By Ronald B. Saunders
In March, the Dr. Edna B. McKenzie branch of the Association for the study of African American Life and History profiled outstanding female members, including lifelong Hazelwoodian Andrea Coleman.
Ms. Coleman is an advocate for lifelong learning in higher education. A prolific teaching poet on social justice and a disability advocate for Americans with Disabilities Act awareness, she also established the Black History Initiative in Hazelwood and serves as a mentor, tutor, and volunteer for the Hazelwood Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Ms. Coleman is currently launching a new domestic violence curriculum called P>U>S>H>, which stands for “Prayers Up Sends Hope.”
Ms. Coleman is the matriarch of five generations from Hazelwood. She attended grade school, elementary school and high school in Hazelwood and pursued a career in education, graduating with a bachelor's in 2006 and master's in 2011, both from Carlow University.
Now an instructor in senior programming for Community College of Allegheny County, she has worked at the Downtown and Hazelwood YMCAs, University of Pittsburgh Families of Excellence, Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh Public Schools, St. Edmund's Academy and the Jewish Community Center, among others. She serves on the Carlow University Alumni Advisory Council, the 3C Cohort of the Center of Life Program on Social Justice, the Affordable Housing Committee of Hazelwood Initiative, the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative and Making a Greater Hazelwood and others.
Ms. Coleman founded the Garden of Different Abilities in 2017, after suffering a stroke stemming from systemic lupus erythematosus. She has been recognized by the Civic Leadership Academy and the Poise Foundation, and received a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh presented by then-Councilperson Corey O'Connor for over 50 years of volunteer service.
Ms. Coleman says, “I ain’t been around the world, but I been around the block.”
Ronald B. Saunders is president of the Edna B. McKinzie branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.