(Unabridged Scripts of the talk to Troy City Council on October 21, 2013)

Part I.

Good evening, council members and fellow citizens.

First, I want to thank you all for giving me this opportunity to introduce our club, USA Melting Pot. It is also my great honor to be here tonight to represent all our key club members, whether they are here or not. They are the ones that have been contributing tremendously to make our club happen and on the right path.

USA Melting Pot is neutral on politics and religion. The primary objective of the club is to build bridges between all ethnic groups. As we see more and more foreign born immigrants in Metro Detroit area, we would like to encourage people to mingle with each other and share their stories with each other. The secondary purpose is to celebrate all cultural backgrounds, including American culture. So we can break barriers between people, understand each other better, and enrich our community.

The philosophy behind our club is different from the original melting pot idea and multi-culturalism commonly seen today. The original idea of melting pot was to have people deliberately lose their ethnic identities, and become homogeneous in American culture, while the multi-culturalism is to celebrate separate ethnic identities without mingling, which can be seen as salad bowl, i.e., all gradients in one space but with no interaction. Different from both above, we are promoting a new philosophy in between: we encourage people to celebrate their ethnic heritages, in the mean time we treat people equally regardless of their origin, cultural background or even religious view. In other words, we want our ever-diversifying community to be shaken up as the oil & water dressing in one salad bowl, and each one can enjoy all the flavors.

We can further elaborate the philosophy of our club by using a little cartoon. As shown on the left, everyone has the natural tendency to hang out with people who are like you, with similar interests and backgrounds. This is OK, but most people are so busy that they don’t know their neighbors. However, we also would encourage people to thin the walls, install some windows, open them, build & cross the bridges between groups.

Why Troy? As we know, Troy is the 2nd most diverse city in Michigan after Ann Arbor, which means in Troy we have more ethnic groups than most other cities, but usually without mingling. Another reason that enlightened us is that more than half of our analysis group at GM Powertrain are foreign born; we enjoy learning about each other’s culture, language, food and customs, and many of us live in Troy & Rochester Hills. So far we already have club members in different regions of the world, and everyone has an interesting story to share.

The very beginning of this idea was originated on Election Day three years ago. We started the planning meeting in 2011, and registered as NGO in October 2011, and started the first monthly meeting in May 2012 at Troy Public Library. So far we have introduced about more than 12 different cultures along with hobby topics at most meetings. Other than that, we also held a potluck picnic at Troy Historic Village last August, had two Lunch & Learns at GM Powertrain this summer, and participated in a teamGM work day at Grace Centers of Hope last month.

Last but not least, we also publicize regularly in Troy Patch, Troy Times, and miindia.com, as well as our own website USAmeltingpot.org. When Consul Vicente Sanchez spoke on Mexico last December, we got publicity in the Detroit Free Press. All these combined help our club to become more solid, and gain a lot of attractions. We look forward to having more friends and neighbors to join us and we believe this club is helping more and more cultures to merge into this great community.

Thank you.