Engaging Local Leaders to Foster Welcoming Communities

Engaging Local Leaders to Foster Welcoming Communities

Over the last decade, our work in communities has underscored time and again that the single greatest change lever to building welcoming communities is leadership. Leaders help set the tone for welcome and belonging in the community. Often that’s a positive tone, one that recognizes the value and contributions of all residents. Conversely, it can be negative, and one based in fear, exclusion, and intolerance. While the national rhetoric around immigration remains toxic, at the local level community leaders tend to be far more open and welcoming. They are also pragmatic and understand their communities work best when everyone feels like they belong and can contribute to their greatest potential. These leaders recognize that the vibrancy and success of our cities, towns, and neighborhoods depend on our social cohesion, a shared vision of the future, and embracing a spirit of what is possible when we all work together. Strengthening the well-being and prosperity of all residents and what connects us as neighbors and Americans is more critical today than ever. Reinforcing those bonds requires leadership engagement, positive communications,
and building meaningful contact across difference, all topics of this social cohesion series.

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