Persad Center

Strengthening the Region’s LGBTQ Communities and Their Allies

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Strengthening the Region’s LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS-impacted Communities

Dr. Barbara K. Shore

PERSAD remembers social justice leader

Barbara K. Shore, an original member of PERSAD CENTER's board of directors, died on October 23, 2013, in Tucson, Arizona.

Shore graduated with a BS in Social Work at Carengie Tech (now CMU), and an MS in the School of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1943. Later she earned her Ph.D. in Social Work and an MS in the School of Public Health in 1972, the same year PERSAD was founded. A long tenured professor in the School of Social Work at Pitt, she had a profound impact on the countless numbers of social workers she trained, and the community workers and civic leaders she worked with.

Barbara was always at the forefront of social justice movements for civil rights, women's right, sexual minority's rights, protection of children and the aged. In additiont to serving on the original PERSAD Board, Barbara served on over 30 other boards and task forces and was a founding member of the boards for Allegheny County Rape Crisis Center and the Children's Lobby of Western Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: PERSAD co-founder Dr. James Huggins spoke at Barbara's memorial service on October 27. He shared his remarks with us:

I first met Barbara Shore in 1971. She and other community leaders had been brought together by Phil Hallen from the Falk Medical Fund to hear my partner Randy Forrester and I describe the need for a comprehensive MH center for Sexual Minorities that eventually became Persad Center. After this first meeting, Randy and I asked each other – who is this woman? She asked all the right questions and was thinking further ahead than we were about how this agency could actually be established. This began a long and wonderful relationship that I have cherished for 42 years.

A lot has changed in those 42 years, but when we began the process of creating Persad Center, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness. Gay bars were raided by the police and national polls revealed that some of the most hated and reviled people in our culture were GLBT. I was a 24 year old young gay man who was a product of growing up in that culture and I was passionate and so very angry and determined that the world could be a safer place for sexual minorities. The courageous person who joined us in our passion and taught me the most about how to channel my energy and anger into positive change was Barbara Shore.

First off, Barbara treated Randy and me and everyone else in our community with warmth, dignity and respect, which was not the treatment we had come to expect from members of the professional community. Over the years, I watched her intently as she deftly and bravely confronted the bigotry, fear and prejudice that were there at every step along the way.  She always had time to help, to mentor, to laugh and to lead. She served on Persad’s board for many years and continued as an emeritus board member after that.

The GLBT community owes a great debt to Barbara Shore because she was our champion and one of our most important agents for change. I will be eternally grateful for her wisdom, her mentorship and most importantly her warmth and love. I feel privileged to have called Barbara my friend and I will never stop missing her.  

Barbara is survived by her four children, eleven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. 

PERSAD honors the memory of Dr. Shore with gratitude for her leadership and compassion on behalf of LGBTQ people. 

You can read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary by clicking here