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. 

Thursday
May052016

Seeking Assistant Director at Vox Culture

Seeking young professional or graduate/graduate school bound student with ability to show leadership qualities and assist Executive Director in operations pertaining to Vox Culture. Great opportunity for individual to continue to learn, solidify, and/or contribute various skill sets.

This is a part-time (8-13 hours per week) role with a minimum 1 year term expectation.

EXPERIENCE

  • Recent college graduate with Bachelor's minimum
  • Master's degree Candidate (on-going or recent) a plus
  • Previous advocacy experience a plus
  • Degree preferable in the following areas: Sociology, Social Service, Development, Law, Political Science, Education, International Studies, or similar
  • MBA Candidates, or Masters Candidates in afforementioned fields are welcome to apply

PREFERRED SKILL SETS

 

  • Strong Communication/Orator
  • Able to use Microsoft Programs, Social Media Apps/Tools, Familiar with database use such as Vertical Response
  • Strong writing ability
  • Strong critical thinking ability and strategic thinker
  • Able to coordinate, co-lead and delegate tasks amongst larger team
  • Able to present ideas and projects infront of larger crowd
  • Strong organizing skills and able to coordinate/strategize events
  • Preferably fluent in more than one language, Spanish a plus, however not mandatory

 

EXPECTATIONS 

  • Oversee duties are being fulfilled by Vox team and support where needed.
  • Promote Vox brand and organization through networking events.
  • Communicate and build relationships with clients, partners, volunteers, and boards - with guidance of Executive Director.
  • Assist with Bi-Monthly newsletter and event/project recaps
  • Assess and analyze the vision alignment of partnering with organizations that fight against poverty and injustice.
  • Hold meeting with Executive Director either by phone conference or in person once per week.
  • Plan smaller events with Volunteer Coordinator to engage and appreciate Volunteers.
  • Help support key events together with Vox team (6-8 events total per year)
  • Support Executive Director in leading Vox team through preparation and carrying out of events.
  • Assist Executive Director in grant writing (platform to teach how will be provided).
  • Assist/Support Executive Director in addressing and mitigating urgent issues that arise.
Sunday
Feb282016

3rd Annual Vox Local Arts Mixer (V+LAM III) on 3/24!

Vox Culture presents their 3rd annual Vox Local Arts Mixer (V+LAM III). The event will take place at La Grange Houston from 6:15PM-9:00PM on Thursday, March 24th. Tickets available by clicking on Eventbrite here.

 

Flyer Image by: Vladislav Scepanovic, Armagedon

This fun and diverse arts mixer features both established as well as new names in the Houston arts scene. The goal of the mixer is to allow Houstonians to engage with these selected artists (representing various art realms) one-on-one while exploring and engaging in their latest art work and/or best known art pieces. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase any work exhibited by participating artists, with 100% of those proceeds remaining with the artist.

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Anat Ronen

Additionally, V+LAM guests will be able to enjoy complimentary lite bites served during the first hour by La Grange Houston! A $5.00 special on Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company’s ‘Sam’s Daily’ and Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s ‘Art Car IPA’ will be served at the event as well!!!

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Ben DeSoto

A part of the proceeds from guests purchase of either or both of these local beer selections will go towards supporting Vox Culture’s current projects for 2016. Vox Culture’s current theme, Connecting our Local & Global Neighbors, focuses on finding creative solutions to addressing the topic of refugees. More information can be found by finding us on Facebook or visiting our webpage at www.voxculture.org.

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Lorena Fernandez

V+LAM is FREE to attend, but your RSVP IS REQUIRED. This can be done by claiming your ticket here via Eventbrite!! Complimentary valet provided by Mister Valet Parking to all ticket holders!!!

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Rob DiTeodoro

Special Guests & Local Artist Roster (click name’s to view their website):

Anat Ronen - Ben DeSoto - Lorena Fernandez - Vladislav Scepanovic - Rob DiTeodoro - Sky TruesAd Deum Dance Company

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Ad Deum Dance Company

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Sky Trues

V+LAM III Featured Artist: Vladislav Scepanovic

Inquiries in regards to this event can be directed to our Media Coordinator, Carlos Schuler, at carlos.schuler@voxculture.org.

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