Hundreds of local leaders affirm commitment to building welcoming communities for all | Welcoming America

Hundreds of local leaders affirm commitment to building welcoming communities for all

Welcoming America | April 21, 2016

Growing trend counters divisive political rhetoric, underscored by movement of communities working to ensure all residents - including new Americans - participate, thrive, and belong.

ATLANTA… As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a landmark case to determine the fate of millions of undocumented Americans and on the heels of the Clinton campaign commitment to establish an Office of Immigrant Affairs, many of the U.S. communities leading the way to create more inclusive communities for all residents, including immigrants and refugees, gathered this week in Atlanta to move the conversation forward.

Local leaders, immigrant experts, and national and federal partners representing 75 of these forward-thinking communities participated in the Welcoming America Interactive on April 19-21 to collaborate innovative ways to welcome and integrate newcomers.

The growing trend of actively welcoming newcomers, counter to divisive rhetoric by some political candidates, shows that immigrant inclusion is thriving at the local level. Welcoming America helps communities to build understanding between host communities and newcomers, so that everyone can participate, thrive, and feel a sense of belonging.

“As American communities continue to grow more diverse, the communities that will thrive in the future are those that celebrate and capitalize on this asset and make sure that all residents can fully participate and thrive,” said David Lubell, founder and executive director of Welcoming America.

Welcoming America’s efforts have been recognized in Germany and Australia, where they are being replicated; delegations from both countries participated in the Welcoming Interactive. Learn more about our international welcoming work.

Key attendees at the Welcoming Interactive included:

  • David Lubell, Founder and Executive Director, Welcoming America
  • Laura Patching, Chief of the Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Dr. Linda Lopez, Chief, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Delegate Sam Rasoul, Eleventh District in Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates
  • Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Michelle Maziar, Director, Welcoming Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Tara Raghuveer, Deputy Director, National Partnership for New Americans

Key tweets from participants:

  • "Integration happens at the local level & it's important 2 build networks between local orgs & the federal gov't." @USCIS #interactive2016
  • "Hate comes out of ignorance. In countering ignorance, we'll be able to build a welcoming America!" [email protected]_Rasoul #Interactive2016
  • "If we look at ppl as a sum of what they don't have then we'll never get to the empowerment lens" @GlobalYMCA #Interactive2016
  • "Democracy is better when everyone participates & everyone is included." #Interactive2016 #NewAmericansInOffice
  • "It's not about drawing lines it's about building bridges." @Isabelwilkerson @WelcomingUSA #Interactive2016
  • "If all human beings could reach their full potential,  what a beautiful planet this would be."- Isabel Wilkerson #Interactive2016

A schedule of keynote addresses and sessions may be found here.

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is leading a movement of inclusive communities across the nation becoming more prosperous by making everyone who lives there feel like they belong. As communities are reshaped by demographic change, there must be an intentional effort to manage that transformation. Our unique focus is helping communities move beyond divisiveness and fragmentation to a coordinated web of policies and programs that ensure that all residents—including immigrants—can fully participate and belong. We partner with more than 100 communities across the United States, we are the nonprofit partner to the White House’s Building Welcoming Communities Campaign, and we are piloting international welcoming efforts in Germany and Australia. Learn how your community can become a more welcoming place:


Deborah Hakes at [email protected]

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