Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Refuge Friday, July 18, at 4:57pm in the meat freezer where he works

Pedro Amaya

Seven years ago, Pedro Amaya would wake up and put on a tie to go meet with VIPs at his work. His job—with an organization in San Miguel, El Salvador, developing sustainable agricultural methods—took him to all parts of Latin America. Today, Amaya gets up and spends the first few minutes of his morning practicing English. Then he puts on three layers of long-sleeved shirts and sweaters to go to work. His job, in the meat department at a Tom Thumb, takes him to Plano. “This kind of job is for survival,” he says in broken English, and then laughs. “I am working for survival.”

Amaya and his wife left El Salvador in 2007, first landing in Washington, D.C. “My decision, I don’t think only for me,” the 51-year-old says of his move. “It was together with my wife, because I have two kids. I think in this country, life for them will be better in the future.”

The Amayas found the community they were looking for in North Texas in 2008. Many Salvadorans fled their home country in the ’80s and early ’90s during the Salvadoran Civil War. A group created the American Salvadorean Association one night in 1991, over pupusas at Gloria’s in Oak Cliff. The association, which estimates there are 100,000 Salvadorans in North Texas, helps those who have immigrated—many of whom are poorly educated—find jobs and homes. They even worked with the Salvadoran and United States governments to establish a consulate here in 1995.

Since his arrival, Amaya has coordinated activities for the association and, through local churches, organized meetings to discuss jobs available for Salvadorans. His goal is to get a job for himself that uses the agricultural engineering degree he received from the University of El Salvador. He admits he struggles in North Texas with the language barrier. But when he’s asked if his children are happy, his eyes light up, and he breaks into a smile. “Yes, of course, very happy,” he says. “They feel very confident with this culture.”