At 200 Dinners Pittsburgh
  • We need to be a region with greater diversity and be more welcoming to young Black professionals. Let’s encourage and support more Black-owned businesses.
  • We should appreciate the rich cultural history resulting from people from many ethnic groups and encourage cultural vibrancy.
  • There is a current feeling of new Pittsburgh vs. old Pittsburgh. As we move toward our collective future, the city should be thoughtful and inclusive of all.
  • Pittsburgh should be the “greenest” city, with more planting of trees and a focus on our parks.
  • Technology is and should be a driver toward Pittsburgh’s future.

200 Dinners Pittsburgh
The East End Ministries held dinner for nearly 80.

“Pittsburgh can get anywhere it wants to go by creating opportunities for everyone to participate. To get there, employers can shift their perspectives to hiring more creatively rather than looking to fulfill a checklist. Perhaps employers and universities/career centers can create partnerships which help train students (Salesforce, html, database management and creation) and employers can see students that are interested in them/give direct feedback as to how they can apply themselves.”

“We should build on our strengths. We’re never going to be a big city—and don’t necessarily want to be one. But, we’re a great mid-sized city and have a vibrant nonprofit sector with terrific tech and people with fab ideas who can plug in and not face huge barriers as they might in larger environments. You could get lost in other spaces—here you can stand out or test ideas quickly. That is an asset.”

  • Model of a modern day resilient city that is fair for all.
  • More active recycling and reuse that is visible to the community.
  • More visible support for local authors, artists and musicians through festivals and other events.
  • Encouragement of public civic engagement, more transparent and accessible government.
  • Better nightlife and avenues for displaying Pittsburgh pride.
  • A city that truly values local businesses—don’t tear down and rebuild with chain stores and restaurants.

“Pittsburgh should stay Pittsburgh: friendly, affordable and accessible. Pittsburgh should avoid being the next Brooklyn or Portland. Otherwise, people will eventually leave searching for the Pittsburgh that was. That said, everyone seemed bullish about Pittsburgh’s future.”

“We need to better unite the suburbs to the city, spread the funding among the entire area in a more equitable manner with the goal of making the entire region stronger and more metropolitan. Pittsburgh’s citizens need to become more conscious of what is happening in their region; to spur this engagement the city needs to become less political and more constituent-focused.”

A discussion at Riverlife
A discussion at Riverlife

What is preventing Pittsburgh from tackling inequities in our communities?

  • “Old money” makes it harder to excel in Pittsburgh. Purposeful connections are lacking. “Who you know” is important in Pittsburgh.
  • There are fewer opportunities for African-Americans in Pittsburgh. One must leave Pittsburgh to prove your worth. As a result, there is not a large African-American middle class and fewer Black professionals.
  • Access to education, technology and affordable housing is keeping our city segregated. Homelessness, although not as severe as in other comparable cities, is also an issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Jobs, including entry level jobs. Can’t have a better life without a better job. We don’t see the opportunity for upward mobility in Pittsburgh.

Getting into the spirit of things for 200 Dinners Pittsburgh.
Getting into the spirit of things for 200 Dinners Pittsburgh.
  • We need more discussions, more events like this to get people together and talk about issues.
  • Education, education, education. While some groups wondered what other cities were doing, at the Mayor’s table, a teacher praised the Remake Learning Network for advancing innovation in education throughout our region. He also expressed a desire to make this hands-on, tech-based learning more available to all students.
  • We are our own worst enemies—there are a lot of people set in their ways in Pittsburgh. That can look like good, strong, traditional values, but it can make our area seem exclusive and not open to change.
  • African-American community members feel that there is not the quality of life, which makes for a robust community. People don’t stay. There is not a place or central district which facilitates organic connections.
  • Transparency in city government.200 Dinners Pittsburgh
  • There is too much separation and not enough crossover (both physically and socially) of populations, neighborhoods, and different parts of the city.

    • We think the current administration is addressing these problems as best as they can, but it’s hard to undo years of legacy legislation that led to an aging infrastructure.
    • Annexation of surrounding areas is another idea which would merge the city’s resources more efficiently.

    “To tackle the problems and inequities, we must first acknowledge they exist. Many individuals are still unwilling to acknowledge an issue. Once we can get to a point of acceptance, we can then create a collective action plan that is inclusive of many voices. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality needs to be overcome as part of community acceptance; just because you don’t see certain kinds of inequity in your community doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Limited opportunities for good or excellent education can limit students’ potential; this then has a long-term impact on earning power, self-esteem, and overall community buy-in. Overall there is a pervasive mentality of apathy and even self-hatred that permeates the community and limits opportunity and growth.”

    And we’ll end on this note:

    “Not enough healing conversations are happening. Changes are happening and whole groups of people are left behind which is yet another reminder from the past that they aren’t part of the new future of the city. Gentrification was a huge topic of conversation. Bring everyone to the planning table. Make it obvious that this is something politicians value.”

    Missed the 200 Dinners but want to chime in on a topic? Feel free to do so in the comments section below!

    The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.