PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council issued a proclamation for a soul food festival happening this weekend, but the organizer said they are issuing a black tax against the event.
An African American group called ‘Stop the Violence Pittsburgh’ is hosting “A Soulful Taste of the Burgh” on Sunday in Market Square.
The organizer of the African-American celebration of culture is not happy with the city after issues with permits and security.
“They do not require other organizations to do the same thing that they are requiring us to do,” organizer William Marshall said.
He feels the city is forcing his event to use Pittsburgh Police as security.
Ten officers are scheduled to be there, at a cost of $7,000.
Marshall said the cost for the rest of the event is $800.
“It makes us feel very disappointed that the city engages in this tax,” Marshall said.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said she is working with other members of the council to make events in the city affordable.
“It’s trying to find a way that we do this fair and equitably across the city, that we can help defray some of those costs,” Kail-Smith said.
Kail-Smith said public safety makes the determination about whether police are needed for an event.
The soul food festival is expected to bring about 500-1,500 people Sunday to Market Square.
According to emails between Marshall and the city, the only event they could compare the festival to was the Saint Patrick’s Day Festivities, where 17 police officers were used.
“This is why they are saying we need police, and our event doesn’t even compare to that,” Marshall said.
Kail-Smith said all parties involved need to sit down and figure this out.
“Where can we work together on things, and where are things that we have to say this would not be fair to anybody else,” Kail-Smith said.
Marshall said they will pay the fees and try to fight it after the event.