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GigRoots

Grassroots Economics In America

A podcast featuring stories of entrepreneurs from disinvested communities across the United States, and their journeys of moving from ‘marginalized to mainstream’. It also features the ESOs, community stakeholders, and i
Latest Episode9/29/2020

Welcoming Cleveland | Joe Cimperman | Esther Ngemba

Season 3, Ep. 4
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.
9/29/2020

Welcoming Cleveland | Joe Cimperman | Esther Ngemba

Season 3, Ep. 4
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.
9/20/2020

Welcoming Sioux City | Erica DeLeon | Jose Gonzalez

Season 3, Ep. 3
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.
9/13/2020

Welcoming Twin Falls | Susie Rios | Alejandra Hernandez

Season 3, Ep. 2
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
9/7/2020

Welcoming St. Louis | Julio-Zegarra-Ballon | Suzanne Sierra

Season 3, Ep. 1
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.
9/2/2020

GigRoots Season 3 | Welcoming America

Season 3
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!
8/25/2020

Latashia Perry Interview | GigRoots Podcast

Season 2, Ep. 11
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.
8/19/2020

Jeanette Brewster Interview | GigRoots Podcast

Season 2, Ep. 10
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