The genesis of the Chaldean cheat sheet
By Monique Mansour
As president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, Martin Manna has been giving presentations to the greater Metro Detroit area on the Chaldean community for quite some time now. “Being a part of the Chaldean Community Foundation since its inception in 2006 has given me the opportunity to speak in front of leaders and companies about our community, so that they can understand the Chaldean community historically, culturally, and economically, to name just a few ways, and to give them an overall sense of our culture,” said Manna.
When Manna received a message to speak before the Chaldean American Student Association at Oakland University, he accepted it straight away. But this presentation ended a little differently than he had anticipated. “I soon recognized that many of the students didn’t completely understand what I meant when I began talking about Chaldean faith, family, and the history of our community,” he explained.
There’s a popular proverb in the English language: Necessity is the mother of invention. This is precisely the bolt of insight that rained down on Manna after giving the presentation. “All of this made me realize that we need to do something to help this new generation within our Chaldean community, many of which probably aren’t all that familiar with the sacrifices made by the generations before them...nor do they know how special they are to be part of this dynamic community...to speak the language of Christ and to have a unique history like no other community in the world.”
Manna decided a one-page digital document which can be easily accessed, shared, and referred to was just the solution to this problem. It will serve as an educational tool that people can use to understand what it means to be Chaldean, and it is an initiative of the Chaldean Community Foundation.
“On this document, there will be facts about the demographics of our community...it will explain things like what it means to be an Eastern Rite Catholic, who our bishop is, who our patriarch is, some of the contributions our community has made, various information which will tell where it is that we come from.”
The document was posted to Instagram at the end of February and on the Chaldean Community Foundation website.
“My hope is that those who read it and access it will feel a sense of pride. That they will get closer to their faith and to our language,” said Manna. It will also serve as a valuable tool to explain to others outside of the Chaldean community of what it means to be Chaldean. “All of this is meant to help with culture preservation, one of the main tenets of the Chaldean Community Foundation. Knowledge is power,” said Manna.
This cheat sheet of sorts will be updated and reposted as needed. “All of the dashboards and infographics that we have at the Chaldean Community Foundation are revisited once a year. We make changes and updates as necessary. We hope to do the same with the cheat sheet,” said Manna.
According to their website, the Chaldean Community Foundation is a human and social services organization providing assistance. They aim to improve the stability, health, and wellness of those they serve through advocacy, acculturation, community development and cultural preservation. They spearhead various programs and solutions and are active on social media. More information about the organization can be found on their website, www.chaldeanfoundation.org.