Welcome to all of you who have just joined this community of folks who are either part of metro Atlanta’s diverse communities or are interested in engaging and learning more about our changing and growing city.
Before we start, I want to *recognize* my neighbor Bailey, who after reading a piece I wrote about an Afghan family that’s been eager to learn English - donated her computer so they could begin language lessons online. I was also heartened to connect with more readers who are eager to support newly arriving Afghan families. For anyone interested in getting involved, I suggest emailing the Afghan American Alliance of Georgia, a network of grassroots volunteers supporting these families: email@example.com.
One more thing - there was a technical glitch so you may not have received last week’s newsletter (which contains some useful info about job openings!). Read it here.
Ok, let’s get started.
End of ICE program in Gwinnett and Cobb, brings immigrant communities some relief: This month marks the 1-year anniversary of Gwinnett and Cobb counties ending their participation in the controversial federal program 287(g)- which enabled local enforcement to check residents’ immigration statuses and turn them in to federal immigration officials for deportation. “In the past year, our community has been able to take a break. We’ve been able to rest … There’s less fear now, that’s a fact…But I believe that to this day no one has been able to take full stock of the harm that’s been caused in our community,” said Rafael Navarro, editor in chief of El Nuevo Georgia. Read the full story here.
Oldest Japanese restaurant in Atlanta marks 50 years since opening: Nakato Japanese Restaurant on Cheshire Bridge Road turns 50 this year, and is marking the milestone by dedicating 2022 to celebrating and remembering the restaurant’s history. Sachi Nakato Takahara, the granddaughter of the restaurant’s founder Tetsuko Nakato, now runs the restaurant. “When I stop to think about it, it’s kind of numbing in a sense, because how am I going to keep it going?” I want to make my grandma and my parents proud. So, that pressure is very heavy on me. Thinking about how to grow and expand the business, to be able to pass it down to the next generation, is my homework.” Read the full piece and check out archival photos of the restaurant in the AJC.
Feature: Balancing dual identities as an American Chinese adoptee in Georgia: The Georgia Asian Times explores issues of racism and identity through the story of Libby Hobbs, a Chinese American student at the University of Georgia. Libby was born in China and adopted by white American parents and shares her journey and struggle to come to terms with her Asian identity. “I believe my lack of ability to connect words into sentences did stem from the fact that my brain was constantly questioning my identity. Often, I felt like I was too white of an Asian or not enough of a minority to speak up for myself. It felt like my problems weren’t as big of a deal as my mom or dad were making them out to be. I soon realized that this was me rejecting the Asian part of my identity.” Read her story here.
Questions about “Flurona” or “Delacron”? The Latino Community Fund - GA is hosting a Facebook Live with Dr. Laila Woc-Colburn, a physician in the Infectious Diseases Division at Emory University to address any confusion people have around these new terms around COVID that people may have heard. Tomorrow, January 26th, at 1pm. More details here.
Asian Justice Rally: This weekend, organizers around the country are hosting rallies in cities that have been most impacted by Asian Hate - San Francisco, New York, Los Angela, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The virtual rally in Atlanta will include a moment of silence, a press conference, and multiple speakers including Dr. Michelle Au, Georgia State Senator, Victoria Huynh, VP, Center for Pan Asian Community Services (#CPACS), and Michelle Kang, Secretary General, Atlanta Korean American Committee Against Asian Hate. Sunday, January 30th, at 2pmET. More details here.
Job openings: Interested in working in community service or community advocacy? Several Atlanta based organizations have a range of openings including, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta, The Center for Pan Asian Community Services, The Latin American Association, and New American Pathways.
And finally, Zen Budhhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh passed away on Friday. I did some digging around, and learned that there is a mindfulness group in Atlanta that’s focused around his teachings - more info here if you’re interested.
The first book I read by him was The Art of Communicating. It made sense to start there since, essentially, communicating is my job. Leaving you with this quote from the book - which like most spiritual truths - is profoundly simple and incredibly hard to live by.
“Once you can communicate with yourself, you'll be able to communicate outwardly with more clarity. The way in is the way out.”
Wishing you clarity, truth, and pure communication this week.
Top Photo: A lotus flower, in honor of Thich Nhat Hanh's message: "Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud." Credit: Getty Images