Eric Stoller

Find Eric Stoller’s display at August Henry’s City Saloon, 946 Penn Avenue.

“The most important thing we have to do as a society is to erase the legacy of racial discrimination and racism that’s existed in this country for hundreds of years. It’s hard, sometimes heart-breaking, work and that doesn’t matter. We have to do it.”

We collectively need to work on race and equity. It’s a huge part of my professional life, certainly since I’ve moved to Pittsburgh, I’ve been involved deeply in trying to change the economic prospects of mostly families of color through economic development. The most important thing we have to do as a society is to erase the legacy of racial discrimination and racism that’s existed in this country for hundreds of years. It’s hard, sometimes heart-breaking, work and that doesn’t matter. We have to do it.

Primarily in my work it is doing what we can do to position individuals and families of color to benefit from growing markets and not be displaced by them. In low income neighborhoods where markets are changing, there is understandably a lot of fear that they will be displaced by that market improvement. They understand that poverty is crushing and that poor neighborhoods are bad for their families. They’re rightfully concerned that when that market improves there will not be a place for them in that neighborhood. My work has been about changing that dynamic. One example is trying to position existing low-income home owners to benefit because their property is in better shape and they can benefit from the increase in value in their house and not be displaced by it. Everyone needs to have a genuinely fair shot at a decent life. We don’t actually provide that in the United States and the way that unfairness expresses itself most clearly is around race.

EricStoller