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Are you a Keeper of the American Dream?

December 01, 2010 - Posted by Katherine Vargas




This post was written by Katrina Shankle



At its heart, the ritual of immigration to this country is founded in the idea of the American Dream. Immigrants for hundreds of years have journeyed to the US with the quest of fulfilling their own dream. From generation to generation we keep this custom alive through the realization of our dreams. The National Immigration Forum will be celebrating this great tradition on Thursday December 2, during the 10th annual Keepers of the American Dream Awards Event at the Newseum's Knight Conference Center in Washington DC from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.



Ms. Tamez is responsible for directing and advising all of Microsoft’s U.S. and global immigration programs, policies and practices; her voice has played a critical role in Microsoft’s efforts to shape immigration changes for highly skilled workers. Ms. Wondemu has shared her love of her culture by opening one of the first Ethiopian restaurants in the District; since its opening she has become one of the DC area’s most successful foreign-born women restaurateurs. Ms. Szekely opened a museum and cultural center, the New Americans Museum, in California that honors the immigration experience and infuses the process of becoming a new American with added purpose and honor. USHLI has developed into one of the most powerful, nationally and internationally recognized Latino organizations in the country; its mission is to fulfill the principles of democracy by empowering minorities, immigrants and similarly disenfranchised groups, and by maximizing civic awareness and participation in the electoral process. USHLI is led by Dr. Andrade, one of the only two Latino recipients in history of the Presidential Medal “for the performance of exemplary deeds of service for the nation” and “excellence in promoting leadership and civic participation”.



The event celebrates the heroes who embody the spirit of immigrant achievement and the American Dream, who contribute significantly to the well-being of immigrants in America, and who enhance our appreciation of immigrants and the immigrant tradition.This year’s honorees are Lydia Tamez, Zed Wondemu, Deborah Szekely and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI).


In addition to hearing from the honorees, this year’s KADA event will feature an art collection by Artist Helen Zughaib. Ms. Zughaib was born in Beirut, Lebanon, living mostly in the Middle East and Europe before coming to the United States to study art. She believes that the arts are one of the most important tools we have to help shape and foster dialogue and positive ideas about the Middle East. Hopefulness, healing and spirituality are all themes that are woven into her work. As an Arab American, Helen feels that her background in the Middle East allows her to approach the experiences she has in America, in a unique way, remaining an observer of both the Arab and American cultures.

The artwork itself depicts the stories her father would share with her of life leading up to his migration to America. He would tell these stories as a way to further the family’s knowledge of their own history. In a post 9/11 world, Helen recognized the value of sharing her family history with others as well. Her hope has been to combat some of the negativity and correct misconceptions the public have of Arab-Americans. By sharing her own family story she believes people will identify with its common premise- that most of our family histories are motivated by the same compassions, wants and needs.


If you don’t live in Washington or cannot attend the event, you can still support us by sharing your own story and tells us why YOUR FAMILY IS GRATEFUL FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Here is my story and what the American Dream means to me and my family:


For more information on the event visit: 





Share your own American Dream story

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