Welcoming Johnstown: event held to showcase culture and accept immigrants

Apr 30, 2022 | Top Story Johnstown

Aditi Sridhar and Tulsi Shrivastava, both graduates of Richland High School, aren’t sisters or cousins.

They’re friends who have bonded over their Indian decent.

“I’ve known Tulsi since I was two years old. I went to her birthday parties. As Indian families meet in Johnstown — since there aren’t a lot of other Indian families — you form an intrinsic bond with them,” Sridhar told 6 News.

They started choreographing dances as kids, and say they’ve found that dance is a way to combine their American and Indian cultures.

“Dance was automatically just ingrained into us. Naturally, we picked up this love for dance and have been choreographing dances ever since,” Shrivastava said.

The duo performed a Bollywood-style routine at the first-ever Welcoming Johnstown event held at the State Theater on Saturday.

Event organizer Laura Huchel says the day was meant for immigrants to share their experiences, music, food, and culture.

“It really seemed like an opportune moment to show the immigrants who are already living and working in Johnstown, hey, we see you, you’re here, we really are excited that you’re a part of our community and we want to hear about what your experience has been like,” Huchel told 6 News.

While many people can drive across town to see their grandparents, many immigrants have to travel the world.

“We never really had that experience because our families lived across oceans. So, the closest bonds we could form were with people who had the same cultures as us,” Shrivastava told 6 News.

The young women perform at cultural events all around the Johnstown area, showcasing their culture while being proud of it.

“You get to bring what we were doing in our basement — because there’s no Bollywood classes here — into bigger spaces. I think that’s something that’s been really special for us,” Sridhar told 6 News.

Watch the video here 

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