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William Dechavez – Sterling Heights TV show spotlights diversity

Sterling Heights — City officials are using a new public access television show to showcase the city’s diversity.

“What we’re looking for is educating people about who we are,” said William Dechavez, a Filipino resident who moved to the city 28 years ago and is a member of the Ethnic Community Committee, which sponsors the show. “We have several ethnic groups in Sterling Heights.”

Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte said the show fits in well with the city’s mission to embrace a diverse community.

“We are like the melting pot of the world,” he said. “The city welcomes all cultures and likes to work with everybody and try to learn from each other.”

According to the American Community Survey posted on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site, from 2006-08 the three-year estimated average population included 112,407 whites, 5,133 African-Americans, 539 American Indians, 8,804 Asians and 2,879 Hispanics.

“Getting to Know Your Neighbor” features interviews with immigrants who have settled in Sterling Heights.

The show also wants to feature war veterans, Holocaust survivors and others involved in historic events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Show host Dennis Burin, 50, interviews residents. A Sterling Heights resident, Burin is a program curriculum coordinator for the Hazel Park Schools and a Wayne State University adjunct professor of world regional geography.

“I think this is such an important topic,” he said. “We run across people of various backgrounds in our daily lives and don’t talk.”

The first episode of the show, which aired last month, featured Iqbal Singh, chairman of the Ethnic Community Committee, who was born in India. In the second episode, Dechavez talked about how he came from the Philippines to the United States for more opportunities. He works as a special education resource room teacher for Detroit Public Schools.

“It was really relaxed and an informal conversation,” he said. He encourages other immigrants to participate.

By: Candice Williams / The Detroit News
From The Detroit News:  http://detnews.com/article/20100218/METRO03/2180399/Sterling-Heights-TV-show-spotlights-diversity

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