Diversity Awareness Partnership Annual Summit

Location: online
Wed, June 16, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
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Title: How to Show Up as an Ally for the Immigrant Communities During and Post the Pandemic 

Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the racial economic inequality among migrants and refugee communities. Moreover, AAPI in America are facing a heightened fear of racist abuse among other health concerns due to the pandemic. What can local leaders and organizations do to alleviate the pain of distressed communities? Hear from St. Louis community leaders on how to show up as an ally for the immigrant communities in St. Louis.  

Objectives:

  • Understand how racial economic inequality and racism towards immigrant communities have been exacerbated since the pandemic
  • Learn about allyship for immigrant communities
  • Understand how local leaders can step up to support the distressed communities

Presenters: 

Bomi Park (Moderator) 
St. Louis Mosaic Project 

Geoffrey Soyiantet 
Vitendo 4 Africa 

Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano 
Cortex Innovation Community 

Rachel D’Souza-Siebert 
Gladiator Consulting 

Rita Chang 
Immigrant Service Providers Network 

Bomi Park came to the United States in 2008 as an exchange student and calls St. Louis her home now. Bomi is the Project Manager at the St. Louis Mosaic Project and the World Trade Center St. Louis. In her position, Bomi ensures the success of Mosaic’s mission to attract and retain foreign born to the region by creating and supporting programs that are welcoming to international people. Prior to her current position, Bomi worked as an International Admission Counselor and Advisor at McKendree University, where she got her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Bomi was a New Leaders Council 2019 St. Louis fellow and served as the Community Liaison board member at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of St. Louis for two years. Bomi loves to build relationships, especially through culture and food. 

A native of Kenya, Geoffrey Soyiantet moved to St. Louis 16 years ago after graduating from college in Nairobi. He is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Vitendo 4 Africa. Vitendo’s mission is to empower African immigrants through educational and outreach programs in Missouri. Vitendo 4 Africa exists to provide immigrant and refugee families with direct services and interconnected resources to improve their quality of life. Geoffrey is co-founder and Board Chair of St. Louis African Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote business and trade in the African Continent and St. Louis Region. He also serves on the advisory committee of St. Louis Mosaic Project. 

Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico and inspired by her own experiences growing up as an immigrant in the United States, Gabriela Ramírez-Arellano is passionate and committed to helping people in marginalized communities have access to opportunities for wealth creation. Gabriela uses her voice to bring attention to issues around access, has been recognized as a thought-leader in social innovation and entrepreneurship, and was named one of the Top 100 people to know in St. Louis to succeed in business, as well as a Diverse Business Leader in the St. Louis region. Gabriela has been recognized as a Diversity Champion by the MO Department of Transportation and a Diversity and Inclusion Champion by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers. Gabriela leads the Center for Emerging Technologies, the largest and oldest Innovation Center in Missouri, as its Executive Director and is also the Director of Entrepreneurship at Cortex. She is a longtime volunteer with the BALSA Foundation and sits on several boards, including Propel Kitchen, Lindenwood University’s PACE Advisory Board, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Skills Trade Committee, and STLJuntos. She and her husband own Don Emiliano’s Restaurante Mexicano in O’Fallon, MO, and she is co-host of the Auténtico Podcast, which empowers and showcases bilingual Latinx professionals and small business owners. 

Rachel D’Souza-Siebert is a proud life-long resident of St. Louis. Born to parents who immigrated to the U.S.A from India, Rachel has always been passionate about bridging differences and celebrating what’s possible when we collaborate from a mindset of abundance, learning, and risk-taking. Rachel is the founder of Gladiator Consulting, a boutique consultancy with a holistic approach to nonprofit organizational capacity building. Through Gladiator, Rachel has combined her knowledge of Organizational Culture & Resource Development with her deep personal commitment to centering community and seeking justice. 

Rita Chang (she/her) is a first-generation Taiwanese-American from St. Louis, MO. Rita graduated from Beloit College in 2018 with a BA in Sociology. Her research has focused on community-based learning practices in higher education and learning experiences of first-year college students at a residential liberal arts school. Rita has studied binational collaboration of NGOs at the US/Mexico border, an experience that has been funded by the Weissberg Foundation Program in Human Rights and Social Justice. Her primary interests involve social movements, human rights, immigration, and education, and she is passionate about social change that centers the dignity of all people. Since 2019, she has been the Program Manager of the Immigrant Service Providers Network (ISPN), a coalition of 40+ agencies and individuals in St. Louis that collaborate on initiatives impacting immigrant community members. Rita joined the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) in March 2020 as the Policy & Advocacy Coordinator. 

 

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