Finding a need, seeking a change
By Monique Mansour
Located in Sterling Heights, the Chaldean Community Foundation – the nonprofit arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce – has a four pillar mission: advocacy, acculturation, community development, and cultural preservation. According to their website, they are a human and social services organization providing assistance. They were founded in 2006, and host a wide-range of programming and solutions for the Chaldean community and beyond.
Stacy Bahri is the Strategic Initiatives Manager of the Chaldean Community Foundation. She, along with a dedicated team, helped to establish an initiative in fulfilment of the CCF mission. The Hey U Vote initiative, launched in 2017, came together in order to remedy an issue within the Chaldean community. “We have a large number of U.S. citizens in the Chaldean community that are not registered to vote. The Hey U Vote campaign was launched by the Chaldean Community Foundation in an effort to encourage eligible community members to register to vote, as well as aid with voter registration,” said Bahri.
In developing the marketing for the initiative, Bahri found it essential to include elements of Chaldean culture. “We came up with a name for the campaign that represented the Chaldean community and heritage. The word ‘Hey U’ in Chaldean means ‘Come.’ In other words, we are saying, ‘Come vote!’ After the name was created, we worked with a designer to create the logo, which incorporates Aramaic.”
The logo can be found on t-shirts and on posters which are visible at Hey U Vote drives. Individuals who register in person at the Chaldean Community Foundation receive a t-shirt with the logo.
The initiative prides itself in being active in the community, as the members involved with it help to register individuals at churches, community events, as well as at various forums. “Members of our team once helped to register 50 individuals after mass during one of our drives,” recalled Bahri. “It was an exciting moment for all of us involved with the initiative.”
Another initiative of the Chaldean Community Foundation, Breaking Barriers, which provides assistance and advocacy to those with special needs, hosts community events from time to time. Members of the Hey U Vote initiative were present at a Breaking Barriers event this past summer, where they helped individuals register to vote. “The Chaldean Community Foundation has registered hundreds of individuals to vote since the launch of the Hey U Vote Campaign,” said Bahri. “I’m proud to be a part of such a devoted team who understands the importance of this.”
“Our goal for the program is to encourage the Chaldean community to get out and vote on issues that matter to them and their family and participate in the decisions that shape the future of our community,” said Bahri. “In the future, it is our hope that we will have more community members become politically involved and hold elected positions.”
Individuals who would like to register to vote may do so in person during the regular hours of operation at the Chaldean Community Foundation.