Friday, May 11, 2007

Asian American Pittsburgh

Celebrating a Pittsburgh connection doesn't necessarily mean residing in the region. There is value in the occasional pilgrimage back to the Burgh, as a story in the Trib about the greater Asian American community demonstrates:

The key to expanding Silk Screen's reach, according to [Silk Screen founder Harish Saluja], is to reconnect with the Pittsburgh diaspora -- particularly those who came here for school, and left.

"People came from San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York City -- these are people I met personally," Saluja says. "Someone showed up from Japan. She said her husband used to work here many years ago, and someone sent her an e-mail. She paid her way from Japan, paid for a gala ticket, then gave me $100 cash and apologized for not giving more. She said she'd try to make it most years, and bring her friends, and use it as an excuse to come back.

"I've heard that everybody has an aunt in Pittsburgh," he adds. "Next year, even more, we're going to find people and friends in all the cities through our six degrees of separation, so it becomes a destination for Middle America once a year, like people go to Sundance and Telluride."

Pittsburgh needs to re-establish a relationship with the Asian Americans who spent some time in the city. Saluja offers the means to do this. I hope he finds the backing to realize his dream of building an Asian Center in Pittsburgh.

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