LA VISTA, Neb. (KMTV) — One could call 2021 a year of rebirth after the long pandemic we've faced, but that's also the theme for the Afro Excellence Gala at the Steppe Center.
Omaha Diversity Experience, Afromaha and other partners joined together to celebrate African excellence through fashion, food and dance.
Entrepreneur Jack Beguedou, an immigrant from Togo, wants to shine a light on all the contributions of African-owned businesses in our area.
"More African people are becoming entrepreneurs, and those are having an immediate effect on the immigrant community," Beguedou said.
It's also the chance to reflect on all these communities achieved in the Land of Opportunity.
"I came in this country when I was 19 years old, today I am actually a business owner and employ 5 people myself," Beguedou said.
It's a story that resonates with other immigrants.
"My business partner employs about 100 people and he's also an immigrant. When it comes to economic development, we always find a way not only to impact our community but to always make our mark when it comes to our own people," Beguedou said.
Fellow Togolese immigrant Aminou Amadou hopes to make a mark helping spread a culture of compassion.
"My culture is about friendship, caring for each other, living in this era has been very difficult, especially the past two years, 2020 was terrible," Amadou said. "2021 is not different from 2020, it's now a reason for us to keep going a different way, remind each other we're still here for each other."
"Everytime we get together, everytime we do anything, it's about setting that example to make sure that that young kid, that young immigrant, that newcomer, that lost person knows not only it is possible to succeed, it's possible to own a business, it's possible to sponsor and put up a gala, you're here to succeed as much as we are," Beguedou said.
Portions of ticket sales go to education programs in Togo and Kenya.