On his return visit to our studio, orphaned refugee Phillip Nguyen expresses gratitude for the country that took him in. With pride, he talks about his company's new charity app, EZsamaritan. With an investment of 45,000 work hours, this app is a free resource to the 1.7 million non-profits across the United States. According to entrepreneur Nguyen, it's all about giving back.
Michigan-born Carla Canales is a child of immigrant parents who uses her multi-cultural and multi-lingual upbringing in her day job as a world-traveling soprano. When she lands long enough in her current hometown of New York, she's busy singing the praises of famous women, from Malala to Michelle Obama. Join us for this fascinating interview!
Fridah Kanini talks about the journey that led her to Michigan from her native Kenya: hardships, tenacity, and the drive to create community. An entrepreneur at heart, she talks about founding the first-ever African Festival coming to Grand Rapids on August 10.
Swithina Mboko is a professor at the Seidman college of business at Grand Valley State University. In this interview, she discusses the culture differences between Zimbabwe and the US, the trials of teaching in a foreign country, and her qualitative research surrounding refugee entrepreneurs.
Vishavjit Singh is a first-generation South Asian-American cartoonist, writer, and performance artist. He joins us to talk about growing up Sikh in North America, living in New York after the 9-11 terrorist attack, and using one's superpowers for good.
Growing up in southwest Grand Rapids, young Israel Ledesma knew both good times and bad. Using his personal experiences from the hard times – including brushes with the law – this local Latino leader fashioned his own view on kids, community, and the importance of mentoring.
Young Saleem Usmani's life was forever changed when his Olympian dad invited him along to Los Angeles in 1984. For the curious youngster from India, it wasn't much of a leap from saying, "Yes, I'll join you there" to "Sure, I could go to college here." With that spirit of adventure, Usmani found friendship, love, work, and belonging in his adopted country...in the unlikeliest of places!
From jobs in hospitality to car sales to organizational leadership, Carlos Sanchez has shown a bent for business. He joins us to tell of his own professional trajectory, including falling in love with an American along the way. Today, he uses his passion for talent development to share his vision for creating Latinx opportunities in his adopted West Michigan home.
From his very roots, Justo Gonzalez II was destined to be an advocate for moral justice. From his devoutly Roman Catholic mother to his community leader father, Justo grew into the mantle of his Spanish name, which means “Justice.” Learn how a Puerto Rican boy from Buffalo, NY, came to be an ordained voice of conscience for the marginalized of the United States.
Frank Wu joins us to discuss growing up Asian American in very-white suburban Detroit. He shares the chilling impact of the 1982 Detroit murder of Vincent Chin on the Asian-American community. Finally, he calls for strengthened coalition building across the diverse Asian populations of the U.S.
TJ Rogers joins us to talk about Freedom House Detroit and the everyday challenges facing asylum seekers in the United States.
In his native Congo, Kyezie Bwanangela found himself running for his life ahead of armed militias. Luckily, the young man found safety and eventual refugee status in the United States. The criminal justice major joins us to talk about corruption, leadership, and what is needed to regain democracy.
Amer Ahmed grew up in the United States in the awkward brown immigrant space between black and white. Hear how one Muslim boy's diverse upbringing influenced a career of bridging differences and teaching others to work more inclusively.
At its best, America is a place of welcome for the oppressed and homeless of the world. A great example of this welcome is the vocational English program for Bhutanese refugees in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Krishna Bista, a Bhutanese volunteer educator, joins Minnie Morey, President of the West Michigan Asian American Association, to share the details.
Mexican-born Alynn Guerra talks about finding her passion and her message through the art of printmaking.
Herself the child of itinerant parents, Olivia Sprinkel finds herself transplanted across the Atlantic to New York City. There she guides Fortune 500 companies in achieving big visions for sustainability. Join us for a conversation on expat life, innovation, and charting one's North Star.
Lucia Rios was born with spina bifida but also with a family who urged her to try to do anything she wanted to. That included trying roller-skating on crutches and attending university in an era when the U.S. was still working to become handicap-accessible. She joins colleague Stacey Trowbridge to talk about stigmas, accommodation, and common-sense tips around disability.
Marcel "Fable" Price talks of his challenging youth, a teacher who saw promise in him, and the redemptive power of poetry. As Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he uses his platform to empower area youth, call out public policies that marginalize brown and black people, and advocate for mental health services.
Back in Mexico, Mercedes Lopez-Duran got important advice when she started as a restaurant dishwasher: You are the one responsible for your own career trajectory. Taking that guidance to heart, she worked her way up to cook and moved with daughter Paola to the United States. When a Mexican restaurant came up for sale, the intrepid duo took a deep breath, leapt into the void, and never looked back. Today, El Granjero Mexican Grill celebrates 10 years of good cooking in the Bridge Street neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the process, they created a place for locals to feel like they belong.
From Grand Rapids to Sundance. A young man finds his passion in digital storymaking. In the process, Shane McSauby discovers his Native American roots and a drive to empower others.