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.
Just looking at his name, one can tell that Marcelo Lehninger was destined to be a citizen of the world. The child of a Brazilian violinist and German pianist, young Marcelo grew up with two constants in his life: global fluidity and music. Today, he unites his passions on a third continent as music director for the Grand Rapids Symphony. Join us for an uplifting conversation about life, love, and music!
Reyna Orellana Masko shares some of the unspeakable horrors of life, violence, and death in her native El Salvador. A U.S. citizen today, she calls for the national administration to reinstate Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for the 200,000 Salvadorans at risk of being sent back to a land of estrangement and danger. Relatedly, she calls for Ottawa County residents to create a more welcoming community that is able to attract and retain diverse workers who are the global doers of tomorrow. [Parental Warning: May not be suitable for younger children.]
How do we change the notion that certain sports are just for white athletes or male participants? By mentoring females and youth of color in those sports. PGA professional Andre Pillow talks about his work with The First Tee of West Michigan and creating access to golf for all young people.
In Newcomer-USA conversations, one line frequently comes up: "We're all immigrants, really." While FLYB is committed to telling immigrant stories, we acknowledge an important pre-immigration narrative that is too often missing. That is, the story of the indigenous peoples living on the continent for millennia before Europeans arrived. We are proud to bring Native American author/activist Jacqueline Keeler to the table to share important stories absent from our U.S. history books. Part 1. Part 2.
Amanda is a Spanish teacher from West Michigan. Guillermo is a businessman from Campeche, Mexico. They met and fell in love in...Spain, of course! They join us to talk about intercontinental romance and life in a bilingual, bicultural world.
Javier Olvera is the president and owner of Supermercado Mexico in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He joins us to tell his own immigrant story, talk about the joys and challenges of business ownership, and share his vision for Hispanic entrepreneurship in his adopted city.
He was the only boy in the local dance school, and in the Dominican Republic, that can leave you open to teasing. But Ednis Gomez fell in love with the self-expression of movement, practiced hard, and danced himself into a full-time career. After four years in Michigan's only professional dance company, the American Midwest is starting to feel like home.
Austrian-born Michael Auer merges two careers into a new art form, and the Grand Rapids Ballet is ever the better for it. Join us for a look at the intersection of professional dance and technology.
How do you know if you have what it takes to become a professional ballet dancer? Give it a try, says dancer Yuka Oba. Taking her own advice, this peripatetic ballerina has pursued her dream from Japan to the U.K. to Slovakia, and finally to Grand Rapids, Michigan where she is in her seventh season taking on challenging roles and new ways to embrace the diversity the world's choreographers have to offer.
The world is a complicated canvas of varying views, realities, and expectations. The next two installments in the Grand Rapids Ballet's innovative contemporary dance series, MOVEMEDIA, will explore and celebrate these beautiful differences. Experience thought-provoking panel discussions and powerful community outreach bookended by complementary world-premiere works by some of today’s most important choreographers. For tickets, visit grballet.com. Performances February/March 2018.
As a teenage immigrant, Ace Marasigan wanted no part of the United States. His older brothers were back in his native Philippines, as was the security of home, culture, and language. Yet he persisted, with the help of the local Filipino community. He formed a rock band and focused on making Grand Rapids his new home. Fast forward to today: Ace is the downtown manager of Old National Bank, where he has the time to look out onto his city and dream of a second successful Downtown Asian Festival. Just the kind of belonging he wants to create for his son.