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.
Attorney Raquel Salas understands the ins and outs of immigration and cultural adaptation, having moved to the U.S. over a decade ago from her native Dominican Republic. She uses that lived experience as a newcomer along with her native Spanish language skills to counsel immigrants in the intricacies of American criminal law. She joins us to talk about culture, belonging, and the myths that surround the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA for short.
Abe Carrillo is a proud son of Mexican immigrants and proud employee at Herman Miller where he is Director for Diversity & Global Inclusiveness. He joins us to talk about the hard work of immigrants and the inspiring community work that Herman Miller is engaged in.
Singer-songwriter Myra Maimoh is as comfortable on stage with a microphone as she is with a warm cup around the coffee table. The Cameroonian-born mother of three laughs easily and genuinely while recounting her youth in Central Africa, singing in church and in girl bands. She takes the stage in our studio to share an original composition from her recent album and shares how this formerly cold city of Grand Rapids is rapidly becoming home. Come for the music; stay for the conversation!
Do you play the lottery? Does the money really go to charitable causes? How many billions are at stake, and do various state and national lotteries pay their fair share of taxes? Journalism professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein talks about investigative reporting and the global lottery industry.
As a boy, young Alfred Lessing was like most other children in his native Netherlands. He played with friends and loved his family. But there was one difference: he was Jewish. So when the Nazis overran his country in 1940, his mother sprang into action. Her one goal: save the family from extermination. In this three-part interview, Dutch immigrant Fred Lessing talks of love, hiding, and what we can learn from human atrocities. Interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
DACA recipient Kevin Vazquez talks about what it means to live in the shadows of the United States, his adopted homeland. As the Trump administration moves toward deporting 800,000 Dreamers, fears grow in the immigrant community. One young man's personal story.