A LETTER TO THE CHALDEAN COMMUNITY
There are few moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life and watching my father get zip tied and tossed into a car by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents is at the top of my list. There’s nothing quite like hearing my father, a man who has seen many horrors in his 51 years of life, cry out to me, begging me to not forget him.
November, also known as “National Diabetes Month,” serves as a time to educate people of all ages on how to better manage the risk for diabetes and encourage those living with the disease to learn more about how they can lead the healthiest and happiest life possible.
Seven months have already passed since the entire city of Mosul and the whole plain of Nineveh have been freed from the dominion of the Jihadists of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). Yet, to this day, many cities of the Nineveh Plain, once inhabited by Christians, “are still empty”, and no resident has returned to their homes, abandoned in the summer of 2014 in the face of the advancement the “Caliphate’s militias.
The small tight-knit Chaldean community prides itself on having strong family values and a solid Christian faith. So, when negative outside influences of modern-day society such as drugs sneaks its way into their homes, they are baffled on what to do. Most prefer hiding the issue to avoid shame and embarrassment. They don’t want to be judged, talked about, and looked down upon. Some end up facing their worst nightmare – the loss of a loved one.
Within one month, three people from the Chaldean American community lost their lives to drug overdose. In response, Peter’s Angels hosted a Resource Fair on Sunday, September 24 at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy. Named after Peter Alraihani, who lost his life at 27-years-old to an overdose in 2014, Peter’s Angels was formed by his aunt Iman Numan and sister Angie Toma. They wanted to raise awareness of the drug epidemic within the Chaldean community and to provide prevention through education and awareness.
It is a fact that drug addiction is rampant and most pervasive among our society. For the first time, the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, identified an unprecedented epidemic of opioids/heroin as a major public health problem, calling for the need to do something to curb addiction epidemics. Moreover, this addiction epidemic is a reality in the often-hidden communities. The Chaldean community is not an exception.
Last year, youth leaders at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield reached out to parents to get them more involved in their teenagers’ lives. They felt there needed to be more parent-child engagement to support the morals and values that should be at the heart of a faith-based family.
Most think of Greece as a utopia in southeastern Europe. On the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, it is the convergence point of Europe, Asia and Africa. Tens of millions of tourists visit Greece each year to bask in its beauty or trace the fingerprints of its rich history. Christina Salem, a senior at Oakland University studying journalism, was well aware of the splendor of Greece. However, when she visited the country for herself, she met some of its citizens and heard some of its untold stories.
Gabrail Youhana came to the U.S. in 2008 like many others to escape the religious persecution of Christians in his native country Iraq. He had more than the usual challenges of learning the language and culture of his new home. Youhana has the additional struggle of being completely blind.
As they approach the 16-year anniversary of their inception, the Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center (ECRC) is launching a new marriage retreat. “It has been in the works for years,” said Patrice Abona, executive director. “We evaluated existing retreats and a team of people led by Pelar and Laura Esshaki who wrote this retreat from scratch.
In light of the recent tragedies that have plagued our community, we took to the street to ask about addiction. We asked community members, what do you think we, as a community, can do to combat this epidemic?
With this issue being our Fall fashion guide, we wanted to know what community members absolutely needed in their closet. So we posed the question, what is a staple item in your closet?
With the launch of Mango Languages’ Sourath series this fall, we wanted to ask community members how they felt about preserving the Chaldean language.
On September 24, the Alexander and Gabrielle Mansour Memorial Fund hosted their fourth annual Stride for Seminarians charity walk in memory of Alex and Gabby. Hosted at the Detroit Zoo, many showed up to support the memorial fund and participate in an array of activities, including crafts, face painting and rose petal intentions. Fr. Pierre and Fr. Andrew kicked off the event with a prayer. Eventgoers were able to enjoy the sight of the various animals and their habitats during their walk before settling under the zoo’s pavilion for Mass. Treats for the event were provided by Donut Bar and Party Café.
The Adopt a Refugee Family Program hosted an event on October 5 in celebration of their 10 year anniversary. Since their inception, the Adopt a Refugee program has been able to send more than 10 million dollars to aid both individual refugees and refugee families, totaling more than 400,000 refugee families helped. Adopt a Refugee has been able to achieve this much success through a total volunteer effort. Many joined the celebrations hosted at the Shenandoah Country Club. Through this event, the Adopt a Refugee Family Program hoped to raise the funds required to help an additional 208 refugee families.