Having lived on three continents, Jack Mangala is eminently qualified to talk about the politics and practicalities of global migration. Born in the Democratic Rep. of Congo, Jack earned his PhD in Belgium before moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he teaches political science. He talks with Alan about the challenges and opportunities when large numbers of people pick up and go somewhere else.
An immigrant child, Ana Ramirez-Saenz was raised in West Michigan by a single mom who worked long hours in a pickle factory. During her days at MBA school and at work in the banking industry, she saw first hand the lack of diversity in leadership and its cost on morale and the bottom line. Today, as President of La Fuente Consulting, she guides companies towards more inclusive practices and more powerful decision making. An exclusive chat with an insightful leader.
With a vision of something better for their children's futures, Elisa Perez-Arellano's parents did what countless others have done before: immigrated to the United States, a land of opportunity. They stressed traditional Mexican values: hard work, family, and staying in school. Those values paid off. Today, Perez-Arellano is a college graduate--with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work--working tirelessly to support those she preceded on the journey: immigrants without insurance, without a knowledge of the system, and those without hope. Her after-hours advocacy extends to supporting the Latino LGBT community as it looks to overcome stigmas and stereotypes. An inspirational woman with the wellbeing of her adopted community in her heart!
David Alvarez grew up on the thin slice of rock between earth, sky, and sea called Gibraltar. With a view of the dying vestiges of British colonialism in his own life, he launched on a career of researching and telling about that provocative legacy in other lands. He chats with us about S. Africa, Palestine, and Healing Children of Conflict.
Americans have said it so long, it approaches cliché: "The U.S. is the land of opportunity." However, this still rings true for thousands of newcomers every year, including Guatemalan-born Natanael Krische. Listen to the story of 18-year-old "Nate" who entered illegally and worked hard to became a citizen, small business owner, and pillar in his West Michigan community.
Three years ago, Takunda Mavima had the world by the tail. He was an immigrant child whose family had worked its way into Middle America. He was an honors student who’d recently attended his senior prom. With a scholarship to Grand Valley State University, he was poised to enroll in the pre-pharmacy program and chase his professional dreams. Then, a night of drinking turned his life literally upside down. In this interview, we look at tragedy, forgiveness, and a rise from the ashes.
Jorge Gonzalez is a community connector. Born in Michigan to immigrant parents, he spent part of his youth in Mexico and part in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. With a background in banking and community development, he is the perfect choice to lead the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce into its next phase of growth. Join us as he talks about the power of education and the need for all citizens to be culturally competent in today's marketplace.
“How do I buck the expectations of my parents and a billion people back home?” Chinese students in the U.S. ask this question this every day. “Do I listen to the counsel of my family, as tradition dictates? Or do I follow the passions of my heart?” Creative business strategist Ning Liu talks about her life journey in the context of this cultural conundrum.
A timid teenager when he came to the U.S., Raymond Trujillo sought solace in his lifelong refuge of drawing and painting. With the mentoring of a teacher, he honed his skills and grew in confidence. Today, this intrepid immigrant from Mexico works as an artist, floral designer, party planner, clown, graphic designer, dance instructor, and emcee. Don't miss our chat with jack-of-all-trades, Raymond Trujillo.
What would you do if you became ill in a country where you didn't speak the language? Fortunately for thousands of patients in the U.S., this is the very issue that Carlos Pava concerns himself with. As Vice President for Voices for Health, Carlos supplies interpreters to hospitals so that patients can receive care in their first language when it matters the most--in a medical crisis. Join us as we explore the medical side of language and culture!
Joining Alan in the studio is cancer researcher Anthony Chang. Curious since his elementary school days, Anthony tells of his love for learning: from plumbing systems to martial arts. What makes this medical physicist passionate about his life in the U.S.? Creating micron-scale views of cancer tissue and sharing this pursuit of knowledge with his American students.
Three international students tell of their lives, their dreams, and a few stereotypes they'd like to debunk. Join Alan as he talks with Danilo (Cameroon), Paola (Italy), and Nargilya (Turkmenistan), in town for the annual international student conference.
In his coming to the U.S. to study international development, a Singaporean begins to examine the deep personal issues of race, identity, and belonging. Listen as Kyle Lim discusses his own biracial background in the context of race and place in the United States.
Mach Makuei, former Lost Boy of Sudan, talks of his childhood days in a refugee camp in Kenya and coming of age in the home of a generous foster parent in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now a graduate of Albion College, he dreams of taking his entrepreneur visions into the U.S. marketplace.
Brazilian Paulo Saiani talks about life in the United States from the viewpoint of an expatriate. He shares with Alan the struggles and joys of working on a temporary assignment for the Dow Chemical Co. in the U.S. Midwest.
Susan Im rejoins Alan in the studio, this time to talk about growing up second-generation Korean American in rural Michigan. She shares her newfound awareness of race, racism, and her own ethnic identity, which solidifies after the bludgeoning murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American mistaken for Japanese by unemployed auto workers in the 1970s.
Antoine Dubeauclard, Renaissance man, moved in his childhood with his family to the United States. There, he learned to speak fluently his third language (English), graduated from college (University of Michigan), and started a thriving business (Media Genesis) in Metro Detroit. In his spare time, Antoine brews craft beer in his home, does paintings on wood, and creates photography in black and white. He shares with Alan his thoughts on creativity and culture.
Psychologist Sook Wilkinson dedicated herself to understanding the complexities of international adoption and wrote two books on the subject. Now retired from clinical practice, she is a member of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, advocating for the state's largest growing minority.
The youngest of three children, Reyna Grande was born into poverty in Iguala, Mexico and raised through early childhood by her grandparents after her parents immigrated illegally into the United States in search of work to feed their family. Her coming-of-age story will inspire all of us who identify with the underdog who doesn't give up. Join us as we talk with the plucky young woman who went on to become an American citizen, mother of two, and award-winning author.
Field advocate Lillie Wolff talks about creating "receiving communities" and how we integrate newcomers into the fabric of Michigan life. A program of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Welcoming Michigan is affiliated with the grassroots Welcoming America collaborative.