The Story of Welcoming
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Keep the momentum going

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Dear Welcomers,

It has been an incredible year.

Together, we lifted up welcoming at a national – and international – level.

We were so incredibly humbled to be recognized by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when we received the Intercultural Innovation Award as well as to be honored by President Obama last week in Nashville.

We were thrilled to help bring welcoming to the halls of Washington when we co-hosted, with National Partnership for New Americans, the first-ever White House Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration, and we are similarly excited about the recent presidential memorandum, Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees.

And we continued to highlight welcoming during flash points around immigration – including children fleeing violence from Central America and administrative relief.

Together, we accelerated policy change in communities nationwide, moving the needle on immigration locally.

There is a movement sweeping the nation: whole communities are coming together to create welcoming environments in which immigrant and long-term residents alike can thrive and prosper.

Now, our network includes 64 nonprofit and municipal government members who are working to instill welcoming locally, moving from symbolic gestures to institutional policy change – from establishing mayoral offices focused on supporting immigrants, to appointing task forces, to outlining how to best attract and retain immigrants.

Together, we reshaped the national narrative on immigration.

The welcoming message spread further than ever, from the New York Times, to the Associated Press, to Forbes, to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Leaders from all over the country are also increasingly highlighting the value of welcoming immigrants and the contributions they make in places as diverse as Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Detroit.

We could not have done this without you. Can you help keep this momentum going in 2015 with a tax-deductible gift to Welcoming America?

We are in a special welcoming moment for the country, and we want to ensure that we move in the right direction. With your support, together, we can continue to build a nation where immigrants are embraced and welcomed by their communities and neighbors.

With my deepest appreciation,

David Lubell
Executive Director

P.S. While we appreciate any gift, you can become an even bigger champion of welcoming by giving monthly.

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An incredible honor from the President

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This Tuesday, I had the honor of flying on Air Force One with President Obama to Nashville to celebrate the city as an exemplar of what a welcoming community can achieve.
 
Let me share some of what the President said during his speech at Casa Azafran in Nashville:
 
“[L]et me close with the story of somebody who is working to bring people together. David Lubell, who…used to run the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. And he knew that some folks were skeptical about immigrants changing the face of Nashville. And he also knew though that these immigrants were good people. So he saw an opportunity for immigration to unite the city rather than divide it. And in 2005, he started Welcoming Tennessee which connects long-term residents in the community with new immigrants.…And the conversations weren’t always easy. But it created a foundation of mutual understanding and respect. And today, David’s initiative is expanding across the country….This is what makes America exceptional. That we welcome strivers. We welcome dreamers from all around the world. And it keeps us young and it keeps us invigorated, and it keeps us thriving. And pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.”
 
We thank the White House and the President for this incredible recognition. To see the full speech, including the town hall portion, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bbd9OzZ15Q (skip to 9:00 to hear President Obama recognize the welcoming movement).
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Reflections on the Presidential Memorandum

Despite our history as a nation of immigrants, the U.S. has never had a federal immigrant integration policy; for the first time ever, one is on the way.

Thanks to a recent commitment by the President, detailed in the presidential memorandum on Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees, the White House will be establishing a White House Task Force on New Americans, an interagency effort to identify and support state and local integration efforts that are working and to consider how to expand and replicate successful models. Read the rest of this entry »

Why I’ll be in Nashville today

Update 2: Watch the full town hall below or go to minute 9 to listen to President Obama speak about David Lubell and the Welcoming America movement. Read the transcript here.

Update: We are so honored that our movement was recognized by the President during his visit to Nashville! A special shout out goes out to Mayor Karl Dean, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and all who have helped make Welcoming Tennessee and the welcoming movement a reality.President Barack Obama Quote Graphic

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Will you join us?

 

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Will you join us in building a more Welcoming America?

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It takes more than a single day to live up to our values as a welcoming nation, but it’s remarkable what can be achieved in just a few short years by the power of we. At this historic welcoming moment, we reflect on what we have accomplished, and how we will move this country forward. Read the rest of this entry »

WA Updates: Administrative Relief Resources & Webinar, Join Us at the NIIC

(Webinar) Talking to Receiving Communities about Administrative Relief: Tips for Effective and Positive Messaging on Administrative Relief

Thursday, December 11 @ 1-2pm EST

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced a plan for administrative relief. This webinar will cover what administrative relief is – and what it is not – and how to talk about it to receiving communities, including helpful tips on messaging in a positive and persuasive way. Speakers include Kari Hong, Professor at Boston College Law School; Rachel Peric, Deputy Director at Welcoming America; and Amanda Cooper, Independent Consultant at Lightbox Cooperative. REGISTER NOW.

**Welcoming America is hosting this webinar as an independent organization. Though Welcoming America is a technical assistance provider for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the views and content shared are those of the organization only, and are neither offered nor funded under the auspices of ORR or the Welcoming Refugees technical assistance program.** Read the rest of this entry »

A Welcoming Moment

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Yesterday, the President announced Administrative Relief, a new program that will protect millions of immigrants from deportation. Regardless of the debate in Washington, where this policy will play out is in our communities. How we respond during this welcoming moment will reflect our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.

Over the next several months, communities across the country will have an important choice to make about how they treat those who are eligible to participate. Those who qualify already have deep roots in our communities. They are members of the local PTA, parishioners in the local church, and coaches of the local soccer team. If communities are welcoming and step up to the plate with their support and resources, we can succeed. We can succeed not only by making sure that no one is too afraid to enroll, but also by ensuring that millions can finally more fully participate and feel a sense of belonging in their communities. After all, when we feel welcome, we are much more likely to share our talents, ideas, and inspirations with those around us. Imagine the positive implications for our communities.
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WA Updates: Children Fleeing Violence, NIIC, Job Opening & More

Mayors and County Executives Come Out In Support of Children Fleeing Violence

In continuation of our campaign to support children fleeing violence from Central America, Welcoming America recently released a letter signed by 13 Mayors and County Executives from some of the nation’s largest communities in which they promise to compassionately support and welcome the children.

Reflecting a symbolic cross section of America, this initial group of local leaders is showing tremendous leadership among a growing number of communities that have been willing and able to ensure that the children are cared for – garnering attention from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Spanish-language Associated Press, and Latin Post. For more information on this momentous step, including the list of signatories, click here Read the rest of this entry »

From the Halls of Government to the Heart of Communities, National Welcoming Week Celebrates and Uplifts Immigrants

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* Photo captions below

This National Welcoming Week, communities across the country – rural and urban, large and small – stepped up to celebrate and integrate immigrants. From substantial policy changes to exciting events, Welcoming Week marked a watershed moment for our country.

Mayors and Communities Announce Major Welcoming Policy Initiatives

During Welcoming Week, four Welcoming Cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, and Detroit – took huge leaps forward in their path to welcoming immigrants. These steps are not just symbolic gestures embracing newcomers – they are also momentous shifts in governmental and institutional policy that will tangibly improve the lives of immigrants.
 
In Atlanta, Georgia – which has the second fastest-growing foreign-born population of any metro area in the U.S., second only to Baltimore – Mayor Kasim Reed and the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group announced that the City of Atlanta will implement 20 policies and programs to foster a welcoming environment for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin.
 
Baltimore, Maryland also celebrated with Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake’s announcement that the city will implement new efforts to attract and retain immigrants. To kick these efforts off, the city released a report on the role immigrants play in growing the city, as well as a video series celebrating Welcoming Week.
 
The birthplace of the Welcoming movement, Nashville, Tennessee, continues to lead the country, announcing last week the creation of a Mayor’s Office of New Americans, a successful example of the power of government-nonprofit collaboration that is at the root of our work. We commend Mayor Karl Dean and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) for this momentous step forward.
 
Welcoming Week also saw the addition of two new cities to the Welcoming Cities and Counties cohort. Detroit, Michigan made their announcement during a panel featuring the Mayor, City Council, and our partner Welcoming Michigan. We also honor Anchorage, Alaska, which became the first Welcoming City outside of the contiguous U.S. during Welcoming Week.

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US Mayors: “We will provide compassion and care for children fleeing violence”

Today, Welcoming America released a letter signed by Mayors and County Executives from some of the nation’s largest communities in which they promise to compassionately support and welcome the young children from Central America seeking refuge in the US.  Reflecting a symbolic cross section of America, this initial group of Mayors and County Executives are showing tremendous leadership among a growing number of communities that have been willing and able to ensure that children are cared for.

“As leaders of the nation’s cities and counties, we remind the American public that the moral compass of our nation resides in our local communities. We call on our residents and leaders across the country to respond with compassion and concern for the welfare of all children, and to join us in doing all we can to live up to our values as a just and welcoming nation,” the letter states.

Mayors Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Georgia, Martin J. Walsh of Boston, Massachusetts, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Illinois, Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, Michael B. Hancock of Denver, Colorado, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California, Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William Peduto of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Daniel L. Bianchi of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Edward B. Murray of Seattle, Washington, Francis G. Slay of St. Louis, Missouri, Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson, Arizona, and County Executive Isiah Leggett of Montgomery County, Maryland all signed the letter.

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