FLIPPING THE NARRATIVE
The portrayal of immigrants in the media as of late has been largely negative; ignoring the many amazing contributions that immigrants make to our collective culture. We intend to flip this narrative and broadcast an authentic voice here in our new series: SPICE OF THE WEEK
SPICE OF THE WEEK: Reem Assil
Chef Reem Assil is an Oakland food scene heroine and star- she founded her bakery Reem’s with a passion for the flavors of Arab street-corner bakeries and the vibrant communities where they’re located. In 2018 she opened up Dyafa - serving modern arabic cuisine in sunny dining room in Jack London Square. Growing up in a Palestinian-Syrian household, Reem was surrounded by the aromas and tastes of food from the homeland and the connections they evoked of her heritage, family, and community. Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem worked for a decade as a community and labor organizer, and brings the warmth of community to all her events. She has worked with the Bay Area’s esteemed cooperative bakery Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria, Grace Street Catering, Local Flavors, and several local chefs. She is a graduate of the the competitive food business incubator program, La Cocina. and business accelerator program ICA: Fund Good Jobs.
Reem was a 2018 James Beard Semi-Finalist for Best Chef West, San Francisco Magazine's 2018 Chef of the Year and San Francisco Chronicle's 2017 Rising Star Chef. We love you Reem!
NOT FAKE NEWS: Immigrants are entrepreneurs, innovators, contributors and magnetic people to be proud of. They bring more FLAVOR to our country. NO IMMIGRANTS NO SPICE!
Immigrants fuel entrepreneurship. From startup halal trucks to start up tech companies, immigrants are more likely to start up and own a business than native-born Americans. Business ownership is higher than native-born in developed countries. Among startup companies that were valued at more than $1 billion in 2016, half were founded by immigrants. Among Fortune 500 companies, 40 percent were founded by immigrants or their children.
Immigrants innovate. Immigrants make up 17 percent of the US workforce, while filing one-third of the patents and accounting for more than one-third of US workers with a PhD in one of the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. According to one study an increase in one percentage point in immigrant college graduates results in a 15% increase in patents per capita.
Immigrants keep America’s economic engine moving forward. As the population ages and Americans are having fewer children, immigrant families are filling the labor force and keeping our pensions and social security afloat. From 2002-2009 for example, immigrants paid in over $115 billion more than they took out of Medicare; and from 2005 until 2080, immigrants will have contributed over $600 billion to help fund Social Security. Immigrants also directly contribute to the economy; while immigrants make up only 13% of the United States population, they fulfill 15% of the national economic output. In addition to boosting economic growth, immigration also leads to an INCREASE in wages for native born workers. Immigrants come to work new jobs but also consume goods and services thus creating new jobs; as the labor force expands the economy expands with it. As the chairmen of the fed Jerome Powell recently said “From an economic growth standpoint, reduced immigration would result in lower population growth and thus, all else equal, slower trend economic growth”.
America is a symbol of prosperity and upward mobility and remains a powerhouse in part due to its open and accepting values. The presence of multiple thriving cultures in the US helps expand its interests around the world via soft power - positive feedback via networks overseas which helps counterbalance the negative aspects of hard power- helping the U.S. achieve its foreign policy goals with greater ease.