Volume II | February 2022
Interview with Grossman Young & Hammond, Deep dive in Equal Rights Amendment, Edge Exposure Service Launch, Swedish fika tips and Events updates
Since 1989 SACC-DC has offered a platform for developing U.S. – Swedish lucrative commercial ventures and professional opportunities through our network and business and social events. The SACC-DC Newsletter will help you stay on top of what’s happening in the Swedish-American business community and find the perfect opportunity to create new business connections in the greater Washington D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region.
From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,
Yesterday, Europe woke up to a different landscape. After nearly eight decades of not experiencing occupation for any nation, it is hard to grasp that Putin is going all in, breaking international law and attacking a sovereign nation with the intention to redraw the map of Europe. Sweden and the rest of Europe, like the US, will be putting sanctions in place. They have been preparing for this but only time will tell if it has the effect that we all hope for.

On March 8, International Women's Day, we host a webinar together with SACC Georgia and SACC Carolinas where our four panelists from Embassy of Sweden, Skanska, Almi and Impact Arena discuss gender equality in the corporate and public sector on a policy, strategic, operational, and individual level. 

Our Scandinavian Innovation forum and networking reception takes place in person on April 26, please scroll down for more info or go directly to our website 

In this newsletter we also highlight some exciting news from Ericsson, insights to the Equal Rights Amendment and an introduction to our new Business member and law firm Grossman Young & Hammond. Did you know that certain dates on the Swedish calendar are dedicated to pastries with different names? The most popular one is the "Semla" and now is the time to grab yours from Mikko's or IKEA - or why not make some yourself?

Happy reading!
Interview with Sofia Hassander, immigration attorney at new SACC-DC member Grossman, Young & Hammond, LLC, a boutique law firm specializing in immigration.
Please tell us about your educational background and what allured you to work as an immigration attorney?
My road to working in immigration law began with my own experience coming to the U.S. as an immigrant from Sweden. I grew up in Lund, earned my law degree from Lund University, and worked for a number of years as a business attorney at a large law firm in Stockholm. I then moved to the United States to attend Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, where I earned an LLM degree. I have experienced firsthand the challenges of going through the immigration process in the U.S., and became an immigration lawyer to help others on the same journey. I enjoy assisting companies with securing top talent for growing their business. At the same time, I help employees realize their dreams to live and work in the U.S. At times, my work involves emergency humanitarian travel, such as helping to reunite families or obtaining visas to enter the U.S. for medical assistance.

You have received wide recognition and stellar rankings for your practice, could you please elaborate on the structure and visions of your firm that have led to this success?
Our firm’s mission is Transcending BordersTM through creative legal solutions. Grossman Young & Hammond offers a full suite of immigration services including employment and family-based immigration, humanitarian and asylum assistance, INTERPOL defense, and much more. The Partners, along with Senior Counsel at the Firm, have built a team that combines over 80 years of experience with the U.S. immigration and legislative process, capable to find solutions to the most complex immigration issues. Our attorneys’ relationships with multiple U.S. agencies — from USCIS to the State Department and Department of Labor — combined with active participation in liaison committees with government officials, keep Grossman Young & Hammond poised to address regulatory changes as they arise and afford the Firm unique insights into the procedures most likely to ensure successful outcomes.

Which immigration matters do you most commonly pursue on behalf of Swedish nationals?
The Firm assists with all business immigration matters and has worked with a number of Swedish companies. We assist with nonimmigrant visas, most commonly for individuals seeking temporary work visas or who possess “extraordinary ability” in science, business, athletics, education, and the arts. Grossman Young & Hammond also assist with employment-based and family-based immigrant visa applications, more commonly known as the “green card” and naturalization/citizenship applications. Furthermore, we have assisted Swedish nationals in the complex consular process, which can be a barrier to successful U.S. entry, as it is hard to obtain reliable information and know how to proceed when the State Department decides to deny a visa or put it on hold.

What changes have you seen in immigration policy under the Biden administration?
President Biden took office with promises to roll back the Trump administration’s more restrictive immigration policies. There have been some noteworthy changes in the new administration’s first year. The Biden administration halted all border wall construction and raised the refugee admissions cap from 15,000 to 125,000 in 2022. The current administration also significantly reduced the rate at which visa applications are denied or subject to a Requests for Evidence (RFEs). For example, the denial rate for H-1B visas has gone down from 24% in 2018 to 4% in 2021. In January, the Biden administration announced new policies aimed at attracting international graduates and professionals who specialize in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to the U.S. These changes are part of the administration’s efforts “to strengthen [the U.S.] economy and technological competitiveness.” Our latest newsletter outlines some of Biden’s STEM initiatives in the pipeline. 
The near century long battle of the Equal Rights Amendment
International Women’s Day is coming up, and is hallmarked as a day to celebrate political, social, historical and cultural achievement of women. The day was instituted in 1975, and is even a national holiday in many parts of the world. In addition to upholding women’s achievements, the UN states that the day is for recognizing challenges connected to gender equality and is commonly viewed in support of taking actions to combat inequality around the globe. In light of the approach of International Women’s Day, and the celebrated efforts on the topic, this article zooms in on one of the recent dynamic debates in this field; the battle of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and its recent unexpected unfolding. 

The first version of the ERA was proposed in December 1923, with the purpose of guaranteeing equal legal rights for any citizen, regardless of gender. Advocates of the ERA argued it would end legal distinctions between men and women on matters such as divorce, property, employment and more. However, we have to fast forward almost half a century, to 1972, for the ERA to be passed in both houses of Congress. Thus, submitting the ERA to state legislators for ratification in accordance with article V of the U.S. Constitution. The initial attempt to ratify the Amendment fell three states short; 35 of the needed 38 states ratified the ERA. In the absence of additional ratification, the Congress has since 1978 attempted to prolong or discard the original ratification deadline. Finally, in a surge of new interest in the 2010’s, who some ascribe to the ‘MeToo’-movement, the adoption of ERA as the 28th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was once again in motion. Nevada ratified the Amendment in 2017, followed by Illinois in 2018, and Virginia 2020, thereby reaching the necessary quota with four-fifths of the states.

The road, filled with hurdles and delays, had reached a break-though and to commemorate the House passage anniversary, a hearing was invoked and scheduled to examine the final steps necessary to involve women in the Constitution in 2021. The efforts to render a spot for inclusiveness in the legislation, by adopting the ERA, aim to bridge the gap between effective legislative gender equality and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Through the Amendment, the concept Rule of Law was adopted, thus declaring that no person was above the law and all persons had to abide by the provisions of law. However, to have equal protection in the law, and from the law, are two separate provisions and the ERA is therefore called for by many Americans.

On February 18, 2022, the new attorney general in Virginia withdrew his state's support from putting the ERA into legal effect. The imminent legal question, whether the ratification deadline can be removed or extended for such an extensive period of time, or if the ratification simply has expired, remains unanswered. The status of the ERA determines if the states have the authority to rescind their support for the Amendment. The lack of consensus and directives on how to handle the state’s revoked support for ratification, and whether the ratification deadline has merit or not, has raised poignant constitutional questions that remain unanswered and debated. Lastly, regardless of the legal standing, the joint aspirations and efforts related to gender equality is a cause worthy of celebration in relation to the purpose of International Women’s Day. The relentless striving for gender equality has a strong foothold and conviction among the proponents for a legally adoptable solution is hence as vigorous as ever.
Ericsson launches new Edge Exposure Server offering
SACC-DC would like to congratulate our Corporate Member Ericsson on their successful launch of Edge Exposure Server, enabling new enterprise and customer services. Ericsson was labeled the leading 5G company in Gartner’s list in 2021, a recognized international ranking. With an over 50 per cent market share in the US and as the company that holds the most 5G deals, Ericsson has surpassed all of its competitors while creating the future of digital infrastructure.

Edge computing, the concept behind Ericsson’s newly launched Edge Exposure Services, has been named the key to 5G success. The market leader continues to evolve by producing the infrastructure required to handle the expected future growth in data and the need for ‘instant data’, which is real-time data generated by users and sensors. Exposure capabilities enable innovation of services beyond regular mobile broadband. A typical use case involving edge exposure is connected drones that are used for mission critical tasks where both regulatory requirements and video streaming quality is important.Combined with their 5G technology, Ericsson can offer new, enhanced services to several sectors, including manufacturing, transport and gaming.
Swedish fika - yes, we even put it on our calenders
On March 1st, the Swedish calendar states it is Fat Tuesday and hence that we should march to our local bakeries and buy ourselves a selma (or two!). Swedes ate an impressive six million semlor on Fat Tuesday last year, a number that is quite staggering compared to our population of 10 million. But do not despair if you are located across the Atlantic and wish to have a taste of these delicious pastries - Chef Mikkos in Washington DC sells Swedish semla until March 1. Pop by to enjoy the Swedish specialty, or contact Catering@ChefMikko.com for large orders.

The calendar days devoted to fika in March extend beyond March 1. The Swedish waffle day takes place on March 25, which initially was set in place due to a mispronunciation of ‘vårfrudagen’ that occurs the same day. Needless to say, the Swedes are happy to feast on waffles regardless of the reason behind the day. The waffles pair well with whipped cream and jam for the one with a sweet-tooth, or with shrimps, sourcream, chopped red onion and a slice of lemon if you are feeling bold. Head out to IKEA to stack up on the Swedish must-haves for the upcoming month.

Upcoming Events
Welcome to join SACC-Carolinas, SACC-Georgia, and SACC-DC for a lunch webinar highlighting the International Women's Day on March 8. The webinar's focal point is Gender Equality from four perspectives. The SACC organizations strive to shed light on gender equality in the corporate and public sector on a policy, strategic, operational, and individual level. Each perspective will be represented by one of our panelists - with the purpose of inspiring to further efforts to break the bias between the genders.

To secure your spot at the webinar, please click here.

April 26,
Scandinavian Innovation Forum
Green Supply Chains in a Carbon-free Future
The U.S. Demand for Green Materials and Scandinavia's Supply-Driven Innovations
In collaboration with the Swedish and Norwegian Embassies;
SACC-DC, together with NACC-MA, the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, invite you to explore the untapped demand for sustainable materials, such as batteries and steel, in the US market, and the Scandinavian supply potential of green production. The day event and evening reception will both take place on April 26, devoted to high quality business insights and networking.
Save the date: April 26, 2022, 1.15 pm - 8 pm
Forum: Ocean Hall, Embassy of Norway, 1.15 pm - 5.30 pm
Evening reception: House of Sweden, 6 pm - 8 pm

For a teaser on the event and more information, look here.
June 2, 2022
Executive Forum
Flagship Event of SACC USA  | House of Sweden, Washington D.C.
The theme of this year, Navigating Turbulent Waters, will take stock of new market solutions, groundbreaking technologies, and strategies to tackle challenges such as climate change, and much more.The executive forum is a full day, in person event and will feature several highly regarded speakers.

Tickets are offered to a highly reduced price for members. Sounds interesting? Make sure to save your seat at Executive Forum, seeing as the event has sold out six years in a row.
Remember to renew your membership for 2022
Visit membership portal to renew or our membership page to join.

SACC DC organizes many events throughout the year to give our members access to professional networking. We also tailor trade missions for Swedish companies interested in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. Whether an individual with a keen interest in or connection with Sweden living in D.C. or a company looking to establish new relationships, we can help you reach your next goal.
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