The Friday Definer is Define American’s weekly roundup of stories that paint a fuller picture of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. Share these stories with a friend!
The Washington Post’s Michael Kaminer delves into the growing number of refugee solidarity dinner clubs in New York and D.C., but also across the country:
You’ve heard of kitchen-table politics? Welcome to the age of dining-room activism. Across the country, ventures such as Tanabel are using food as a tool to counter the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies. There are supper clubs and catering companies, co-ops and cooking classes, breaking-bread dinners and culinary tours. They might hire immigrants for kitchen jobs, pay them to share recipes or provide high-level culinary training.
Sat sri akaal*: A Sikh trucker’s greeting
From Jaweed Kaleem at the Los Angeles Times, the story of growing numbers of immigrant truck drivers, especially Sikhs, and the network of Punjabi truck stops across the U.S. (with photos from Irfan Khan):
Still, Pal sees more of America in a week than some people will in their lives. Rolling California hills, spiky desert rock formations, the snow-dusted evergreens of northern Arizona, the fuzzy cacti in New Mexico and, in Albuquerque, hot air balloons rising over an orange sky. There’s also the seemingly endless fast food and Tex-Mex of Amarillo and the 19-story cross of Groom, Texas. There’s the traffic in Missouri. After hours of solitude on the road, it excites him.
*Translation: God is truth
Pride and the importance of powerful stories
Define American founder Jose Antonio Vargas talks to Mashable’s Nicole Gallucci for Pride:
In my mind, if the fight for LGBTQ rights taught us anything, it’s the reality that you cannot change the politics of an issue unless you change the culture in which that issue is discussed. Before same-sex marriage became the law of the land — before laws were passed, before policies shifted — the way we saw LGBTQ people had to change. We had to see LGBTQ people as people, not as issues and policy points. We had to see the motivation that drives the call for equality. Dignity. Love is love. Family. So, taking our cue from the LGBTQ movement, Define American is changing the culture in which we talk about immigration.
Learning from the world in Brooklyn
Alina Simone reports for PRI’s The World on a pop-up school in Brooklyn that is tapping into the expertise of teachers from around the globe:
On the other side of the park, Nadia Bokhari, a journalist originally from Pakistan, speaks to a small crowd about the origins of Islam. She says she feels like Americans’ views of Islam have been distorted by coverage of radical clerics and terrorists. Her mission is to eradicate the word “Islamophobia.”
“I don’t know who created this word, because the word ‘Islam’ means peace,” says Bokhari. “It’s a weird translation. Like, peacephobia? Who says peacephobia?”
Interpreting a candidate
Telemundo had eight live interpreters for its Spanish broadcast of this week’s Democratic presidential debates. Here’s how Cesar Cardoza, the chief interpreter, summed up the scene in the interpreters’ room:
Imagine that you are a pilot. You know that your plane is going to crash. You have two choices: focus on what you are doing and try to keep everybody alive, or panic.
Perhaps he was referring to several of the candidates’ campaigns as well? Alexander Gonzalez for NPR has the scoop: