“Organizing the February meeting gave me the space to meet amazing individuals and work closely with my fantastic MSC classmates. It was a great experience that truly introduced me to the work of many in our city,” said Joe Carreon.

Joe planned the February Corporate Meeting alongside Mahoganie Gaston and Cristal Retana.

The group focused on the topic of immigration, and especially honed in on immigration in District 13 in the city of Dallas.

In developing the structure and content of the Corporate Meeting, Joe, Mahoganie and Cristal sought to let the experts be the experts.

“I think when meeting with local businesses, nonprofit, etc., it’s important to go in with a clean slate,” said Mahoganie. “Yes, have questions to ask but they are the experts on the topic. You want it to be more of a conversation and less of an interview and generally additional questions, topics and thoughts come up.”

The group created a panel made up of representatives from the City of Dallas in addition to non-profit executives. The panelists included Jennifer Staubach-Gates, Councilmember, District 13, City of Dallas; Liz Cedillo-Pereira, director of the Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs, City of Dallas; Jesus Ramirez, United States Customs and Immigration; and Susana Lubanga, executive director of International Rescue Committee. Tiffany Jelke of International Rescue Committee moderated the panel.

“For me, I knew a little about immigration due to work experience and going to the immigration office with a youth,” said Mahoganie, who works with Dallas Independent School District’s homeless students. “However, I wasn’t aware of the full spectrum of services and how different each case could be. Hearing the story from one of our guest at our Corporate Meeting was that reality.”

In addition to panelists, the Corporate Meeting also hosted a number of immigrants to the City of Dallas from across the world. Many stories from the immigrants were shared allowed of why they had to leave their home countries, the challenges faced in coming to the United States, and finally living in a new place without friends or family.

Food was provided by Break Bread, Break Borders. The social justice initiative provides opportunities for immigrant women and their families to connect with other immigrants and the broader Dallas community through food and culture.

We’d also like to thank Temple Emanu-El for hosting the evening’s Corporate Meeting.