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New Detroit Multicultural Leadership Series: Chaldean Community

October 16 2013 | no comments

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The Detroit area is one of the most diverse in the country. But some say it is also one of the most segregated.

Over the next several months, Detroit 2020 will be bringing you a series of reports on sessions aimed at breaking down barriers.

7 Action News reporter Andy Choi will be attending each session.  The first one focused on the Chaldean community.

This was not only eye-opening, but truly dialogue-opening for the people involved. Metro Detroit is home to the largest Chaldean community outside of Iraq, with an estimated population of 121,000. As Catholics, they are minorities in an Arab homeland. Here in Michigan, their voices not only acknowledge their past, but yearn for a brighter future.

“Every day, it is like a story of, ‘What’s happened to them?’ We hope, maybe, we need a miracle,” said Sanaa Eishou, a Chaldean refugee.

It is a plea Eishou has voiced for the past eight years, after Iraqi insurgents kidnapped her husband and brother in law. “As a wife, as a mom, I need to know what happened to my husband,” she said.

Hope for a reunion is now a glimmer, but in this room full of strangers, the Chaldean refugee shares how her new life in Metro Detroit is part of the miracle she’s asked for. “I made a good decision and escaped from Iraq,” she said.

Sanaa’s story is one of countless Chaldean-American perspectives woven into the fabric of our community. Voices rarely heard from, now booming through the platform of New Detroit’s Multicultural Leadership Series—giving professionals an up-close look at the issues surrounding the Chaldean community.

“I don’t know if I had gone through that, if I would feel comfortable sitting on a panel talking to a bunch of strangers about what had happened to me in Iraq,” said Lindsay Robillard, a participant in the Multicultural Leadership Series.

“What I’m getting here is a sense of the trials the community has gone through the generations, the transitions, from Iraq to the United States,” said Khary K. Turner, another participant in the series.

 

 

Click here to go to the New Detroit website.

Learn more about the Chaldean community:

Click here for a Detroit 2020 story on Chaldeans in metro Detroit that aired in August 2011.

Click here to go to the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce website.

 

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