By 2050, one quarter of Jacksonville’s population will be foreign born. At our next Salon, we’ll examine the city’s changing face and how the contributions of immigrants enrich our community.

Jacksonville’s immigrant population has increased steadily since the early 1990s, with significant growth in its European, Latino, and Asian immigrant populations.  The city boasts well-established Indian, Cuban, Vietnamese, Korean, and Bosnian communities, not to mention the country’s tenth-largest Arab population. By sheer dint of their demographic size—immigrants made up 37% of the city’s total population growth from 2010 to 2015—immigrants play increasingly visible roles in our communities. But their stories and experiences are too often silenced or marginalized by social, cultural and religious circumstances. At our August 19th Salon, Hidden No More, we’ll view two TED talks and highlight the contributions of immigrants that are helping to shape the city’s growth and progress. We’ll also discuss how—and what—we can learn from embracing diversity and one another. [This event has concluded.] When: Saturday, August 19th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall, 4001 Hendricks Avenue, San Marco. Cost: $12 Discussion Leaders for the evening:
  • Mario Decunto, Mental Health Therapist, Member of Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board
  • Dane Grey, President and CEO, Elite Parking Services of America
  • Arjola Miruku, Founder/Director Play Academy of Arts
  • Mobeen Rathore, MD, Founding Director UF CARES, Professor UF College of Medicine
  • Fuada Velic, CEO, Accounting At All Cost
  • Sabeen Perwaiz Syed, Moderator, Executive Producer TEDxJacksonville

Discussion Leaders:

Mario Decunto is a licensed mental health therapist, and specializes in working with children and families. He is active in the community serving on the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, the Mayor’s Hispanic American Advisory Board, and Times Union Citizen’s Editorial Board. He created and is currently the President of the Duval County Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida (DHCF). He has served the immigrant community as a panelist on mental health issues in the Hispanic Community and also assisted the Jacksonville System of Care to create the first Hispanic Mental Health Fair in Jacksonville. Mario most recently helped lead the DHCF to organize Jacksonville’s first Immigration and Refugee Program Panel, which served to inform and activate the community in response to executive orders and local legislation affecting refugee programs and undocumented persons in the community.
  Dane GreyDane Grey is the President and CEO of Elite Parking Services of America, which specializes in parking and transportation management services for municipalities, downtown urban markets, airports, and hospitals across the east coast of the United States.  Mr. Grey started Elite Parking in 2007 while still a student at Jacksonville University. In 2015, Mr. Grey had the honor of leading the Elite Parking team to the development of the first cloud-based parking concept, a mobile and web-based application known as eTrac that created an automated method for managing employees, reducing operational costs, and increasing personnel productivity. Elite Parking was the recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Business Ambassador award, given to companies creating jobs and technology innovation throughout the state. Mr. Grey is a gubernatorial appointee to the Transportation Commission for the state of Florida. He is also the Vice Chair for the Jacksonville University Aviation Board, and a current Board Member for the Deloris Weaver Foundation and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Grey is an active member of YPO (Young Presidents Organization), a worldwide organization of CEO and company presidents. He is a native of Jamaica.
Arjola Miruku is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, and has held positions as Instructor in Musicology and Class Piano and been on the Preparatory Division faculty at Texas Christian University. She has also held an adjunct Professor of Piano position at Texas Wesleyan University and directed her own private studio in Winter Park, FL, Fort Worth, Colleyville and Southlake, TX and now in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. A native of Albania, Arjola is currently thrilled to make her residence in Jacksonville, FL and is pursuing her passion to run PLAY Academy of Arts (, a holistic approach to artistic training. Alongside her teaching positions, Arjola enjoys an active performing career specializing in solo and duo piano music.
Mobeen Rathore, MD is the Founding Director of University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) and Professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He is a committed civic worker, teacher, researcher, and clinician. A native of Pakistan, Dr. Rathore has lived in Jacksonville, Florida for more than 26 years. His wife is also a practicing physician and native of Pakistan. Dr. Rathore has served on several governmental and community organizations. He is President of Leadership Jacksonville, the first Muslim and only the second physician to receive this honor. He serves on the Boards of OneJax and Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, and is the founding President of Muslim American Social Services, Inc., which runs a free clinic for the uninsured in Duval County. Currently, he is a mayoral appointee to the Environmental Protection and Asian American Advisory Boards. Previously, he served on the HIV Advisory Council as a mayoral appointee. He is frequently invited as a speaker on Islam.
Fuada Velic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and emmigrated to Jacksonville in 2000 due to the war in that country. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a BBA in accounting and secured a master’s degree in business and accounting from Columbus University. Her passion for accounting led her  to open her own accounting practice and start helping businesses and individuals with accounting needs. She is a member of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance Florida, and past Member Chair of Impact Jax. Currently, she volunteers with the American Cancer Society, and serves on the board of the Bosnian American Youth Association and Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.