This is How America Welcomes | Welcoming America

This is How America Welcomes

Welcoming America | September 30, 2015

Welcoming Week 2015 was the biggest ever, marking a significant moment for the Welcoming movement. Together, we:

  • Reached 1.4 million people via social media and thousands more through 85+ local and national news stories
  • Hosted 245+ events with 22,000 attendees in 31 states across the US
  • Heard from mayors, governors, and local officials from Anchorage, Alaska to Tampa, Florida who are shaping more welcoming policy
  • Launched the Building Welcoming Communities campaign with the White House

As signs of Refugees Welcome went up throughout Europe, Welcoming Week and our partnership with MoveOn’s #America Welcomes showed that Americans of all stripes are welcoming immigrants and refugees in their communities and are working with local elected leaders to institutionalize that welcome.

During Welcoming Week, we were also proud to announce an exciting partnership with the White House through the Building Welcoming Communities campaign, which will bring more federal support and visibility to the growing leadership of localities in advancing immigrant integration.

We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to all our hosts, partners, attendees, and supporters; you made this the strongest Welcoming Week ever.

Event Highlights

Naturalization ceremony in Beaverton, Oregon

Photo Credit: City of Beaverton, Oregon

Local and State Governments Recognize Immigrant Contributions and Commit to Immigrant-Friendly Policy

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; Allegheny County, PA; and Tacoma, WA all passed resolutions officially recognizing the 2nd week of September as National Welcoming Week in their communities. Michigan is the first ever state to recognize Welcoming Week citing immigrant contributions to the state’s economy, culture, and heritage.

Hillsborough County, FL became the first local government in Florida to join Welcoming America. San Jose, CA; Kalamazoo, MI, and Grand Rapids, MI also joined making the network 84 members strong.

In Arkansas, 9 mayors signed Welcoming proclamations with support from Engage NWA and the Arkansas United Community Coalition.

Communities Celebrate Immigrant Entrepreneurship and Economic Contributions

In Fargo, ND; Lincoln, NE; Anchorage, AK; Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; and many more communities, immigrant businesses were celebrated and supported with business tours, diversity forums, ceremonies, economic impact reports, and workshops for entrepreneurs.

Citizenship: 30,000 New Americans

From Atlanta to San Jose to Massachusetts to Michigan, over 30,000 people became naturalized citizens this week. Many communities and nonprofits also held citizenship workshops for New Americans pursuing citizenship.

Celebrating Diverse Contributions to our Cultural Vitality

Thousands of community members came together to celebrate, uplift, and welcome immigrants in events in Beaverton, OR; Tampa, FL; Detroit, MI; St. Louis, MO; Philadelphia, PA; and many, many more. Events included markets, festivals, soccer tournaments, panel discussions, and film screenings.

Building Welcoming Communities Campaign

During National Welcoming Week, the White House launched the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign in partnership with Welcoming America, accelerating the growing movement of communities that are becoming more prosperous by embracing immigrants and fostering opportunity for all.  The Campaign is part of a broader package of announcements made by the White House Task Force on New Americans.

Already, 40 early acceptor US cities and counties have already signed on to the campaign, from Philadelphia, PA to Dayton, OH to Nashville, TN to San Jose, CA. The groups include cities and counties big and small from across the country.

To join the campaign as a local government, please email [email protected] If your city or county is not already involved, talk with municipal leaders about joining.


1000s of Americans showed their support for refugees through’s #AmericaWelcomes campaign. Welcoming America is proud to be a national partner of this effort during a critical time for refugees. This campaign has reached nearly 1 million people. Spread the message further: Download your sign and share your photo.

Take Action

Welcoming Week 2015 may be over, but there are still many ways you can get involved and connect with immigrants, refugees, and new Americans in your community. Take action now.

Thank You

In addition to our partners on-the-ground, a big shout-out goes out to all our national partners, who helped drum up and sustain excitement and energy around the week:

Welcoming Week 2015 Partners

Featured Photo Credit: YMCA of Greater Louisville, KY

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