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57 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Welcoming Cleveland | Joe Cimperman | Esther Ngemba
Welcoming Cleveland | GigRoots Podcast Welcoming America Series, pt. 4Are Immigrants the Secret Weapon to Advancing Black Achievement in America?And Cleveland, OH Enters the Race to Become the New Wakanda. About the episode:In this final episode of the Welcoming America series, we're in Cleveland, Ohio. It's a swing-state, and a place where the stakes are higher than ever. Does it hold the secret to bringing about both economic and social transformation as a country? In Cleveland, there’s a cultural rift between blacks in America and African immigrants that dates back decades. Of course, the primary distinction boils down to volition—one group has come voluntarily while another are the descendants of those brought here against their will. That context makes all the difference for embracing America as a land of opportunity. However, the connective tissue is the idea of overcoming adversity, of demonstrating resilience even in the face of overwhelming odds. Will this rift be repaired through solidarity, or will the chasm become greater? Perhaps the very social fabric of the nation hinges upon the election and what shapes the next four years of leadership for the country. Key Topics:What's the backstory behind the divide between Africans and native-born black Americans? How do we overcome the trauma of slavery alongside the horrific experiences of many refugees?Will immigrants help shape the country's economic future or is that merely a pipe dream?How do we come together across cultural backgrounds to change the social fabric of a nation? Guests:Joe Cimperman, President of Global ClevelandEsther Ngemba, Owner of Furahi Taste of HomeHelpful Links:https://globalcleveland.org/https://furahiatasteofhome.com/About the series:During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can belong. Through their network, we’ve spoken with local leaders and business owners actively contributing to strengthening their communities. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
42 minutes | Sep 20, 2020
Welcoming Sioux City | Erica DeLeon | Jose Gonzalez
Welcoming Sioux City | GigRoots Podcast Welcoming America Series pt. 3Protests Made Their Way to Many Quiet, Midwestern Towns. But There's A Continued Disconnect Between Immigrants And People Of Color. About the episode:As we know, change happens slowly. The nation’s growing impatience in dealing with the pandemic exacerbates the issue. Minorities and immigrants, wearied from the generations-long battle for racial justice, were pushed to the brink upon seeing the news of George Floyd. Waves of protests and rioting cascaded from one major city to the next. Meanwhile, in small Midwest towns, much of life continued as on it always had. Only now—after many years of keep the status quo—there were enough people of a different skin tone to stand up and take notice. Erica DeLeon is the Director for OneSiouxLand, where she works to help everyone manage the changes, one day at a time.Key Topics:How many immigrants believe race is not an issue in the US?What are ways to achieve overall ethnic solidarity? What are the practical means to addressing economic disparities?How are political paradigms shifting alongside changing demographics?Should lack of minority and ethnic representation in government be the primary focus? Guests:Erica DeLeon, Director of OneSiouxLandJose Gonzalez, Owner of Mi Familia RestaurantHelpful Links:http://onesiouxland.org/https://nebraskademocrats.org/About the series:During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can belong. Through their network, we’ve spoken with local leaders and business owners actively contributing to strengthening their communities. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
37 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Welcoming Twin Falls | Susie Rios | Alejandra Hernandez
Welcoming Twin Falls | GigRoots Podcast Welcoming America Series, pt. 2Twins Falls, Idaho Is Growing Thanks to Latinx Surge. But It's Hard Work Getting Ahead.About the Episode:Twin Falls, Idaho is home to the kind of companies associated with the health-conscious, outdoorsy crowd. After a day of skiing in the Sun Valley, one might hang up their Columbia brand sport coat and settle in with a Clif Bar and a cup of Chobani yogurt. Columbia sportswear, Clif Bar and Chobani are some of the major job providers in the region. As towns go, Twin Falls is relatively small, with a population just over fifty thousand. But it’s responsible for much of the economic output within southern Idaho’s increasingly popular Magic Valley. There’s also been a huge surge amidst Hispanics, which now comprise roughly thirteen percent of the population. Immigrant women struggle to get ahead, especially without the aid of other women who know how to navigate community life.Key Topics:Why is having a mentor so important for immigrants?What does it take to integrate into a new community?How does fear destroy racial progress?How do immigrants take on more leadership roles?When will Clif Bar come out with a less sugary snack? :)Guests:Susie Rios | Statewide Outreach Director, Idaho Women's Business CenterAlejandra Hernandez | Executive Director, Unity Alliance of Southern IdahoHelpful Links:https://idahowomen.org/https://www.idhispanicchamber.org/about-usAbout the series:During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can belong. Through their network, we’ve spoken with local leaders and business owners actively contributing to strengthening their communities.#welcoming week, #creatinghometogether See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
49 minutes | Sep 7, 2020
Welcoming St. Louis | Julio-Zegarra-Ballon | Suzanne Sierra
Welcoming St. Louis | GigRoots Podcast Welcoming America Series, pt. 1The St. Louis Mosaic Project Wants to Draw More Immigrants To Help The City Bounce Back.About the Episode:St. Louis is fervently seeking in order to draw in new residents. At one time, the city boasted a population of nearly one million people. Today, the population is only around three-hundred thousand. Many blacks have left the city, while ethnic immigration has recently slowed due to current federal policy. The city needs to find ways to support entrepreneurship among the foreign-born while also investing in people of color. Suzanne Sierra from the St. Louis Mosaic Project talks about grassroots efforts to spur business growth. Local entrepreneur and Peruvian immigrant Julio Zegarra-Ballon recalls the past thirty years of ups and downs in American politics and immigrant opportunities.Key Topics:How do we look at fair trade as promoting equity?What does it take to break into local networks as a foreign newcomer?How have attitudes towards immigrants shifted over the last thirty years?How do you spread welcome to others as a foreigner?What sort of reinvestment does it take to bring people back?Guests:Julio Zegarra-Ballon, owner of ZeeBee MarketSuzanne Sierra, Senior Program Manager, The St. Louis Mosaic ProjectHelpful links:https://zeebeemarket.com/https://www.stlmosaicproject.org/About the series:During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can belong. Through their network, we’ve spoken with local leaders and business owners actively contributing to strengthening their communities. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
GigRoots Season 3 | Welcoming America
Welcome to Season 3!Immigrants Mean Business. But What Happens If New Americans Are No Longer Welcome?Immigrants make up roughly 1-in-4 of the business owners in America. They are shop owners, freelancers, side-hustlers, and more. Together they contribute millions of jobs to the economy each year. Many local leaders are working to ensure that their cities and communities are welcoming to immigrants. But there are a variety of challenges immigrants and people of color face, particularly when it comes to starting a business that provides steady income for their families. Changes to immigrant policy and the spread of the coronavirus had made these issues far worse. Immigrant entrepreneurship is the key to revitalizing our economy as well as truly making America great.As T'Challa from Black Panther reminds us, "more connects us than separates us." When Chadwick Boseman's character T'Challa speaks these words to the UN Assembly, he casts a vision for a new Wakanda that welcomes all people. What would a New America look like under this same vision?"In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers."-- King T'ChallaThis season, we'll discuss:How racism and ethnocentrism threaten jobs and economic growth.Places where populations are shrinking and the plans to bounce back.Cities where immigrants are helping to revitalize local economies.Organizations supporting more welcoming cities and communities.How newer Americans are shaping the future.About Welcoming America:During our third season, we’ve partnered with Welcoming America to help share the stories of foreign-born peoples who have come to call America home. Welcoming America is leading a national movement of cultivating inclusive communities. They work with non-profits and local governments, providing tools and resources to help make cities places where everyone can build a stronger nation together.Helpful links:https://www.welcomingamerica.org/https://research.newamericaneconomy.org/https://certifiedwelcoming.org/Key Questions:How welcoming is your city? Check out the NAE's cities index to see how it measures up. [see the Chicago example]What makes for a welcoming city? Learn what it takes for cities to become certified as welcoming places.How have immigrants contributed to the local economy? Explore the map to find out.How do we create home together? Discover Welcoming Week this September.Stay tuned! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
37 minutes | Aug 25, 2020
Latashia Perry Interview | GigRoots Podcast
Cultivating love for black hair across multiple generations—that’s hopefully a positive sign of things to come. If popular media is any indication, promoting self-acceptance of black hair is gaining some serious ground. I caught up with Latashia to talk about the inspiration behind her books, what’s next for her growing company, and what life is like being a mompreneur. Audiences may remember the animated short entitiled Hair Love by Matthew Cherry. That short took the Oscar at the 92nd Academy Awards earlier this year. And it’s currently being made into an extended animated series running on HBOMax. Side note— animator Carl Jones of Boondocks fame is also set to be attached to the series. Meanwhile, Latashia Perry’s book series is all over YouTube—there are tons of channels featuring both teachers and kids reading her books aloud receiving thousands of views. And often Perry is not the only black children’s author to be featured. All of this could be a sign that ethnic hair is becoming far more normalized. But the added element to all of this is of course supporting women and black-owned businesses. The nuances to this are distinct for every particular city and town. I encourage everyone to check out Latshia’s books and to keep an eye out for a bookmobile headed near you. Thanks as well to Adrian and James for sharing the heart and vision for Flint SOUP. The relationships between emerging entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them can be truly transformational. That’s why coming up on the GigRoots podcast, we’ll look to feature more in-depth interviews like this one that can help provide multiple dimensions to the story of grassroots economics in America. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
25 minutes | Aug 19, 2020
Jeanette Brewster Interview | GigRoots Podcast
During this episode, we’re heading south to Greenville, South Carolina. If you hop on I-85 it would take you slightly less than two hours to get to Charlotte, North Carolina. Atlanta Georgia is about three hours in the other direction. Greenville sits right in between these major cities. Like other medium sized cities, Greenville is facing some growing pains. With growth comes opportunity, but often at the cost of pricier home development. If you’re one of the two-hundred entrepreneurs that have come through a local program called Village Launch—you’re well aware of this conundrum. There’s an ongoing tension between the push for jobs and large-scale development alongside the desire to see more locally-driven economic opportunity. When big companies like Amazon or Wal-Mart enter into new markets, they may bring lots of jobs. But the jobs don’t typically pay much, so many people look to find supplemental sources of income. This is another example of entrepreneurship out of necessity — a phenomenon becoming increasingly the new norm. Jeanette Brewster is an Outreach Coordinator for Village Launch. She moved to Greenville in the 90s, says that the town has grown considerably, and has watched as gentrification has started displacing friends and family. At this point, if you’re not all that familiar with the paradox of gentrification—you owe it to yourself to learn more. Jeanette and others like her are trying to help answer this key question: what does responsible development look like for communities in transition? Links: https://villagelaunch.org/welcome See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23 minutes | Aug 12, 2020
Felicia Jackson Interview | GigRoots Podcast
Something that we don’t often think about in our day to day is what we would do during an emergency. Let’s suppose for a moment that your working from home during the pandemic (not much of a stretch, I know). Then a family member starts choking — what do you do? Well according to a 2018 survey, only about half of American adults know how to properly administer CPR. I for one am definitely on the other half of that equation. Well thanks to Felicia Jackson — you don’t have to become an expert in CPR in order to save a life. When Felicia came up with concept for a kind of template that overlays on to a person suffering from a life threatening situation, she knew that she was on to something. Her company, CPRWrap, has begun taking off like crazy. And it’s a good thing — because according to the American Heart Association, approximately 475,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest each year. Felicia is working to change that. But she’s also experiencing some growing pains as she looks to expand her business. From her home outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, Felicia shares the details of her journey. Take a listen. Links: https://cprwrap.com/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
36 minutes | Aug 4, 2020
Teresa Lucas Interview | GigRoots Podast
This episode, we’re in Flint Michigan. It’s situated about an hour outside of Detroit—the Motor City. We all know about the economic downturn of the automotive industry that hit D-town especially hard. And by extension Flint saw its primary labor force decrease by as much as one-tenth over a stretch of roughly four decades. But within the last twenty years, the city has been attempting a bounce back, only to be have been hit by a continuous string of financial hardships, along with strains placed on local government to enhance the city’s failing infrastructure. So now the city’s roughly 100,000 residents continue pushing forward. Teresa Lucas is a resident just outside the metro area in the town of Grand Blanc. Her business is Life Without Limits, a social enrichment program that helps train children with autism to function within traditional educational and social environments. For families coping with autism—that is certainly enough of a challenge, only to be compounded by the ongoing pandemic. Teresa’s own experience raising a child with autism informs her approach to supporting families during these trying times. Naturally, anything on top of the stress of COVID-19 tends to place parents on edge and push families to the breaking point. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
48 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Niallah Scruggs/Tiffany Williams Interview | Sugar Queen Bakery | Exquisite Catering
Right now, lots of Americans are discussing the importance of supporting black-owned businesses. When we launched GigRoots back in April of this year— the whole idea was to shine a light on the many people of color operating businesses in cities across the country. Because—as we know—many of these stories often go untold. Then on May 25th, a man named George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. Immediately following the death of Georg Floyd, many Americans began protesting against police brutality. A couple of months later, protests are still going on. But it didn’t take long for many black folks to point out that protests—while symbolizing allyship—are ultimately short-lived sentiments that won’t create lasting change. Black people started asking their white allies to dig deeper to find the root causes of injustice, economic disparity being among them. Interviews with Niallah Scruggs of Sugar Queen Bakery and Tiffany Williams of Exquisite Catering.Links: Niallah Scruggs https://thesugarqueenbakery.com/ | Tiffany Williams https://www.exquisitecateringevents.com/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
26 minutes | Jul 17, 2020
Melissa Strawn Interview | MyPeopleNow| Seattle, WA
About the episode:As of 2018, the gig economy comprised roughly 36% of the workforce, that’s about 57 million American workers. Many of these individuals have to trade off job flexibility for things like relatively low pay and lack of benefits. Melissa Strawn runs an online platform called My People Now. She says it was initially designed to help gig workers find new opportunities. But she’s now discovering how much gig workers are some of the most vulnerable to market instability. Melissa wants to do more. She hopes to create better options and resources for folks operating in the gig economy. This starts with better employer engagement and of course helping freelancers survive during the ongoing pandemic. Links: https://mypeoplenow.com/https://www.instagram.com/mypeoplenow/?igshid=d7ewy8ibgid5 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
24 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Attah Obande | Life As An Inside-Outsider.
Attah Obande | Spring GR | Grand Rapids, MIEntrepreneur. Community Leader. Changemaker. Attah Obande takes on many roles for the city of Grand Rapids. This includes the roles of immigrant, husband, father, and a black man in America. How does one navigate identity? None of us are simply what others see us as. We are a mixture of the people, places, traditions, and beliefs that shape us. This affects not only the way we see ourselves—but the way we operate in the marketplace. Grassroots entrepreneurship is about navigating the complexity of it all while pursuing an often elusive, multi-faceted American ideal. Links: https://www.springgr.com/ https://www.instagram.com/springgr_/ | https://www.infablesocks.com/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | Jul 3, 2020
Noah Adair | Basic human dignity has been stripped away.
Noah Adair | Emmaus | Chicago, ILNoah Adair is the Executive Director for Emmaus Ministries in Chicago, IL. Emmaus is a non-profit that fights sex trafficking and exploitation for the many homeless men and teens mostly scattered throughout the downtown and north sides of the city. The stigma surrounding male exploitation is what often prevents young men from seeking the help they want and need. The staff at Emmaus have a difficult task in front of them. As they mobilize volunteers for outreach in the streets, they’re teaching individuals to reject the stigma while affirming basic human dignity. Human dignity—that’s been a big topic of discussion for Noah and his team lately. In a city with a tough racial past, the current focus on the exploitation of black lives in particular has left those on the streets longing all the more for dignity and justice.Links: https://streets.org/https://www.facebook.com/EmmausChicago/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23 minutes | Jun 26, 2020
“We’ve been doing the work...we’re still on our same trajectory.”
Monika Matthews | Queencare | Seattle, WAThe COVID-19 is still going on, but only sort of...Suffice it to say, plenty more things have redirected our national attention in the meantime. Black Lives Matter is nothing new, neither is civil rights nor similar discussions around equity. Yet the most recent iteration perhaps demonstrates an acute awareness of just how short our collective attention span really is. When it comes to issues of race, perhaps there’s an elevated consciousness that we’re seeing unlike ever before. Which means that lots of folks are reaching for the spotlight in order to maximize the pathos of the moment. Meanwhile Monika Matthews of Queencare in Seattle has been doing the work. She will continue doing the work no matter what. And that’s the kind of day-in, day-out resiliency that we love to highlight here at GigRoots. Links: https://www.queencareproducts.com/ | https://twitter.com/queencareskin See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
28 minutes | Jun 20, 2020
"I'm passionate about God, my people, and technology."
Not every startup is tech related, and not every starter is tech savvy. In fact, many microenterprises we interview on this show admit to struggling with how to leverage technology to benefit their business. Arianna Waller started Wallway Technologies because she noticed this was a big problem for many fledgling entrepreneurs, and she wanted to help. While her company helps solve for an array of tech issues, Arianna herself is out to address an even bigger issue. When it comes to the big names out there— Google, Facebook, Microsoft — women are few and far between. And women of color involved in tech startups that get funding from traditional channels— well, that’s even less. But Arianna’s positivity and tenacity are infectious. Between her podcast, entitled Women In Tech, and her company Wallway Technologies— Arianna seems to be making some headway.Links: https://www.wallwaytech.com/ https://www.wallwaytech.com/podcast See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
17 minutes | Jun 12, 2020
"Trying to find the right combination..."
Alisha Lauchie owns and operates Five14 Candle Company, spreading light and life through a line of handmade products. She opened her doors in 2016, and ever since she’s been on a mission to promote peace and joy to households everywhere. Links: https://five14.life/ https://www.instagram.com/five14.candles/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
18 minutes | Jun 6, 2020
BJ Stewart | Poverty Is More Than Economics
This episode I speak with community leader and my good friend BJ Stewart. BJ serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Urban Impact in Seattle Washington. Seattle is a global hot spot, a tech powerhouse with a buzzing scene for startups. But of course, there’s another story. The city saw a huge surge in coronavirus cases early on, which only served to exacerbate the problems for many local communities. BJ wants to help break the barriers to marketplace entry that marginalized entrepreneurs face, and Urban Impact is in a prime position to serve the diverse ethnic groups that dwell in the 98118 zip code. Breaking the cycle of poverty requires addressing the many facets that feed into a significant opportunity gap. Links: https://www.urbanimpactseattle.org/ https://twitter.com/urbanimpactsea See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
13 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
Season Recap | 06.01.20 | The Struggle Continues...
In the first season of GigRoots, we’ve been speaking with entrepreneurs from all across the country about the effects of quarantine on their various endeavors. And of course every type of business is different. Just like each community has its own particular struggles, each entrepreneur deals with his or her own unique challenges. In some cases, the different aspects of a business can see contrasting results. The entrepreneurs on this podcast are seizing their own opportunities every single day. But that’s not enough. Equal opportunity needs to happen both through the fight for basic civil rights as well as the need for economic empowerment. As business owners, marginalized entrepreneurs have such incredible things to offer the world — we just have to be willing to hear their stories. Coretta Frazier | Professional Management Solutions | https://www.professionalmanagementsolutions.org/Zora Dawson | IZB Naturals | https://izb-naturals.myshopify.com/Cindy Beresford | The Rise Salon | https://therisesalon.com/grassrootsgig.comtwitter: https://twitter.com/grassrootsgiginstagram: https://www.instagram.com/grassrootsgig/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
17 minutes | May 30, 2020
"When I came here, I encountered blatant racism."
Cindy Beresford owns The Rise Salon. She focuses on cultivating beauty for women through wearing their hair naturally. Depending on who you are, that may not seem like a big deal — but many black women struggle with societal conceptions of beauty in relation to how they view themselves. It can get complicated. The Rise Salon is a space where natural hair and natural beauty is celebrated. For Cindy, finding the ideal space in the ideal neighborhood means allowing the message to proliferate and be accepted by all. Links: https://therisesalon.com/ | https://www.instagram.com/therisesalon/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
15 minutes | May 23, 2020
"This city has a lot of growth to do, but I'm here to help."
Zora Dawson runs IZB Naturals, offering a line of products that promote healthy skin and natural beauty. Zora has big dreams for her business— and she wants to use her brand to help promote togetherness, positivity, and celebrate beauty in all its aspects. But that’s not easy with all the ugliness that’s being spread around these days. Zora remains resilient and determined, and she hopes to bring others along in the journey. https://izb-naturals.myshopify.com/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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