Black History Month

Black History Month shadow of a black woman

Black History Month 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.