Multi-Culti

Making folks from everywhere feel at home in Big D

When she created the organization, she says, she noticed that local leaders frequently touted Dallas as an international city. "But what makes a city international isn't a museum exhibit, it's not the trade through NAFTA," she says. "It's the people."

Take Joe Chow, mayor of Addison. Originally from Taiwan, Chow says he's the first Asian-American mayor in North Texas and a member of DFW International's "Hall of Fame," with the likes of Trammell S. Crow, founder of the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the late Joe May, former Dallas Independent School District trustee.

"I'm a believer in cross-cultural education and bridging the gap between different races," Chow says. "Our city is 30 percent people who are not Caucasian; times are changing, and you've got to have an open mind and accept other cultures."

Elba Garcia, honorary chair of DFW International Month and Dallas deputy mayor pro tem, says the International Festival, and the organization itself, celebrates what it is to be American. "DFW International has brought together all the immigrant groups in the metroplex," she says. "When you talk about what our society is, DFW International is the group that represents it."

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