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.

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