Two Michigan Winners in Immigrant Entrepreneur Story Contest

“Every aspect of the American economy has benefited from the contribution of immigrants.”
-John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

WE Global Network and New American Media partnered together to host a contest, “A Day in the Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur,” which compiles stories from immigrant entrepreneurs in the American Rust Belt. The contest selects one winner from 11 regions in Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Detroit, Lansing, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

The stories have been compiled into a book. Find out more about the book here. The full book can be found here.

An excerpt from Eddie Pradithavanij’s story (Detroit’s Winner):

The phrase “sala thai” means “an oasis,” or, “a place of rest,” and this Thai concept is what Eddie wants to provide for both Thai and American people in search of excellent Thai food.  He says, “Busy people want someplace they can rest their weary feet, eat good food, and quench their thirst.  That is what they will get in my Sala Thai restaurants! We serve good, low-fat, healthy food, cooked quickly at high temperatures, always freshly made and very tasty.”  He adds, “Thai people believe the spices help improve blood circulation!”

An Excerp fromt Elesban Gallegos’s story (Lansing’s winner) :

Elesban Gallegos spent Thanksgiving Day watching the Detroit Lions win, surrounded by his family, waiting for the turkey to cook to perfection. Reflecting on one’s blessings during the holiday season is nothing new. Elesban, born in 1943, grew up one of eight children of subsistence farmers in Senguio, Michoacan, Mexico. Michoacan certainly has much to offer in terms of natural beauty, culture, and history; it doesn’t offer, however, much with regard to opportunities. This is true today, but was far more the case when Elesban was a young man. While he had a deep love for his family and for his pueblo, he understood early that a life lived attempting to make a living from the land was not for him. With that knowledge and with a blessing from his parents, Elesban left his pueblo at the age of 14 and made his way to Mexico City to seek out better prospects.

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