Tuesday
Mar142017

Know Your Neighbors: Vox Storytellers 

Following up on one of our signature events’ successful debut last year, Vox Culture will be presenting the second annual presentation of Vox Storytellers at Ecclesia on Saturday, Apr. 8 beginning at 10:00AM and ending at 12:30PM. The event is part of the organization’s on-going 2017 theme, Know Your Neighbors.

This year’s Vox Storytellers will gather prominent voices from the vast diaspora of Houston to share their stories in a conversation about racial equality and diversity. Up to seven speakers, each representing a different Houston ethnic group, and ranging in professional backgrounds that include entrepreneurs, artists, former FBI agents, college students, and local government and civic leaders, will share their tales.

Sharing stories is the most fundamental aspect of building human connections. We feel that it pays to sometimes dig back through our layers of modernity and embrace the calm poise of storytelling. All in an attempt to know each other better.

Vox Storytellers seeks time to embrace and listen to stories in a more meaningful way. The storytelling session will be followed by a panel discussion on racial equality and an audience Q&A.

The goal of this event is to connect the citizens of Houston together in a deeper, more thoughtful way by lending human voices and faces to the conversation on race and understand our diversity.

This event will be presented in collaboration with:

Iconoclast -: A group of young creative minds who believe that poetry can change the world.

Project Curate -: An organization that nurtures and facilitates new expressions of kinship, compassion, solidarity, and inclusive diversity in Houston and other cities.

Seats are FREE but limited. Please RSVP via Eventbrite at this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vox-storytellers-tickets-32818210150 

Inquiries may be directed to Nadir Hashmi at nadir.hashmi@voxculture.org.

Wednesday
Jan042017

Know Your Neighbors: "VOX Beer Summit"

Vox Culture will be opening the new year with a special event to introduce it’s focus on tackling the topic of racial equality in Houston. As part of its participation in the HOU21 Initiative, Vox Culture will be hosting a VOX Beer Summit at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company the evening of Friday, January 20th. The event will be the formal opening for the organization’s 2017 theme, ‘Know Your Neighbors’.

The goal of the series is to allow for the Houston community to engage and build awareness on the subject of racial inequalities and challenges that may be observed (and exist) in Houston. Among the final aims of the year for Vox Culture are the promotion of a healthy and positive ambience, which encourages realistic and creative discussions and action items, that can be used as pillars towards building a more equal and united community.

This event will specifically provide a chance for creative expression of this discussion via spoken word poetry. It will also provide a chance to listen to brand new proposals and initiatives by the City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department that can help begin to tackle parts of the subject of racial inequality.

The VOX Beer Summit will feature a brief presentation from the City of Houston’s Neighborhoods and Community Development Department. The event will also feature performances from several spoken word poets from Write About Now. A happy hour selection from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. will also be available for guests wanting to purchase beer.

Food and drinks can be purchased at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Seats are free but limited. Please select and print your ticket to reserve your spot at this Eventbrite link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vox-beer-summit-tickets-30837598086?aff=eandprexshre&ref=eandprexshre

 

The event will take place at the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company (5301 Nolda Street, Houston, TX 77007) on Friday, January 20th from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The latest updates can be found by visiting the Vox Culture page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voxculturehouston.

Inquiries may be directed to shen.ge@voxculture.org.

Tuesday
Nov292016

Yan Digilov: 'Vox Global Cafe' Statement 

Tuesday November 15, 2016

As the only local full time staff member of The Firestarter Group, I deeply regret that recent events have made it impossible for me to shift attention away from our ongoing work to attend the VOX Global Café.  I am  certain, nonetheless, that this event marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation about some of the most  urgent and sensitive issues impacting communities across the United States and indeed the globe.

In 1992, my family arrived as refugees from the former Soviet Union.  That year, the United States  welcomed over 130,000 refugees from across the globe.  Upon arrival, my family was matched with community mentors through an infrastructure that provided my brother and I with free private schooling and after school care.  My parents were given interest-free educational loans for professional recertification programs, allowing them to quickly moved towards purchasing a house and sending their two boys to college thanks to the masses of people who marched in the streets throughout the previous decade, voicing the values they held as Americans to lend a helping hand to populations on the other end of the globe facing dire circumstances.  This process was not easy for my family.  Neither was it easy for the activists who committed decades of planning and coordination with public institutions, who could not themselves have succeeded without thankless contributions of local citizens and nonprofit organizations guided by personal ethical standards.

Today, the United States gives safe refuge to nearly half as many individuals fleeing violence, terror, and war.  In the decades since my arrival, that ethical standard has all but disappeared, giving way to bipartisan politics that quietly left the process of refugee resettlement underfunded and unbound to any standard of care for new arrivals.  A model that focused on short term employment outcomes was originally developed in Texas, one of the historical leaders of resettlement in the US, and exported to resettlement agencies across the country.  Now, with Governor Abbott’s decision to withdraw the state from federal resettlement altogether, many fear that this  termination will too be exported to the nation, ending a historical commitment to freedom, liberty, and justice.  

And yet, the standard that was once set still exists.  It is ubiquitously defined by our human capacity to care for one another, as we would hope to be cared for ourselves.  History proves that concerned Americans are capable of great kindness and acts of love.  Together, we hope that present circumstances give us the opportunity to re- establish that ethical standard.  This opportunity will force us to ask as many questions about the standard we set for ourselves as it does about the welcome we give to others.  It will force us out of our comfortable spaces of  political affiliation and social class, thinking beyond the labels of refugee or migrant.  It will be hard and thankless.  Yet, it must be done, and we can do it together.  

Thanks to VOX’s efforts and all of you for joining us in this critical work today.  

Sincerely,

Yan Digilov

Chief Strategist, The Firestarter Group

Monday
Aug222016

Details: Vox Global Cafe (2016)

Just around the corner is the most anticipated event from Vox Culture's 2016 series addressing the topic of refugees in Houston, titled, Connecting our Local & Global Neighbors. We are proud to be presenting in partnership with the United Nations Association, and with the support of the University of Houston Downtown, the Arab League, and The City of Houston's Office of International Communities.... the third installment of our Vox Global Cafe!!!

What is the Vox Global Cafe?

The Vox Global Café aims to bring various industry sectors of the Houston community together in a round-table discussion, with 2016’s topic focusing on refugees in Houston. The goal will be to learn from the experts and members of the community affected by the topic, discuss what is currently being done, and what more can be done to address the medium to long term development of individuals labeled as refugees. We are aiming for the discussion to highlight how communities where refugees can be found can be further economically integrated and empowered, and how other needs not easily accessible (such as education and health) can be addressed more efficiently. The Vox Global Café is dedicated to BEGINNING this community-driven conversation that currently does not take place on this topic, in this manner, and planting the seeds for a new concept on how various segments of the Houston community can come together to address social issues that impact both their local and their global neighbors.

Will the Vox Global Cafe just be a round-table discussion?

In addition to a round-table discussion, the global café will present an opening-panel featuring speakers from UNICEF, FireStarter, and Amaanah Refugee Services. A refugee arts exhibit put together by P.E.A.C.E. Houston and sponsored by the Model Arab League will be featured at the event, together with a photography exhibit on refugees in Houston, by Marti Corn. The event will also feature a musical performance by Natalia Garmashova and Peter Kimiso (including the debut of the song and music video to Dreamer Child, a collaborative creation between Vox Culture and Kimiso Productions).

When & Where is it?

The University of Houston Downtown will host the Vox Global Café, on Wednesday, November 16, from 9:00AM-12:00PM.

Light snacks will be provided. This specific event is also featured as part of Houston’s Citizenship Month, and is further supported by the City of Houston’s Office of International Communities. Please also note that this is a PRIVATE EVENT (guests are receiving invites directly)!

Event Partners
We are proud to be presenting in partnership with the United Nations Association, and with the support of the University of Houston Downtown, the Model Arab LeagueUniversity of Houston DowntownP.E.A.C.E., and The City of Houston's Office of International Communities and Refugee Affairs.... the third installment of our Vox Global Cafe!!!

We extend our further gratitude for the outreach support from the Arab American Cultural & Community Center and for the time provided by representatives from UNICEFAmaanah Refugee Services, and the Firestarter Group to partake as panel speakers at the event. 

Finally, we also thank IEDA ReliefPAIR Houston, and The Community Cloth, for being our year's partners on this subject and for being in part the inspiration to this years Vox Global Cafe.

How do I contact the organizers?

If you have any further inquiries regarding this event, please contact the Executive Director at viktor.kopic@voxculture.org or at (713) 292-4331.

Visitors who have visited this link from the private invitation they have received, and would like to Accept or Decline the invitation, or have futher inquiries, you may also reach out to viktor.kopic@voxculture.org or call  at (713) 292-4331.

Wednesday
Aug102016

Welcome Vox Assistant Director, Shakshi Kshatriya!

It is our pleasure to announce the newest addition to our team, Vox Assistant Director, Shakshi Kshatriya! Shakshi's role with Vox will be to continue to develop and expand upon the groundwork that has been layed by both current and past Vox Team members. She will support the Executive Director in bringing more depth, research and quantitative meaning to the work that Vox Culture does. See below to learn more about Shakshi!

What attracted you to Vox Culture?

 I was inspired by Vox's purpose. Inspired by its commitment to help the community through various avenues while maintaining the integrity of your institution. Inspired by the group of advocates and leaders in Vox. When I see a group of immigrants on a board attempting to eradicate different issues plaguing their current society, it is inspiring. Vox Culture seems unique and its design worth learning about. An amalgamation of arts (something that connects communities) and social causes (something that plagues communities) seemed, again, inspiring. This is what has led me to apply. I wanted to be part of such an experience.  I could say: I want to give back, engage with society, make a difference etc. but that wouldn’t encompass the possibilities your organization will provide. 

 What is you favorite sweet?

Anything chocolate works! But if you want to get specific: I love gooey chocolate chip cookies and hot pecan pie with cold vanilla ice cream.

 If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The power to heal. I would love to be able to cure people of their ailments. Or be like Captain Planet!

What is a social topic that you feel most passionate about?

That's a tough one. I want to help everyone, everything that lives on this planet (including the planet). But if I had to pick one it would have to be Education. 

 What is a form of art that you appreciate the most?

5) I enjoy Post-Impressionism. Mainly because I love the fact that the Post-Impressionist movement has components of Realism, vividness of Impressionism and early traces of Expressionism. It suits my eclectic taste in art.