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Salad Bowl USA Supports Refugee Center Online

Salad Bowl USA is, in part, a political project. We believe that ethnic and national differences of hyphenated Americans are to be celebrated; we are not just one out of many, we are stronger together.

The majority of our customers are people who became Americans in the course of their lives. The census designates these naturalized Americans as foreign-born. Salad Bowl USA, therefore, aims to make America a better place for those who, like our founder and Immigrant in Chief, were born in another country and made the U.S. their new home.

To that end, Salad Bowl USA supports projects that help newcomers to the United States. We donate 10 percent of our profits to organizations whose mission revolves around assistance to immigrants and refugees.

March Beneficiary

The first beneficiary of our charitable giving program is Refugee Center Online. Ten percent of profits from sales made at our website in March 2017 will go toward supporting the Center’s mission: to “use technology to help refugees and displaced individuals build new lives in the United States.”

Like Salad Bowl USA, the Refugee Center Online is based in Portland, Oregon, operates online, and “values diversity, education, and collaboration.” Similarly, the Center “respects and celebrates refugees’ wealth of knowledge and life experience.”

We identify with the Center’s vision of “a world of peace and justice in which refugee resettlement is unnecessary” and their work ensuring that “refugees are empowered to lead fulfilling and dignified lives, thereby strengthening our communities and our common future.”

The Refugee Center Online is a “comprehensive online center that houses all of the resources and information” for refugees and immigrants to overcome structural barriers to effective integration into the American society, so they can “build successful lives for themselves and their families here in America.”  The Center believes that successful integration “strengthens our economy, makes our communities more resilient, and enhances our democracy.” Unique in the U.S., the Center works with resettlement agencies and other organizations around the country, supporting and complementing their work.


As part of the collaboration with Refugee Center Online, we are giving away three t-shirts. The winners will receive a t-shirt with the flag map design of their country.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this article answering the question: “Where are you or your ancestors from?” The answer should be the country whose flag you want on your t-shirt if you win.

Entries to this Salad Bowl USA-sponsored giveaway are open through Friday, March 31, 11:59 pm PST.

The giveaway is open to anyone currently in the United States (we only ship to U.S. addresses), except employees and relatives of employees of Salad Bowl USA and Refugee Center Online. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. All entries will be verified, assigned a number, and entered into a drawing, with the three winners selected using a random number generator. All email addresses will also be added to our list for news, updates, and announcements (you may unsubscribe at any time). Winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond, otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen.

You can increase your odds of winning with a bonus entry. Like Salad Bowl USA and Refugee Center Online on Facebook, and leave a comment below with your full first and last name as it appears on your Facebook profile. You can earn the bonus entry even if you already like either page.

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Welcome to Salad Bowl USA

Welcome to Salad Bowl USA

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. Since its earliest days, the republic was described as a melting pot. The metaphor expressed the idea that people of various nationalities and ethnicities fused into a single nation. The melting pot described the unity that arose as immigrants of all backgrounds changed their allegiance from a tribe to ideas and values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Differences were set aside in favor of common ideals; the Irishmen, the Germans, the Slavs became Americans.

From Soup to Salad

But real life did not follow the neat metaphor. Even as they subscribed to the new civic creed, the new Americans retained their old culture. They congregated in nation- or ethnic-based organizations, celebrated their cultures at festivals, learned their language in schools, and worshipped in their own temples.

Slowly a new metaphor arose. If, rather than assimilate, immigrants kept some of their original identity, it wasn’t hot soup but salad that came closer to capturing what was going on.

According to this idea, which gained traction in the 1960’s, different people coexist in a single entity that is the United States like vegetables form a salad, held together by a bowl of the country and blended with a dressing of the founding documents, democracy, and capitalism.

Differences became something to celebrate; we are a nation of hyphenated Americans.

My Own Private Salad Bowl

As an immigrant, I experienced this shift personally over the course of several years.

At first, I tried to blend in as much as possible to speed up the process of settling in the new country and benefit from all it had to offer. But as I decided to become a citizen and went through the naturalization process I had to acknowledge where I came from and what made me who I was. I could remain a Slovak with mixed Slovak-Ruthenian-Hungarian ancestry and become American at the same time.

I channeled the realization into my blog American Robotnik. Through writing, I aimed to trace the journey of immigrating and integrating into the U.S. and becoming a hyphenated American. A Slovak in America, I carried the flag of my old country to the new, where my Slovak identity became bound by America.

The leap to the idea of enveloping Slovakia’s flag in the borders of the (continental) U.S. was the logical continuation of this thought process. The graphic [COUNTRY] in USA represents the experience of immigration and integration and visually manifests the salad bowl metaphor.

Around the World and Back

Using my nascent graphic design skills, in 2011 I created the graphic for a select few Central/Eastern European countries and slapped it on some merch in a Zazzle store. I made some sales despite zero promotion, and put the idea on the back burner as I traveled around the world.

But the idea stuck with me and I finally picked it back up in the fall of 2016. Finally, after a few hiccups and delays, Salad Bowl USA launched in February 2017. As in, today.

Introducing Salad Bowl USA

Salad Bowl USA is an online shop selling the [COUNTRY] in the USA graphic on a variety of items, including t-shirts and hoodies to start.

My vision is for all those who immigrated or whose ancestors who immigrated to the United States to wear their flag proudly on their chest as Americans.

The goal is for every country of the world to be represented with a range of products; in time, countries that no longer exist (e.g. Yugoslavia), nations/ethnic groups without a country (e.g. Catalonia or Kurdistan) and an assortment of other flags will be included.

Personal, Commercial, and Political

Even as Salad Bowl USA follows a personal trajectory and aims for financial viability, it is a political project.

The idea that as immigrants we retain a significant part of our pre-American identity has been labeled multiculturalism. I fully acknowledge that some aspects of multiculturalism can be problematic. If taken too far, multiculturalism can fail.

But I strongly believe that our differences are something to integrate not assimilate; salad is better than soup. I don’t have to be either Slovak or American; I can be both Slovak and American. This is what gives America its strength.

We are not just one out of many, we are—to borrow a recent political slogan—stronger together.

Welcome to Salad Bowl USA!