New Webinar Series on Welcoming Children

Welcoming America is pleased to announce a series of three webinars on what local communities can do to help children fleeing violence, highlighting how:

  • Various sectors are working together in their communities to respond with compassion and empathy to the children fleeing violence.
  • Local leaders and community partners are acting as the moral compass of the nation, reframing the debate and taking action, such as through National Welcoming Week.
  • Our experience in working with receiving communities, the communities where immigrants and refugees are arriving,  can help you to create a welcoming climate.

Talking about Children Fleeing Violence: What Works, What Doesn’t

Monday, August 18, 12-1pm EST


Welcoming America is Supporting the Growing Number of Communities that are Welcoming Unaccompanied Children

Update: For resources on unaccompanied children – including ways you can help – click here.

Dear Colleagues,

We stand at a historic moment for our country.  Unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America are being re-settled across the U.S., and regardless of what happens in Washington, it is local communities who must act as the moral compass of our nation.

Now, more than ever, it is important to remember what our local partners witness daily:welcoming communities are more prosperous, dynamic, and united than those that aren’t intentionally inclusive. We are deeply inspired by the growing number of leaders and everyday Americans uniting to make their communities welcoming ones for unaccompanied children. For some inspiring examples of communities stepping up, click here.

From changing the tenor of the conversation, to engaging residents with fears and misperceptions about local impact, to offering support to unaccompanied children, there is much that communities can and should do to step up and help.

In the coming weeks, Welcoming America will do our part to support our rapidly growing national network of local organizations and municipal governments, as well as any community wanting to become more welcoming during this important time.

Our goals are two-fold:

1) To lift up the voices of local leaders across the country who are taking a stand to welcome and humanely care for the children

Much of the media coverage has been primarily negative and portrays local communities as overwhelmingly against humane and welcoming treatment of the children. This depiction runs counter to public opinion polling and the experience of our local partners.

Over the coming weeks, we will spotlight the welcoming responses taking place around the country. Although details are still being finalized, actions will include:

  • Supporting and publicizing a welcoming sign-on letter for local leaders to demonstrate the depth and breadth of support for the children.
  • Changing the narrative by lifting up the numerous stories of local communities welcoming unaccompanied children and providing messaging and communications support to communities that are seeking to change the local narrative.
  • Creating space for immigrants and receiving community members to come together in service for the children during National Welcoming Week, taking place September 13-21.
  • Working with national partners like the National Partnership for New Americans to connect those ready to welcome children and to share their stories as widely as possible.  If you or your organization would like to partner in lifting up local voices of welcoming, please contact us.

2) To ensure local governments and community organizations have the tools required to marshal welcoming efforts in their communities.  Over the coming weeks, we will:

  • Launch a webinar series with our partners to provide you with facts and background on unaccompanied children and local communities, as well as messaging and actions you can take to promote welcoming the children.
  • Collect and share strategies and narratives that are working for community leaders and organizations across the country.  Please share with us what you are doing or send us your ideas so we can help others learn from them too.
  • Offering our many years of expertise in engaging receiving communities to groups and local governments wanting to promote greater dialogue and communication among local residents to ensure positive community outcomes.

There is an alternative to the divisive rhetoric we have all been hearing. In communities from Tampa to Denver to Syracuse, local leaders are expressing their support for unaccompanied children and emphasizing that the values of those they represent require children be cared for and welcomed.  These statements, some of which are captured here, are a reminder that everyday Americans can change the course of history.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas and to let us know how we can support you in your efforts to create more welcoming communities for all.

David Lubell
Executive Director
Welcoming America

Register Your National Welcoming Week Event and Order Materials






Join us for National Welcoming Week on September 13-21, 2014 to highlight the contributions of immigrants to American communities and to bring together immigrants and long-term residents in a spirit of unity! We invite you to attend or organize an event in your community that celebrates and embodies the welcoming spirit. Join the welcoming movement that is spreading across the country.

To participate, register your event or find a volunteer opportunity on the Welcoming Week websiteIf you register your event(s) by August 7th, you will receive 5 free National Welcoming Week t-shirts, a large banner, and 50 buttons. If you have questions about registering your event, please reference our guide.
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Uplifting Innovations at the White House & U.S. Chamber

Welcoming America and Partners Join White House and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Uplift Immigrant Integration and Welcoming Innovations

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In direct contrast to inaction on immigration reform dividing Washington, D.C.
, over 60 U.S. communities, large and small, all across the country are thriving by working together to embrace immigrants as part of the Welcoming America network. Welcoming America and its partners – including the prominent organizations National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA)Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), and Americas Society/Council on The Americas (AS/COA) – have come to Washington this week to highlight these non-profit and municipal welcoming initiatives, lift up the leadership of local communities in immigrant integration in general, and highlight the role the federal government can play in supporting and coordinating local integration efforts.

Read the rest of this entry »

2014 National Welcoming Week

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welcoming_week_During the week of September 13th, 2014, Welcoming America and its partners across the country will host National Welcoming Week, a nationwide event that will bring together immigrants and U.S.-born community members in a spirit of unity through service projects and other events across the country.

Welcoming Week is just around the corner – we encourage you to start planning your event soon!  If you’d like to receive more information on National Welcoming Week – whether your interest is as an event host, event attendee, or general supporter – please sign up for our email updates here. If you plan to host an event, please complete this form.  Also, feel free to start publicizing National Welcoming Week by sharing our postcard with your network!

Can’t host or join an event?  You can help support our event now through a gift – click the button below to donate!


In Honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, Celebrating the Diversity that Unites Us

Throughout the month of June,, a new non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating a United States that is fueled by immigrants from around the world, will be celebrating the first-ever Immigrant Heritage Month. The goal of the month – which will bring together a dynamic coalition of individuals and organizations from Congressmen to celebrities – is to encourage every American to tell the story of how they first felt welcomed to the American experience.

Since 2009, Welcoming America has brought together these civic leaders and everyday welcoming heroes through a vibrant network that reaches from coast to coast. From mayors in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, who recently announced new Welcoming initiatives, to long standing efforts in states as diverse as Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Rhode Island, the Welcoming America movement reflects the diversity of American communities, rural and urban, that are already extending a welcome to their newest neighbors. Read the rest of this entry »

Updates from Welcoming America

2014 Welcoming America National Conference

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Last month, Welcoming leaders from across the country convened in Atlanta for our 2014 national conference. For highlights, read our blog post, and check out our video to see why our great partners do the work they do. Thank you all who joined us for this inspiring event!

Cities Make Strides to Advancing Welcoming

Three new cities – Denver, Colorado; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Central Falls, Rhode Island – have signed on to our Welcoming Cities and Counties initiative. Central Fall’s addition was marked by the release of a report from Welcoming Rhode Island on immigrant contributions to the state.

Welcoming Atlanta has also taken a significant step towards welcoming with the creation of a working group, which will make recommendations to Mayor Reed on steps to take to become more inclusive towards immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »

Refugee Stories Have Happy Endings

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By Amanda Cooper, Lightbox Collaborative

American’s have a lot of sympathy for the refugee experience. Just the word “refugee” conjures images in our head of crowded camps and sad eyed children. But are those images accurate? And more importantly, are they helpful?

The truth is, the refugee experience can be harrowing. Just the nature of refugee status means that you are leaving a country because you are in danger. Resettling families have a great opportunity to start a new life, but we all know that starting a new life is very difficult, particularly if you are still dealing with the effects of trauma. So, yes, refugees deserve our empathy and compassion. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcoming Leaders Grow and Move Forward Together at National Conference

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Forty leaders convened at the Welcoming America Leaders Conference in Atlanta, GA from April 28-30, 2014.  Representing non-profits and municipal governments across the country, these leaders have been working tirelessly to help their communities welcome immigrants and integrate them into civic life.  They gathered in Atlanta to reconnect with one other, learn new skills, and get reinvigorated and re-energized for the work ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

Immigrant Welcome in the Nation’s Capital

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(Image Credit: Office of Human Rights, District of Columbia)

Welcoming America Joins City of DC to Celebrate 10 Years of Language Access and Immigrant Inclusion

A truly global city, Washington, DC and the metro region is one of the most significant immigration hubs in the country today. Metro DC has the seventh-largest immigrant concentration (21.5 percent foreign-born), and the District’s foreign-born population accounts for more than a third of its population growth since 2007.

Today, Mayor Gray, the Office of Human Rights, and community partners from throughout the region will celebrate the city’s efforts over the last decade to celebrate their immigrant community and ensure their inclusion and success through one of the nation’s most innovative and forward-looking language access policies. Read the rest of this entry »