Black History Month

Black History Month shadow of a black woman

Nominate a Black History Month Honoree!

Each year, in recognition of Black History Month, the Borough of Swissvale celebrates and recognizes outstanding Black Swissvalian residents and business owners who embody the essence of Black History Month by their positive contributions to Swissvale and society at large. The recipients of the Black History Month Honoree designation are recognized publicly at the February Borough Council Meeting and are presented with a plaque highlighting their achievements.

This year, the Swissvale Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee recognized honorees at the February 22, 2023 Borough Council Agenda meeting (held via Zoom).

Honoree Combo-vert2023 Honorees

Alexander Beasley Sr., Beasley Plumbing

BEASLEY PLUMBING Inc, established in 2003 by Alexander Beasley Sr., has been a minority owned business in Swissvale for 20 years. Alexander, a Registered Master Plumber in Allegheny County, had a extensive education background and experience as a plumber with many reputable companies prior to founding his own company. Beasley Plumbing Inc provides residential and small commercial service work throughout Allegheny County and surrounding areas. 

Congresswoman Summer Lee

Summer Lee was born in North Braddock, graduated from Woodland Hills High School,  and resides in Swissvale. She has made history twice, first in 2017 when she became the first African American woman from the region to be elected to the state House in Harrisburg where she served from 2018-2022. Most recently, she was elected to the One Hundred Eighteenth Congress, making her the first black woman from Pennsylvania to be elected to Congress. 

Tim Jones, Salon Blue

Tim Jones has achieved excellence as a minority business owner, has been a licensed cosmetologist for over 20 years, and recently became a certified Trichologist.  As a Trichologist, he is a paramedical professional with a medical focus of the hair and scalp, focusing on the different conditions diseases and disorders of the hair and scalp, and the treatments associated with them. He has provided stability to Swissvale's business district over the last 12 years by maintaining a store front at his current location, Salon Blue LLC, on Noble Street. 

Black History Month Past Honorees

In celebration of Black History Month (BHM), Swissvale Borough Council recognized the following community members for their 
accomplishments, contributions and service in Swissvale and beyond.

2022 Honorees

Veryl Lawson

(Top Left) A lifelong resident, mother and grandmother, Veryl has served as a leader for the Swissvale Economic Development Corp. (SEDCO), the Mon Valley Initiative (MVI) and the Swissvale Planning Commission for many years. 

Ciora Thomas

(Top Right) Ciora is a Pittsburgh native, a black trans woman and the founder and Director of SisTers PGH. She advocates for transgender rights throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. SisTers PGH is responsible for organizing and hosting the first Pride Month celebration in Swissvale. 

Leland Scales 

(Bottom Left) While earning his Master of Science degree in Food Studies at Chatham University, Scales decided to put his research into action. He created the Swissvale Community Garden to both beautify the neighborhood and provide access to free, healthy fresh produce to his neighbors. He also founded Swissvale Community Action Committee and is actively involved with Reach Up Pittsburgh and 412 Food Rescue. 

Joylette Portlock

(Bottom Right) Dr. Portlock is the first Black woman to serve as Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, a nonprofit working to advance sustainability policies and practices in southwestern Pennsylvania. As a resident, her leadership helped to launch the Farmers Market in Swissvale. 

BHM Honorees

2021 Honorees

Union Baptist Church

For their 100 years of existence and longstanding service to the Swissvale Community.

Nelson Kirksey

For his years of service with the Swissvale Community Food Pantry.

State Representative Summer Lee

For being the first Black woman elected to serve Southwest Pensylvania in the State House of Representatives. 

John "Scrap" Wilson

For his years of service with the Swissvale Baseball and Softball Association.

New Convenant Christian Fellowship

For their 20+ years of existence in the Swissvale Community.