Doing the right thing

In this issue, we are cov­ering the political races. We don’t endorse candi­dates. We are merely shar­ing the bigger races and the candidates in each. As I make the decision as to whom to vote for, I use my God guide and moral com­pass as I look to the teach­ings of the church.

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Giving others a voice

 Vanessa Denha Garmo

Vanessa Denha Garmo

     I sat at a Panera Bread holding back tears listening to Raad Kathawa talk about his daughter. Those who know him, I’m sure you don’t often see the side of him I did on this morning. He was a dad very much still in pain.
     I have tormented myself these passed two months. After working on a cover story about moms mourning the loss of their children, I sat down with Raad over iced tea, talking about Lindsay who passed away more than 30 years ago.
     Raad has asked Martin, Mike and me several times to write a story about St. Jude Hospital and it almost became expected every time we saw him.
     We fully intended to but the timing never seemed right, until now. Those who know Raad, know the boisterous and serious business man and community doer. Few will see the father who still walks around with a broken heart. I sat at the restaurant after our meeting for two more hours, writing his story and wiping my tears.
     I usually like to write about my own dad and husband during the month of June as we honor dads but instead, I share the story of one man who finds ways to make room in his life for a daughter who left this world before she even entered school.
     We reached out to a few other dads in similar situations but no one else wanted to share their story. So perhaps Raad represents them all and is the voice of dads who will never forget their deceased children. I want to thank Lauren Kathawa for offering input with the article.
     This issue touches on a few stories tied into having a voice. Our cover story is a two-part piece regarding Iraq.
     In this issue we share the story of Chaldeans who expressed their voice in the Iraqi elections. Monique Mansour talked to Shoki Konja and others about Iraq.
    Ashournia Slewo gives an update on the deportation story in two articles. In one she explains the 212C Waiver and what that means.
    She also pens an updated piece on those detained one year later. This past year many people spoke up to help Christian Iraqis living in America who were picked up and held in jail as they fought against being deported.
    Much has happened this past year and we continue to cover the story.
    We also address a very sensitive subject that we have written about before but this time it is from the voices of twin brothers who have written two books about being gay. We are fully aware of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and I encourage all of you to understand the teachings on this issue. We are in no means condoning the act of homosexuality; we are merely sharing their struggles about being gay. We share this story because it is a reality in the world, including in our own Chaldean community, and it still one that is often very difficult to address.
    Some people may not agree that we gave the twins our platform to express their voice by sharing their story and their book. I get it. I know it is a very controversial topic and expect various opinions about us discussing it. We may not agree with each other and that is okay but we should not be so closed off that we don’t allow others to have a voice.

When Your Child is Called Home

When I was about 7-years-old, we lived in California. There wasn’t a large Chaldean population at that time and we didn’t have relatives living nearby. I remember my mom taking to me to a funeral home for a baby who had died. I never walked into the actual room with the family or casket. I stayed out in the hallway with a lady watching me. My mom had no choice. She wanted to pay her respects and didn’t have a sitter for me.

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Getting Uncomfortable

I went on my first and last week-long overnight camp trip when I was about 12-years-old. It was through the YMCA. My mom registered me after I tested out a one-night over-night stay through the YMCA, but that was with a friend. When I registered to go for the entire week, I was going with my sisters but because they were at different ages, we would not be with each other and each had a friend to bunk with her. I did not. 

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Never Stop Learning

I never thought when we launched the Chaldean News in February 2004 that we would cover so many stories about Iraq and I certainly never thought that we would be so heavily engrossed in a story about Chaldeans being detained to be deported.

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Finding the Value

I sit at my desk inside my home office looking at my 2017 list of goals. I have created a New Year’s list for at least the last 20 years. Every year I fall short of meeting my goals. Regardless, I will make one for 2018.  Like most recent years, I will create the plan to achieve each goal. The plan is what has helped me truly execute. 

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A Leap of Faith

We are doing things a little differently this year. Instead of our Annual gift guide we typically include in the December issue, we decided to focus on Faith, Food, and Family while covering a local chef who appeared on the Food Network this fall for a baking contest.  Jonathon Elias is more than deserving to be on our cover page this month. He is a talented baker who has reached great heights in his career.

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A Mark in Fashion

The day before our photo shoot for Ink Detroit, I read a local column in a local paper posing the question: How many t-shirts does Detroit need? The premise was that Detroit t-shirts have outlived their purpose and stopped being clever or endearing. 

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Celebrating our culture and faith

My hit or miss understanding of the Sourath language really frustrates me. I used to know it so much better in my younger years when I spent more time around my grandmother Agatha and my mom’s family.  It was spoken all the time.  When I lived with my parents, I listened to conversations and my grasp of the language was pretty strong.  Today, it is very weak. 

 

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Learning never ends

While our kids head back to school for the 2017/2018 school year, I look for ways to continue learning all year long.  Life is about learning regardless of your age and stage in your career. I continue my education in public relations, communications and journalism in order to deliver the best service and product for my Denha Media clients and our Chaldean News readers.

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Affecting Others

We headed into our July issue with the intent of a cover spread on people with disabilities.  In the news business, content can change in minutes. What was intended to be a cover story or lead in a newscast can easily be pushed back because of a more timely story or breaking news.

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Time to Improve

After you lived in a home for a while, you really get an idea what you like and what you don’t. Halim Sheena posed a question for our Chaldean On the Street piece that asked if you could change one thing in your house what would it be and why?

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