Editor’s Note: This week, I’ll be sharing guest blog posts from folks who identify as allies and what that means to them.
Jason Togyer shared a personal commentary at the Tube City Almanac.
Jason grew up near McKeesport; I grew up near McKeesport, too. His perspective resonates with me both as a reflection on my youth and what I read online from folks who still live there. I don’t feel like West Mifflin has moved past the 1980’s to be honest – and some folks are still fighting about a school merger that took place in 1983. Seriously. I have “unfriended” (or been blocked) by more people from high school than any part of my life. It is very sad (usually, they thin I’m pushing the gay agenda too much.)
You want to bring jobs back to the Mon-Yough area? First, we need to bring back entrepreneurs.
You want to bring back entrepreneurs? Then stop chasing away a big percentage of those people who are the oddballs. Bill Gates supposedly said, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” The “nerds” — in science and the arts — are the ones who end up starting their own businesses.
Newsflash: By and large, they are not starting those businesses in McKeesport, Glassport, Duquesne or West Mifflin. They are going to Homestead and East Liberty and the South Side, and lately, to Braddock.
Some people in the Mon-Yough area are jealous of the amount of national publicity that Mayor John Fetterman has achieved for Braddock. Well, why has Braddock gotten onto the national radar? Because Fetterman has thrown open the doors to welcome in the nerds and oddballs.
Let’s face it — you have to go against the conventional wisdom to want to start a new business in Braddock. You have to be a nerd or an oddball.
And you have to go against the conventional wisdom to want to stay in the McKeesport area. You have to be a nerd or an oddball.
. . .
But we’re not welcoming our oddballs. We’re chasing them away.
By bullying our kids who are “different” because they’re smart or artistic or sensitive, or because they’re gay or transgendered, we are literally chasing away the only asset that ensures the Mon-Yough area any kind of a future.
Economic development is an excellent point. People want to live and work in an environment that is supportive and vibrant. Kids who experience bullying flee and often never come back. If you want your children to see their home community as a place to raise their own families – get involved in anti-bullying. Please read the rest of Jason’s post here.