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A Tough Beginning…

Jerry was separated from his biological parents by the Orphans’ Court in downtown Pittsburgh in the 1980s. He was placed in the Allegheny County foster system. Eventually, Jerry was sent to a large and loving foster home of Robert and Judy Dickinson in Shaler Township.

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A Second Chance

In 1983, the Pittsburgh Press featured Jerry’s foster family. Roger Stuart wrote: “As soon as one foster child leaves their single family, four-bedroom home in Allison Park, they’re ready to welcome more…[o]nly time will tell what the size of their family will be…”


A Way of Life, A Way of Love

By the 1990s, 11 foster children entered the Dickinson’s home, 8 of whom would be adopted into the family. Today, Jerry and his siblings embody the social and economic soul of America. They count in their number war veterans, cab and jitney drivers, trailer park residents, waitresses and bartenders, inmates, shoemakers, sales persons, addicts, social workers, homeowners and public housing tenants.

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Jerry has overcome insurmountable obstacles. He became Class President at Shaler High and a two-sport All-WPIAL athlete. He went on to become a top student at the College of the Holy Cross and one of the nation’s top NCAA Division I men’s soccer players, becoming Patriot League Player of the Year, regional All-American and a three-year captain.


A Father, A Husband, A Lawyer, A Fighter…

Today, Jerry is a proud husband and father of his beautiful daughter. When he isn’t teaching law at the University of Pittsburgh, he is out in the community, fighting for greater access to affordable housing and addressing the need for criminal justice reform. For more information on what Jerry has been fighting for, go to the Experience page.