I would like to state how happy I was to see members of the African-American community in Pittsburgh extending their hand in congratulations to Don Barden at the Rivers Casino grand opening. As my wife and I stood watching the '60s group Rare Earth perform their hit song "I Just Want to Celebrate," I could only reflect on the long road traveled by Mr. Barden to see the completion of what was his vision of a first-class casino for the city of Pittsburgh.
As Mr. Barden ascended the stairs at the waterfront concert I witnessed African Americans thanking Mr. Barden for his courage and steadfastness to see the project through despite all the forces who fought through the local media and other Pittsburgh organizations to derail the project. And despite the fact that Mr. Barden had to call Neil Bluhm to take over and see the project through while still retaining 20 percent ownership for himself, a win is a win. There is no such thing as a bittersweet victory. You either win or you lose.
What some Pittsburghers must realize is that progress, no matter who it comes through -- be it Art Rooney, Mike Tomlin, Don Barden or the upcoming G-20 summit through President Barack Obama -- has no color. For progressive Pittsburghers, the Aug. 9 casino opening represented one more brick out of the wall that has left Pittsburgh as a city paralyzed and at the bottom the last 25 years. Thank you, Don Barden,