OBID is listening.

OBID is listening.

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) believes that it is our moral obligation and duty to acknowledge and stand against the systemic racism and inequality that is, and always has been, affecting our country. We believe that Black Lives Matter and that we are responsible for creating a space that cultivates and recognizes diversity.

We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose II, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and the countless other lives that were lost before them.

As an organization, as a community, as a country, we must do better.

We must stand together with those who have been victims of marginalization and repression due to their skin color.

At OBID we will work to ensure that our actions, principles, and values stand in solidarity against racial injustice. We will work to acknowledge and counteract our own internalized racism and prejudices as human beings and an organization. It is not enough to not be racist; we must work to become actively anti-racist in our daily lives. Our Board of Directors are in the midst of a Strategic Plan process and we will continue to listen, to learn, to reflect, to plan, and to take action. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve been listening and educating ourselves to the Black voices in our community and throughout America and educating ourselves in ways that we can help.

We have learned of many local organizations that help to support and to empower the Black community in Pittsburgh. We are proud to support these three local organizations; 1Hood Media, SisTers PGH, and Melanin Mommies Pgh. We encourage support of these brave advocates along with the additional organizations that we found in our search.

Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community, in Oakland, in Pittsburgh, and throughout the world.


Please see the links below for additional resources and information.

Ways You Can Help:

Pittsburgh Community Projects:

1Hood Media

The mission of 1Hood Media is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice.

SisTers PGH

SisTers PGH is a transgender centered drop-in space, resource provider, and shelter transitioning program based in Pittsburgh, PA

Melanin Mommies Pgh –

Melanin Mommies PGH is a program that provides mentors to organizations that serve ‘At Risk’ African American mothers age 14-21. Their mission is to provide pregnant or parenting mothers the tools they need to become the best women and best mothers they can be. Their program assists them in overcoming inter-generational trauma and combating negative family cycles through mentorship.

The Pittsburgh Spot –

The PghSpot is an online web show that aims to tell the positive stories of Pittsburgh’s Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Philanthropists in a visual and creative manner in order to connect and energize diverse communities throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region; often dispelling negative media narratives. The show uses various interactive platforms to highlight featured guest including produced and live shows. In addition, PghSpot hosts a live Neighborhood Conversation Series that takes place on a live platform in Homewood and in the Hill District, featuring entrepreneurs, innovators and philanthropists from these neighborhoods. PghSpot also coordinates various volunteer opportunities through its Neighborhood Conversation Series, which aims to support and promote business owners in lower income neighborhoods.

POISE Foundation

The POISE Foundation works to assist the Pittsburgh Region’s Black community in achieving self-sustaining practices, through strategic leadership, collective giving, grantmaking and advocacy. Created in the format of a Community Foundation, POISE receives funds from a variety of donors. These funds may be unrestricted, and used to support our grantmaking strategy, or donor-directed for specific charitable purposes.

African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania is a full-service organization that continuously provides access and opportunity to over 500 African American business owners and professionals. Additionally, the Chamber’s membership includes other minority groups, over 60 non-profit organizations, and over 50 majority businesses. Their boundaries extend from Cambria County, up to Erie, PA over to the Ohio border, and down to West Virginia.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

The Mission of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power, and civil rights.

Circles Greater Pittsburgh –

Circles Greater Pittsburgh’s mission is to inspire and equip Pittsburgh area families and communities to resolve poverty and thrive. They believe no one should live in poverty. Families and communities can take charge of their destinies. And if given the right tools and support, economic stability can be achieved.

New Voices Pittsburgh

New Voices is developing the next generation of Reproductive Justice leaders through the SistahSpeak! Youth Project™!

The SistahSpeak! Youth Project™ (SYP!) is a sexual & reproductive health, mentoring and community organizing program for Black girls, femmes and young Black women ages 12-24. This program year, we will focus on high school students in grades 9-12. SYP! Participants learn life skills, engage in arts and cultural activities, partner with mentors and educate young Black women about Reproductive Justice and Human Rights!

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a U.S. nonprofit arts organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that presents performing and visual arts programs that celebrate the contributions of African Americans not only in Western Pennsylvania, but nationally and internationally. 

Black Tech Nation –

Black Tech Nation (BTN) is the first and only social good organization dedicated to growing a black tech ecosystem within Pittsburgh’s rapidly growing tech economy. They pride themselves on being an informative, engaging safe space for their “black unicorns” – black tech professionals, black entrepreneurs, parents of black students interest in STEM, and black tech enthusiasts – to build connections, share opportunities, and exchange resources. Through their strategy, “Gather. Connect. Affect.”, they plan to make Pittsburgh the model city for true tech inclusion.

Currently trying to raise $10,000 –

Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project

The Black Unicorn Library & Archives Project is a library & archive meeting at the intersection of literacy, art & history, focusing on the contributions of Black women, queer & trans people of color. The project was founded by Bekezela Mguni, who holds a Masters in Library & Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and was named an Emerging Artist & Judge’s Choice in the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Project Silk/ Community Human Services –

Project Silk is committed to member driven structures and offers unique pathways to service delivery on site at our youth drop- in center. Project Silk provides STI/HIV testing on-site to increase knowledge of undiagnosed infections; implements behavioral interventions related to positive adult identity development and sexual health education; skills-based programming for youth to actualize their goals; and linkage to medical care and ancillary services to promote overall wellness within HIV-positive as well as high-risk negative communities.

Lists of Local Black-Owned Businesses:

OBID Featured on KDKA and WTAE

OBID Featured on KDKA and WTAE

Last night and last week, OBID Executive Director Georgia Petropoulos was featured on KDKA and WTAE to discuss the future of Oakland in the rebuilding from COVID-19. Click any of the links below to watch!

App Hopes To Make Parking Easier, Help Local Businesses

Pittsburgh neighborhoods forging ahead with outdoor dining plans to help restaurants in yellow phase

How to stay healthy when you’re stuck at home.

Tips from OBID member, Sheronica Marshall, owner of REV22 Oakland.

With Pennsylvanians under an order to stay at home, many people are finding it difficult to adapt to a new and different routine and stay healthy. With so much uncertainty, it’s important to take time to focus on your health: both mental and physical. The following tips are from OBID member Sheronica Marshall, owner of REV22 Oakland powered by Salud Juicery.

1. Snack Smart.

One of the best ways to stop eating unhealthy snacks is to stop buying them. However, that’s easier said than done. For many people, a more practical approach to improve snacking is to replace the unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks. For example, instead of eating chips, find other foods that satisfy your taste and have a similar potato-chip crunch like carrots, sugar snap peas, or Fuji and Gala apples. Other healthy snacks include Clementine’s, strawberries, blueberries, and almonds. To help your immune system, once or twice a week add fresh lemon to warm water to start your day. Citrus juices help boost the immune system.

Smoothies also make a great snack. For a quick smoothie at home, combine frozen strawberries, blueberries and bananas to your taste. Add OJ for vitamin C or add pomegranate for antioxidants and blend away.

2. What to buy when you shop

Having a balanced diet includes keeping natural and healthy foods and ingredients in your home. While a shopping list can include a lot of things, here are some key items that should be in your basket:

  • Garlic
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Angel or cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Chicken thighs
  • Salmon

3. Make exercise fun.

If you exercise indoors or on a treadmill, watch your favorite comedy, TV show, or movie while you workout. Laughter keeps us healthy and makes exercising more fun. Exercising in the community also helps you stay accountable. If you can’t exercise together in person, join an online class or live-stream on your social media.

4. Helping others is often the best medicine.

Research has shown that volunteering and helping others have many physical and emotional benefits from reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and giving a sense of purpose. At the Juicery, we wanted to support the healthcare workers in our community, so we began delivering nourishing smoothies and writing “Thank you” cards to nurses and doctors in the community.  The idea caught on quickly, and our customers wanted to help too. So we created a new program called “Cups of Goodness” — anyone can buy a nurse, doctor, or first responder a drink, and we’ll make it and deliver it with a special note.  If you want to send a drink, here’s how:

Cups of Goodness — send a smoothie to a healthcare worker

  • Go to
  • Choose a Smoothie(s). Add “Cup of Goodness” to Special Instructions. 
    • The Jungle VIP, Straw NaNaNa, Berry Glad, and Green Anna are great for energy and immunity.
  • Select Carryout 
  • Select Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., and we will deliver smoothies to the Oakland Hospitals. Deliveries are made every Tuesday and Wednesday.
You can buy a nurse, doctor, or first responder a drink through the “Cups of Goodness” program.

About Salud Juicery

Salud Juicery is a health and wellness juicery with a passion for providing healing and wellness support and through the fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and acai bowls offered by REV22. The menu features items that are nutrient-rich, dairy-free foods with no added sugars and no preservatives that aid the body in healing physically and help build a new mindset that leads to a healthier lifestyle.

COVID-19 UPDATED HOURS. Salud is open for carryout from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information visit

A Conversation with Dr. John Wallace

Pictured: Medha Kadri, OBID Social Justice Advocate, interviewing Dr. John Wallace.

A name synonymous with Homewood, Dr. John Wallace is a professor at the School of Social Work, the Katz Graduate School of Business and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh and the senior pastor of Bible Center Church. Over the last three decades, the primary focus of his work has been the wellbeing of the African-American children, youth and communities. Dr. Wallace is the co-founder and board president of Homewood Children’s Village and is also the founder of The Oasis Project – the community and economic development division of Bible Center Church. 

 The Everyday Cafe is a social enterprise of Bible Center that was envisioned and founded by Dr. Wallace as a community space for Homewood. The Everyday Cafe is not your ordinary cafe – it gives opportunities for the youth of Homewood to grow in their careers and in the community. Not only do they employ within the neighborhood and train them as leaders in customer service (workforce development), but also use all the earnings and investments of the cafe to further Homewood based organizations and causes. 

These young leaders are an essential part of Oakland’s future.

 For Dr. Wallace, Oakland is a hub for the “eds, meds and tech,” and in order to attract more diverse businesses, the Oakland community should focus on strategies to retain Pittsburghers as well as the large student population from the surrounding universities. He also adds that along with opportunities in tech space, quality of life in in oakland and throughout the city should continue to be a top priority to attract more people from other cities, as well as, to make Pittsburgh an attractive employment city to the student population.  

In conclusion, Dr. Wallace emphasizes that it takes a conscious effort to expand diverse representation in business districts and Oakland–the city’s economic epicenter– has the tools to bring this conscious effort to a reality.

Starship Technologies Delivers an Easier Lifestyle for Oaklanders

by Lynn Dang

Over 8,000 coffees, 10,000 sushi rolls, 14,000 sandwiches, and 5,500 burritos.

All delivered by robot – untouched by humans. San Francisco startup Starship Technologies has made the world’s first delivery robot. And the company’s next stop is the University of Pittsburgh. Designed to improve the everyday life of users, Starship’s mission is to “give time back to people,” said VP of Marketing Henry Harris-Burland, “Whether you’ve had a long night and want breakfast delivered or you’re up late studying and need some refreshments, our delivery robots are here to help.”

Founded in 2014, Starship Technologies spent the first half of life on testing and perfecting the robots’ autonomous capabilities. To ensure understanding in different environments, terrians, and weather, testing was done in over 20 countries. In April 2018, the company turned into a full blown commercial delivery service. Today, it operates 24/7 across the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, and Germany. The easy action of downloading the “Starship – Deliveries” app on iOS or Android enables people all over the world to use these autonomous delivery robots.

Starship plans to bring their pioneering robots to 100 campuses within the next 24 months. From the app, users can access a variety of local merchants to order food and beverages, drop a pin on a map, and track the robot’s progress as it drives to them. The robot’s sensors and detection system allows it to adjust speed and direction as needed. With the ability to travel at night, through rain and snow, across streets, and over curbs, users can order from a variety of locations.

Starship’s expansion to the University of Pittsburgh was made possible through a partnership with Sodexo. Recently, Starship completely mapped Pitt’s campus to ensure that the robots could move autonomously. Students, faculty, and staff can now access Oakland’s businesses in the app and place an order for the low delivery fee of $1.99.

As one of the first campuses that Starship Deliveries is serving, Pitt is part of the beginning of this delivery revolution. “We are proud to be a part of the Pitt community and work with this city,” said Harris-Burland.