Community Spotlight

So many Assyrians all over the world are doing amazing things! We’d like to use this space to highlight a handful of Assyrians who are working in their communities to make a difference.

Mona Antwan

Chicago, Illinois

Mona Antwan is the founder of the Chicago-based nonprofit Mindfulness Leader, an after-school program in the city of Chicago offering unique in-depth workshops in underprivileged communities and schools. Antwan has dedicated the sum of her life to the students. Mindfulness Leader equips students from impoverished communities to create positive change through a comprehensive and individualized life-skills plan. Prior to founding her nonprofit, Antwan worked at Harpo Studios for 16 years where she developed the company’s first mentorship program. Antwan hopes to expand her efforts and continue making mindfulness education accessible and recognized as she advances her mission to reverse generational poverty.

Facebook: @MindfulnessLeader

Instagram: @mindfulness_leader

Joe Snell

Dallas, Texas

Joe Snell is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Assyrian Journal, a community-based online magazine launched in 2017. Snell has assembled a team of Assyrian writers from across the country to write for the Journal. Profiling members of the Assyrian community and covering Assyrian events across the globe, the Assyrian Journal has quickly become a popular source for the latest on Assyrians.

Facebook: @TheAssyrianJournal

Instagram: @theassyrianjournal

Twitter: @assyrianjournal

Sekhwa Beth Kado

Detroit, Michigan

Sekhwa Beth Kado is a talented fashion designer based in Detroit, Michigan. The Alqosh native was forced to flee her beloved hometown in Iraq, but brought with her both her love for her heritage and for fashion. Kado makes all sorts of custom pieces, ranging from elegant evening gowns and bridal wear to casual blouses. The up and coming designer is known for her incredible skill and ability to make authentic traditional Assyrian costumes, which she continues to do in an act of resilience as Assyrian culture and heritage are threatened in the Assyrian homeland.

Instagram: @sekhwaa

Melinda Khubiar

Modesto, California

This Modesto, California native is a long way from home! Melinda Khubiar, longtime activist and GISHRU alumni, has packed her bags and moved to her homeland after accepting a position as an English language teacher at a primary school in Iraq. She joins a short list of Assyrians who have made the move. Khubiar says living in her homeland has been a lifelong dream, and is excited for the upcoming school year and a new experience.

Instagram: @meli_curls

Twitter: @mkhubiar

Marvin Baroota

Chicago, Illinois

Marvin Baroota has a very unique job: He’s a cleat artist and the founder of SoLegit Customs. Using acrylic paints, airbrushes, and blades, Baroota designs and paints custom football cleats. Baroota got his big break when his work caught the attention of Chicago Bears player Danny Trevathan. Baroota’s clientele has since grown to include dozens of NFL superstars. Last year, Baroota spent Thanksgiving week painting dozens of cleats for Chicago Bears players taking part in the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” charity fundraiser, where NFL players showcase causes that are important to them. Baroota says that what started as a hobby is now his day and night job.

Instagram: @marvinbaroota

Twitter: @marvinbaroota

Lisa David

Olympia, Washington

Lisa David is the owner of the Nineveh Assyrian Food Truck which has brought a taste of Assyria to Olympia, Washington. David says, “After working throughout my childhood in my parents’ restaurant and in the service industry as an adult, I decided to create a restaurant to satisfy my passion for cooking the food of my people.” On the menu is a wide range of sandwiches, salads, and sides inspired by traditional Assyrian cuisine.

Facebook: @nineveholympia

Instagram: @ninevehassyrianfoodtruck

Community Spotlight recognizes members of our Assyrian community who demonstrate leadership and contribute to the greater good. Know someone who should be featured? Send your nominations to