Mexicans in Pittsburgh

The Post-Gazette discovers a small Mexican enclave in Pittsburgh . . . in Beechview.

Of course, not everyone is excited about this:
Don Bell, president of the Beechview Merchants Association, said residents at a recent Weed and Seed meeting "expressed concern about the rapid influx of Mexicans, of the illegals who have no rights and can be easily exploited, and issues such as over-occupancy and health code violations."

"Someone asked, 'How do we know there aren't ads in grocery stores in Mexico that say 'Move to Beechview,' " he said.

Concerns rise more easily when you have a commercial street that is "moribund," he said. When for food you have two Mexican grocery stores, a Mexican restaurant and a Foodland, he said, "it's like, 'Whoa, what's happening? It's rapidly going in one direction.' "

That's right. There are too many new people moving to Pittsburgh. (Unconfirmed rumor: The Beechview Merchants Association may have been studying the tactics of local marina owners confronted with visitors who wanted to fish the rivers.) Who took down those "go away" signs, anyway?

I say: Ignore the xenophobes. Go have a meal at a Mexican restaurant in Beechview, and welcome these folks to town. And can we get Telemundo now? Please?


1 Response to "Mexicans in Pittsburgh"

Anonymous said... 11/17/2009 7:28 PM

Mexicans in Pittsburgh are not a recent phenomenon. I grew up in the Pittsburgh area during the 30's, went to the Marines during WWII, and returned to Pittsburgh to study at Pitt from 1948-1952. There were large enclaves of Mexicans in Braddock, N. Braddock, East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek, Trafford, Mckeesport, Swissvale, Homestead, Munhall, and numerous communities along the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. One of the larger Mexican communities was in Midland, PA. These were Mexicans working for the steel mills, the railroads, and other industries. The Mexican communities of the Mid-West dotted the landscape from Northfield, Minnesota across Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania all the way to Johnstown.We were everywhere in the Mid-West and still are.

Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Ph.D., Scholar in Residence and Chair, Department of Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University

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