Look Who’s in the News!

Congratulations to our 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards Professional Excellence winner, Maj. Adebayo Temitope Adeleke! Adebayo’s enlightening commentary about immigrant soldiers serving our country was recently published in The Dallas Morning News. It’s truly inspirational so we took the liberty of posting it here:

Many of the soldiers securing our borders are immigrants who are proud to defend the U.S.

In 2010, while leading a U.S. Army command post in Afghanistan, I was struck by how the immigrants in our ranks made our unit stronger. As we set up our headquarters, a soldier from Ecuador showed us how to organize the buildings’ layout to get the best cross-ventilation. Another from the Caribbean had a great strategy for conserving wood. As an immigrant myself — I was born in Nigeria — I was inspired by how we combined our cultural wisdom and engineering solutions to create a first-rate command post.

As a retired U.S. Army major, I’ve seen firsthand how welcoming people from a variety of backgrounds into our military teaches us all to be more collaborative and innovative. That’s why I disagree with the Trump Administration’s efforts to restrict immigrants from serving in our military — whether it’s adding extra red tape for green card holders or failing to offer new recruits protection from deportation if their visas expire even after they enlisted.

I think it’s crucial that we recognize the unique perspectives and specialized skills that our immigrant soldiers can offer this nation. President George W. Bush recognized in 2002 the value of immigrants in military when he signed an executive order to expedite citizenship proceedings for noncitizens serving in the military. In 2009, the U.S. Defense Department began permitting noncitizens who possess critical language and health care skills to serve through a program called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest. The program has enabled the military to fill critical skills gaps that are vital to our national defense. Unfortunately, it was closed to new applicants in 2016, and by the summer of 2018, the department reportedly had discharged as many as 500 immigrant recruits with those skills, even though research shows the U.S. military still struggles to fill such shortages.

Immigrants play a sizable role in our military, accounting for nearly 5 percent of all personnel. Nationally, there are more than 190,000 foreign-born residents serving in our forces — more than a quarter of whom are active duty, according to research by New American Economy. Here in Texas, there are 15,160 foreign-born residents in the military, and 4,068 are on active duty. There’s also proof from Pentagon research that immigrant soldiers serve longer than native-born troops.

We come from all over the world, but we are proud to wear the same uniform to defend our adopted nation. For me, serving this country has been the pride of my life, though when I enlisted I never imagined I’d stay for 20 years. Back then, I was a teenager living with my family in New York City. I was hoping to go to college but as a noncitizen was not eligible for financial aid or in-state tuition. While watching the Yankees play the Mets, I saw an advertisement for the Army. “Be all that you can be,” it said.

The Army did enable me to be all that I could be. It provided the financial help that enabled me to graduate from college. After that I became a paratrooper and traveled the world. I served in Afghanistan and helped civilians in Japan after the typhoon. But the most important lesson I learned is that my military achievements were never about me. I loved joining my brothers and sisters to fight for a cause larger than ourselves: the United States of America. After I became a commander, I dedicated myself to the brave men and women I led.

When it comes to the mission of keeping our borders secure, we already have the world’s best and brightest here. They simply want the opportunity to defend the country they love.

Adebayo Adeleke is a retired U.S. Army major and a lecturer at Sam Houston State University. He lives in Grand Prairie.

Nominations Open for the 2019 Immigrant Journey Awards

Presented by Scheef & Stone, LLP, the Immigrant Journey Awards program is now accepting nominations of outstanding immigrants.  The awards recognize the achievements and contributions of immigrant individuals as well as  businesses and organizations promoting accessibility, inclusion and full community participation of new immigrants.

Everyone is encouraged to nominate extraordinary business, professional, and community leaders and advocates, who have made significant impacts on others and society. Nominations (https://bit.ly/2BE6PRF), which are submitted electronically, will remain open from now until April 25, 2019.

Award nominees include entrepreneurs, advocates, civic leaders and individuals who have made substantial professional achievements in their field. They can be nominated for these applicable categories: Immigrant Entrepreneur, Immigrant Professional Excellence, Immigrant Advocate and Immigrant Spirit Awards.

“For eight years, the Immigrant Journey Awards has recognized for immigrants for their contributions to North Texas and the United States,” said Ann Massey Badmus, immigration attorney and partner at Scheef & Stone, LLP.  “We are excited to spotlight outstanding immigrant achievements this year as we continue to celebrate the diversity of North Texas and our nation, honor exceptional immigrants and their advocates, and  award scholarships to outstanding immigrant or first generation American high school seniors.”

The Immigrant Entrepreneur Award is for an individual who has built a highly successful North Texas business and sets an example for other motivated entrepreneurs locally and in the nation. Immigrants who have made remarkable strides in a professional field are eligible for the Immigrant Professional Excellence​ Award, while the Immigrant Spirit Award recognizes an individual who has contributed substantially to the well-being of the entire community or region. Lastly, the Immigrant Advocate Award goes to an individual, organization, business or government entity that has made a powerful and positive impact on the welfare of immigrants via public advocacy.

Honorees have unbelievable backgrounds and stories of perseverance, achievement, and overcoming the odds as immigrants in the community. Having emigrated from India, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Colombia, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Taiwan, Singapore, Ethiopia, El Salvador,  Honduras, and other countries, nominees have come a long way in their significant achievements in business, education, medicine, athletics, community service, and politics.

The Immigrant Journey Awards will be presented at the annual Immigrant Journey Awards Gala on Friday, June 14, 2019 at the Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas, Texas at 7 p.m. Award finalists will be notified by May 1, 2019 and expected to attend the gala in order to be considered for an award.  Interested parties should visit http://www.immigrantjourney.org to find out more and submit a nomination.

2018 Immigrant Journey Award Winners Announced at Gala in Celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month

2018ImmigrantJourneyInvite2In a time when immigration is the hottest topic discussed, the annual Immigrant Journey Awards (IJA) came just in time. This month, also Immigrant Heritage Month, approximately 200 individuals united to highlight influential immigrants at the 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards Gala, hosted by nationally recognized Dallas law firm Scheef & Stone.

“This will be our 7th year honoring exceptional immigrants at the Immigrant Journey Awards,” said Ann Badmus, immigration attorney and partner. “I believe it is vital that we continue to shine a spotlight on immigrant achievements and support the diversity the immigrant community brings to north Texas and the nation.”

Keynote speaker Gauthami Vemula spoke of her personal Immigrant Journey, as she was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, and later raised in New York and Hobbs, New Mexico.

“I think especially in this day and age, we need to hang onto hope, with all the different crises going on in the world,” Gauthami said. “Being here felt amazing because that’s what this country is built on. It’s about immigrants, and that’s what makes this nation.”

This year’s Entrepreneur Award winners were Andrea Pedraza from Mexico, Guadalupe Mora from Mexico, and Mani Manickavelu from India. The award honored these individuals as business owners who have founded highly successful businesses in DFW and who serve as models and inspirations of success.

“It is very important for immigrants to join together and support each other,” Mani said. “That was the best thing that I saw. Some of the stories that we heard were very inspiring.”

The Immigrant Professional Excellence Award winners were Major Adebayo Adeleke from Nigeria, Akash Patel from India, and Cynthia Nwaubani from Nigeria. This award honored these immigrants for demonstrating significant professional achievements in their fields and for their advancements positively impacting their profession and community.

“Immigrants are so essential to the American economy,” Cynthia said. “We are a vibrant community of people that are resilient, passionate, and are willing to work hard. Events like this help showcase how immigrants impact the community.”

Recognized for making a positive impact on the lives of immigrants and for being advocates on behalf of immigrants, the Immigrant Advocate Award winners were Mary Dominguez-Santini from Panama and Leonid Regheta from Ukraine.

“Standing here with all these immigrants is a great feeling,” Mary said. “Being able to meet new people from different cultures, embrace them, grow together and know that we’re not in it alone.”

Lastly, the Immigrant Spirit Award recognized these winners as immigrant civic leaders who have contributed substantially to the community or region. Honorees were Graciela Katzer from Argentina, Susie Jennings from Philippines, and Raj & Aradhana Asava from India.

“There’s an old saying,” Raj said. “‘Charity begins at home.’ And when we call the US our home, let’s make sure we look at where our needs are. You can volunteer, do food drives, donate money. The awards gave me the opportunity to speak on this. We’re happy to be here.”

Photos of Award Winners and Highlights of Immigrant Journey Awards Gala

Outstanding Immigrant Leaders to be Honored Today at the 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards Gala

Scheef & Stone and sponsors host the 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards Gala today to honor and recognize outstanding immigrant leaders in business, profession, advocacy, and community service.  In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, 200 guests are expected to attend the festivities at the Clubs of Prestonwood in Dallas, Texas. A few event day tickets are available at Immigrant Journey ticket

Congratulations to the 2018 finalists!

Adebayo Adeleke, Akash Patel, Alex  Idrees, Alia Adkins-Derrick, Andrea Pedraza, Aradhana Asava, Cynthia Nwaubani, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, Graciela Katzer, Guadalupe Mora, Joel Betancourth, Lenita Dunlap, Leonid Regheta, Lupita Colmenero,  Mani Raveendran,  Mary Domínguez-Santini, Mary Turner, Muruga  Manickavelu, Pablo DeLeon, Raj Asava, Ron Bultongez, and Susie Jennings.

Keynote Speaker

Gauthami Vemula, Founder & President, Color Me Safe

Master of Ceremony

Rebecca AguilarJournalist, Emmy Award Winner

#CelebrateImmigrants #2018IJAwards2018ImmigrantJourneyInvite2

 

FIFTH ANNUAL IMMIGRANT HERITAGE MONTH KICKS OFF NATIONWIDE CELEBRATION

WASHINGTON, DC – Today marks the start of Immigrant Heritage Month (IHM), a nationwide effort to celebrate immigrants and share inspirational stories of immigration in America. Now in its fifth year, IHM is an opportunity for Americans to celebrate the countless contributions immigrants have made and continue to make to the United States, and to reflect on their family’s heritage.

This year, IHM is bringing interactive #CelebrateImmigrants experiences to diverse neighborhoods across the country, featuring public art installations and a blend of cultural performances, custom t-shirts, and appearances by public officials. The first event kicks off June 5 in our nation’s capital. Other events will be held throughout the month of June in ChicagoAtlanta, San Diego, Houston and Salt Lake City.

Also new to IHM in 2018 is a star-studded video featuring celebrities in film and entertainment — including Bellamy Young (Scandal), Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Shannon Woodward (Westworld) and Matt McGorry (Orange Is The New BlackHow to Get Away with Murder) — as they reflect on their family’s immigrant heritage.

“I think standing with immigrants means I’m standing for hope, for the future, for authenticity and for not having to sacrifice where you came from for where you are now,” said Broadway star Ana Villafañe, known for portraying pop icon Gloria Estefan in the musical On Your Feet!.

Westworld actress Shannon Woodward noted that immigrants are part of the fabric of the United States, adding that “to be an immigrant in this country is to be an American.”

Governors and mayors from 34 states have already issued 152 proclamations officially declaring June as Immigrant Heritage Month in their jurisdictions, including Governors Brian Sandoval of NevadaTom Wolf of PennsylvaniaHenry McMaster of South CarolinaGina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Rick Snyder of Michigan. Additional proclamations are expected throughout the month from all 50 states.

Since its launch in 2014, Immigrant Heritage Month has grown into a powerful, impactful celebration of millions of individuals’ heritage as immigrants. Last year, hundreds of artists, entertainers and elected officials representing all 50 states, and more than 540 companies and nonprofit partners, came together to celebrate IHM 2017 – leading to over half a billion impressions on social media in June alone, and more than dozens of IHM-linked events held around the country.

IHM 2017 participants included famed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, Postmates CEO Bastian LehmannPaypal Co-Founder Max LevchinAmerica FerreraBellamy YoungGeorge Takei, Paul WesleyMatt McGorryDebra MessingChristina MilianRussell SimmonsAna VillafaneMinka KellyIlana GlazerJack FalaheeTara StrongPiper PeraboJavier MunozDwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Phoebe Tonkin.

The campaign’s popularity is a testament to the rapidly growing grassroots support for immigrant communities and their significance to the social, cultural and economic fabric of the United States. For more information or to join an Immigrant Heritage Month celebration in your community, visit www.iamanimmigrant.com.

-from press release – Iamanimmigrant.com

North Texas Immigrant Leaders To Be Honored At 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards

IJa3
Immigrant Journey Awards

For the seventh year in a row, the Immigrant Journey Awards will be spotlighting DFW’s most influential immigrants. With numerous award nomination submissions for 2018, presenting sponsor and Dallas law firm Scheef & Stone LLP is excited to announce the program finalists.

Started back in 2011 by attorney Ann Badmus, the Immigrant Journey Awards are known for giving credit where credit is due when it comes to immigrant achievements and contributions to North Texas and the nation. Through various award categories, such as Immigrant Entrepreneur, Immigrant Professional Excellence, Immigrant Spirit, and Immigrant Advocate, the program recognizes incredible contributions from the immigrant community to the civic and economic vitality of the region.

“There’s no question that immigrants are vital to the community, business, and the future of this country, so we are pleased to see the list of finalists for this year’s ceremony. We are honored to recognize their achievements during June’s Immigrant Heritage Month,” said Ann Massey Badmus, immigration partner and awards program chair.

Finalists represent a broad scope of immigrants living in North Texas communities with roots in places like India, Nigeria, Philippines, Mexico, Ukraine,  Argentina,  Colombia, Congo, and Pakistan.

This year’s finalists are Adebayo Adeleke, Akash Patel, Alex  Idrees, Alia Adkins-Derrick, Andrea Pedraza, Aradhana Asava, Cynthia Nwaubani, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, Graciela Katzer, Guadalupe Mora, Joel Betancourth, Lenita Dunlap, Leonid Regheta, Lupita Colmenero,  Mani Raveendran,  Mary Domínguez-Santini, Mary Turner, Muruga  Manickavelu, Pablo DeLeon, Raj Asava, Ron Bultongez, and Susie Jennings.

These spirited and exceptional advocates and entrepreneurs will be honored, and the award winners will be announced on June 15, 2018, at the Immigrant Journey Awards Gala at 6:30 p.m. at the Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas.  This year, the keynote speaker will be one of last year’s winners, Gauthami Vemula, who was born in Andhra Pradesh, India. She is Founder and Managing Partner of Color Me Safe, LLC, a family crisis consulting firm committed to protecting families of North Texas by offering guidance and solutions for child welfare and protection issues.

The awards gala serves as a great opportunity to meet notable immigrant individuals who have demonstrated leadership in business or in the civic arena, as well as individuals and organizations that advocate for immigrant communities. Attendees also have the chance to network with business owners, professionals, representatives of members of Congress, international dignitaries, local civic leaders and representatives, and the media.

2018ImmigrantJourneyInvite2

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.immigrantjourney.org.

Immigrant Journey Awards Accepting Nominations

Annual Award Program Opens Nominations to Honor Outstanding Immigrant Achievements

 March 28, 2018 – Dallas, TX – The Immigrant Journey Awards presenting sponsor, Scheef & Stone, L.L.P., along with a number of community partners, is announcing that nominations are now open for the 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards Gala. Everyone is encouraged to nominate extraordinary business, professional, and community leaders and advocates, who have made significant impacts on others and society. Nominations, which are submitted electronically, will remain open from now until April 30, 2018.

Award nominees include entrepreneurs, advocates, civic leaders and individuals who have made substantial professional achievements in their field. They can be nominated for these applicable categories: Immigrant Entrepreneur, Immigrant Professional Excellence, Immigrant Advocate and Immigrant Spirit Awards.

“The path of an immigrant is full of challenges, yet with every step forward they renew the American Dream,” said Gauthami Vemula, Founder of Color Me Safe and 2017 Immigrant Advocate Award winner, “To be able to not only overcome these challenges but to also establish oneself in the community, to build a business, provide jobs and contribute is a testament to the American way, because immigrants are our history. The Immigrant Journey Awards is a beautiful way to highlight and pay tribute to the amazing trailblazers who are making a difference in our community and the world, and who are enriching our society through their heritage and inspiring us to be open to new ideas, to be kind to strangers and to be hopeful for the future.”

The Immigrant Entrepreneur Award is for an individual who has built a highly successful North Texas business and sets an example for other motivated entrepreneurs locally and in the nation. Immigrants who have made remarkable strides in a professional field are eligible for the Immigrant Professional Excellence​ Award, while the Immigrant Spirit Award recognizes an individual who has contributed substantially to the well-being of the entire community or region. Lastly, the Immigrant Advocate Award goes to an individual, organization, business or government entity that has made a powerful and positive impact on the welfare of immigrants via public advocacy.

Honorees have unbelievable backgrounds and stories of perseverance, achievement, and overcoming the odds as immigrants in the community. Having emigrated from India, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Colombia, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Taiwan, Singapore, Ethiopia, El Salvador,  Honduras, and other countries, nominees have come a long way in their significant achievements in business, education, medicine, athletics, community service, and politics.

The Immigrant Journey Awards will be presented at the annual Immigrant Journey Awards Gala on Friday, June 15, 2018 at the Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas, Texas.  Award finalists will be notified by May 10, 2018 and expected to attend the gala in order to be considered for an award.  Interested parties should visit www.immigrantjourney.org to find out more and submit a nomination.

Announcing American Dream Scholarships for 2018. Apply now!

Scheef & Stone is proud to announce three (3) American Dream scholarships of $1000 each for qualifying North Texas high school seniors.

You may apply for this highly sought-after scholarship if you:

Are home schooled or high school senior in traditional HS programs in North Texas
Are an immigrant or child of an immigrant
Will graduate from high school by Summer 2018
Plan to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution
Have a current GPA of 3.0 or higher
Winners should plan to attend the Immigrant Journey Awards ceremony on June 15, 2018.

For scholarship criteria and application materials, click here.

 

Call for Nominations for 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards

About-Page-Nominate-Now-Button-2013Shining a spotlight on immigrant achievements and contributions in North Texas, Scheef &  Stone, LLP and sponsors seek nominations for the 2018 Immigrant Journey Awards.  This awards program celebrate its 7th anniversary by continuing to honor immigrants in four categories:

Immigrant Entrepreneur Award

 

In recognition of an immigrant business owner who has founded a highly successful business in North Texas and who serves as a model and inspiration of success.
Immigrant Professional Excellence Award  In recognition of an immigrant who has demonstrated significant professional achievements in their field and whose advancements in their field have a positive impact their profession or community.
Immigrant Spirit Award In recognition of  an immigrant civic leader or elected official who has contributed substantially to the community or the region.
Immigrant Advocate Award

 

In recognition of an individual or organization making positive impact on the lives of immigrants, as an advocate.  Nominee may be an individual, an organization, a business, a governmental or community entity, or a non-profit organization.

The deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 30, 2018.

submit-a-nomination-button_white