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Two talk openly about being black in Butler

June 26, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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Harold Aughton/Butler Eagle: Brady Patsy, conservatory director at Pgh. Musical Theater

This is an excerpt from a larger article that appears in Sunday's Butler Eagle.

Well-intentioned friends of Brady Patsy told him on social media they’ve never seen him as anything but kind, talented and wonderful.

Having never really talked openly about his experiences, the East Brady native — like so many across the nation — was inspired to speak out in hopes of sparking a long-overdue conversation in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police and the subsequent protests gripping the nation.

In a widely shared Facebook post, in which he talked about growing up as a Black man in a predominately white county, Patsy opened up with heartfelt honesty about his experiences with racism in and around the county, even coming face to face with racial profiling by police.

“When that police officer pulls me over, he doesn’t know that I’m kind, talented and wonderful,” Patsy told the Butler Eagle. “He knows I’m Black because that is what he sees. That is systemic racism.”

Dorothea Epps watching a section basketball game as the Butler High School basketball coach in 2015.

Both Patsy, who serves as the conservatory director at Pittsburgh Musical Theater, and Dorothea Epps, head coach of the Seneca Valley girls varsity basketball team, recently shared their stories with the newspaper about growing up and living as persons of color in Butler County. Both say they have experienced consistent discrimination throughout the county and region that is unimaginable to most white people.

But the nationwide outrage following Floyd’s May 25 killing opened the door — as well as minds and hearts — to a new conversation about the problem of systemic racism in Butler County and beyond.

At least that’s the hope of Patsy and Epps.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that appears in Sunday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read our interviews with Patsy and Epps about their experiences growing up in Butler County.

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