positive community changes and to develop the personal confidence required to explore and succeed in diverse post-secondary education and career options. The program was made possible by a grant from the McAuley Ministries Foundation.

This edition of “Girl Talk” served twenty-nine girls between 11 and 17 years of age. Mentored and guided by SLB Radio staff educators, these girls prepared for and conducted interviews with twenty-five women. Every girl and woman who took part in the project lives or works in the Hill District. The work of each girl is recognized and preserved as first person interviews and youth reflections in a CD with a beautiful full-color booklet. The oral histories documented in “Girl Talk” and reflections by the girls on the process are also available for playback and download at, along with project photographs.

Connecting girls to strong women from the same community exposes girls to powerful role models and future career connections and also helps participants develop a pride of place and vision of a positive future, thereby potentially sharpening the trajectory of their lives. Celebrating and sharing these connections within the neighborhood expands the transformation to the community level as generations connect in a common purpose.

Oral storytelling is a vehicle for understanding cultural memory, living traditions, and the elements of the human condition that create a shared sense of place. “Girl Talk” leverages a community’s greatest assets—its people—to connect and inspire. Teaching girls about audio and digital technology not only provides them with relevant and applicable real-world skills, it also helps to reinforce the idea of career paths without gender labels.

Among the women who were interviewed for the project are Charlene Foggle-Barnett (Carnegie Museum of Art Oral History Coordinator and Archive Specialist of the Teenie Harris Archive); Emma Lucas-Darby (Professor Emerita at Carlow University); Marisa Williams (Regional Executive Director of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh); Ayisha Morgan-Lee (Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Hill Dance Academy Theater); Kira Henderson (Principal of Pittsburgh Weil PreK–5); and Reverend Evelena McFarland (Calvary Baptist Church).

The Community “Girl Talk” Celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center, 1852 Enoch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The event is free and open to the public.

About SLB Radio Productions (SLB)

Founded in 1978, SLB has been at the forefront of community-oriented radio and audio for more than 40 years. Its digital broadcast studio and training facility are co-located with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Since 2004, our flagship live program (The Saturday Light Brigade, a weekly radio program for kids and adults) has expanded to seven radio stations. It conducts workshops year-round in its studios and in schools for more than 5,000 children and youth each year. SLB uses radio and audio to amplify voices of youth—and members of other communities whose stories are often marginalized—to educate, empower, and build community. Its work is based on the principle that all people have the capacity and right to develop their authentic voice and know that their voice matters—that they matter—and that their voice can be used for self-expression, inquiry, and change. SLB uses well-honed approaches and best practices to deliver world-class programming with relevant and transformational outcomes. The programs have been recognized regionally, nationally, and now internationally. Its Youth Express program was recently selected as one of the twelve most innovative educational programs serving youth in Pittsburgh at the HundrED Innovation Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Youth Express will soon be promoted worldwide as a model for capturing, producing, and publishing youth voice. Visit,, and

About McAuley Ministries

Named in honor of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, McAuley Ministries is the grant-making foundation of Pittsburgh Mercy. McAuley Ministries serves as a catalyst for change, committing resources and working collaboratively to promote healthy, safe, and vibrant communities. Grant-making priorities include health and wellness, community and economic development, education, and capacity-building initiatives for nonprofit organizations which focus on the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland, communities historically served by the Sisters of Mercy. McAuley Ministries also provides support to organizations that are sponsored by and/or affiliated with the Sisters. Since its founding by the Sisters of Mercy in 2008, McAuley Ministries has awarded 730 grants and community support totaling more than $31.8 million. It awards approximately $3 million in grants annually, making it one of the largest philanthropic foundations in Southwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about McAuley Ministries and the initiatives it supports, visit