Category: Welcoming Week

A Welcoming Week reflection: How can we create a culture of knowing?

| October 31, 2016

Central to Welcoming America’s work is the idea that communities can only thrive when all are valued. We just wrapped up a successful Welcoming Week, with more than 350 events across the country where people came together to celebrate the contributions of all residents, including new Americans. We hope that many new connections were made, as people got to know their neighbors and learn more about their stories and what they have in common.  

This Welcoming Week, we also were grateful for the partnership of YMCA of the USA, which shares a vision with us of building more inclusive communities where new Americans and long-term residents can all thrive.

We welcome a guest blog from Andrea Champagne of the YMCA of Greater Providence, which reflects on the need to move from simply seeing our new neighbors to knowing them, and why it’s so critically important to take that step:

I just finished a Zumba class at our YMCA. The instructor is a Moroccan-born Muslim woman in full hijab. Next to me was a 60 year old African American woman; in front of her a Latino gentleman. An Asian grandmother turns around and yells, “Let’s keep it moving everybody!” Whoops and cheers erupt from the class. “How wonderful,” one would think,” all walks of life coming together!”

Recently I overheard two young boys, about 11 years old, talking with my desk staff about an issue they were having down in the pool. I had just recently taken one of the boys on a tour with his family. They had moved to our city from Iraq. The other boy had also just joined with his family. I remember being so impressed, and also a little sad, at the way he translated everything for his mother.

I came out of my office and asked the boys what was up. They told me there was another boy their age in the pool who had accused them of belonging to ISIS. This boy said he was going to join the military and go to Iraq and blow it up. I asked the boys if they would feel comfortable pointing this boy out to me and they said sure. When we arrived on the pool deck, the lifeguard was already talking to the boy about the incident. We talked about our core values and how important it was that everyone demonstrates them. We talked about safe spaces and how critical it was that the Y be one of them. He said he understood. The boys said they still wanted to swim. I cried the whole way home.

As I reflect on the incident, one thing continues to resonate with me. When I was walking down stairs with the boys, one of them told me about the boy in the pool. “He knows me because when I first came here a few years ago he was in my class.” He knows me. I didn’t connect it at first. He knows him like I know the people in my Zumba class. He doesn’t know him at all. He just sees him. Our Y is an amazingly diverse population of people, but how can we create a culture of knowing and not just seeing?

By Andrea Champagne, Senior Director, YMCA of Greater Providence

Share with us on Twitter your answer to this question: How can we create a culture of knowing and not just seeing?

 

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The Birthplace of Welcoming

| September 26, 2016

As we finish celebrating Welcoming Week in hundreds of communities across the United States, let's go back to where the welcoming movement began - Nashville - and watch how the city transformed itself from fear of immigrant newcomers to a place that actively welcomes them, and is thriving because of it. 

At a time when over 65 million refugees are looking for a place to call home, communities around the world can learn from and be inspired by Nashville’s story.

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After Orlando: Managing Fear and Welcoming Diversity

| September 23, 2016

On June 12, 2016, Orlando witnessed the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, the deadliest incidence of violence against the LGBTQ community in US history, and the deadliest terror attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. The shooting took place at Pulse nightclub, a popular gay bar that was hosting Latin night.

As part of Welcoming Week, The University of Florida Center for Global Islamic Studies and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service hosted a panel discussion on Sept. 13 to discuss the Orlando shooting and give community members a chance to ask questions in an effort to process the complexity of this tragedy.

The panel included Rasha Mubarak from the Council for American Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR Florida), Terry Fleming from the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, and Zoharah Simmons, UF Professor in the Department of Religion. The panel was meant to bring together those of diverse backgrounds that were affected by the shooting in different ways and who continue to face discrimination based on their faith, sexual orientation, ethnicity and/or race.

Their discussion is summarized below, and offers advice for any community to overcome fear of the other and welcome diversity.

Watch the event

Fear is not the answer

Xenophobic sentiments have been increasing in communities across the United States over the past months and the fact that the perpetrator of the Orlando shooting was a Muslim of Afghan descent produced a new wave across Florida, especially targeted at the Muslim community - children were bullied in school because of their background, a mosque was set on fire, and some tried to pit LGBT, Latino, and Muslim communities against one another.

Ms. Mubarak from CAIR Florida shared her very personal experience of watching Muslim friends and neighbors be too scared to leave their houses in the days after the shooting and attendees of mosques feeling even more targeted than before. Simultaneously, residents across Florida expressed fear of Muslim community members and Muslim refugees being resettled in the state.

Panelists emphasized that this fear on either side cannot be the answer. Ms. Mubarak said she and a group of other Muslim women made sure to go to the scene of the shooting and distribute water bottles and help the victims and their families to show that community support knows no boundaries defined by faith, race, or sexual orientation.

Fear will divide us even further and create mistrust, which ultimately prohibits us from creating inclusive, functioning communities.

We can do more than tolerate each other

Panelists also made the point that tolerance of one another should not be the way to move forward. Tolerance is too passive, unengaged, and ineffective in the process of building communities. We need to accept that we may come from different religious and cultural backgrounds, our sexual orientations may differ, and we do not need to agree on everything or expect people to share our ways of life.

While tolerance is a passive approach, acceptance actively calls for individuals to get to know their neighbor, to leave their comfort zone, and learn about different ways of life, cultures, and faiths. Acceptance is not always easy, but it is absolutely crucial and truly rewarding.

Managing fear and welcoming diversity

Panelists also provided practical advice and steps to move forward from a community tragedy, manage our own fear and the fear of others, and celebrate the diversity of our communities.

Five ways to manage fear

  • Come together as one in the face of crisis and tragedy
  • Provide more balanced media coverage and hold news outlets accountable
  • Understand that fear after an event like a mass shooting is a perfectly normal response but that it should not be directed toward a group of people
  • Recognize that one person can never represent a whole community of people and we should stop generalizing
  • Stop “othering” people and focus on similarities between people rather than differences

Five ways to welcome diversity

  • Seek dialogue with others to learn about their faith, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.
  • Educate institutions like law enforcement, schools, and healthcare providers on the different groups in your community and their specific needs and challenges
  • Invite others to your events to let them see what your community is about first-hand
  • Call out xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric and stand up for others
  • Bring together marginalized groups to create larger, stronger communities

More resources for building welcome

Stand Together: A toolkit for advocates, service providers, and supporters to address the backlash toward refugees and Muslim Americans, and to help you proactively engage with community leaders and neighbors.

Neighbors Together: A collection of promising practices to counter anti-refugee and anti-Muslim backlash and work towards a positive vision for our communities that demonstrate how: building meaningful contact between diverse populations; positive communications strategies; and engaging civic and community leaders can help create a climate in which all people can thrive.

Guest blog by Paula Roetscher, Welcoming Gainesville

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Add your Welcoming Week event for a chance to win free photoshoot!

| August 26, 2016

Will you help us reach 500 events scheduled for Welcoming Week? Add your local event to our Welcoming Week map (potluck, festival, soccer game, etc) by 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 1, and then share your event post on Welcoming America’s Facebook page using #WelcomingWeek, for a chance to win a free photo shoot at your Welcoming Week event! In the Facebook post, explain why your event will inspire others through a photo shoot.

If you’ve already added your Welcoming Week event to our map - thank you! You can still enter the contest by sharing your event post on our Facebook page, telling us why your event will inspire other through a photo shoot and using #WelcomingWeek.

Our communities are strengthened and enriched by the contributions of all residents, including immigrants and refugees. Let’s show the world the this is who we are as a nation.

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 1, to be considered for this contest. The winner will be selected from those who have shared their event on our Facebook page during the contest.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on our Facebook page, and Welcoming America will contact the winner in advance of the public announcement.

The Prize

Welcoming America will hire a photographer in the winner’s local community for up to four (4) hours during the winner’s Welcoming Week event. Welcoming America will draft a contract with the photographer and pay all associated photographer fees up to $1,200. Welcoming America will retain full rights to the photographs taken and will share these rights with contest winner.

Official Rules

All participants, by virtue of their entry, agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions.

Sponsors. This contest is brought to you by Welcoming America. Contest sponsor can be reached by mail at: Welcoming America, P. O. Box 2554, Decatur, GA 30031.

Eligible Participants. Participants must be a U.S. resident of at least 13 years of age or older to enter. Welcoming America staff and their immediate families or persons living in their households are not eligible to enter or win.

How to Enter. Participants will be entered into the contest when they share their Welcoming Week event post to Welcoming America’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WelcomingAmerica, sharing why their event would inspire people through a photoshoot and using #WelcomingWeek as specified above. Contest begins on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, at 12 p.m. EDT and ends on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, at 5 p.m. EDT. All entries must be shared on Facebook by 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 1, 2016, to be considered for the contest. Events must be submitted to our website at least 24 hours ahead of the contest deadline; you will receive a notification when your event has been published.

The winner will be notified on their Facebook post to the Welcoming America Facebook page by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, and then contacted by Welcoming America to set up the photo shoot at their Welcoming Week event. Welcoming America is not responsible for malfunctions or errors in submitting content via Facebook.

Revocation of prize. If a winner is not able to claim his or her prize within one week of notification,  if the winner fails to provide proper identification, or if an announced winner is determined to be an ineligible participant, then in any such case Welcoming America shall declare the prize forfeited and proceed to choose another winner based on the evaluation criteria from the remaining eligible entries.

Release of Liability. Entrants agree that Welcoming America shall not be responsible or liable for any losses, damages, or injuries of any kind resulting from participation in the contest; any contest-related activity; or from participants’ acceptance, receipt, possession and/or use or misuse of the prize, and have not made any warranty, representation or guarantee express or implied, in fact or in law, with respect to the prize, including, without limitation, to such prize’s quality or fitness for a particular purpose.

Decisions are final. The decisions of Welcoming America concerning any and all matters with respect to this contest shall be final. Welcoming America is not responsible for telecommunications systems and/or other submission failures that might impede a participant’s ability to enter this contest. Lost, late, undelivered, or illegible entries will not be considered for entry.

Reservation of rights. Welcoming America reserves the final judgment on all matters pertaining to this contest including the right to change or modify the rules or prize or to discontinue or extend the contest without prior notice. Should Welcoming America become aware of any hacking, security breaches, or other misconduct, Welcoming America reserves the right to discontinue the contest immediately. In the event Welcoming America chooses to discontinue the contest, the winner may be determined from eligible entries at the time of cessation.

Responsibility for taxes and other costs associated with winning. Winner shall assume any and all responsibility as to federal, state, or local taxes due in connection with the prize. Winner will also assume any and all additional costs in connection with using prizes as awarded.

Applicable law. This contest and corresponding rules are governed by Georgia law, and any dispute or litigation arising from this contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in Dekalb County, Georgia. This contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Participants hold all responsibility to comply with any applicable federal, state, or local laws in connection with their entry.

Publicity. The prize winner grants Welcoming America full and unlimited permission to use the prize winner’s personality, including the prize winner’s name, likenesses, and creative entries for promotion and publicity purposes, including all advertising, promotions, and features without further compensation in perpetuity.

Facebook not affiliated. This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or in any associated with Facebook. Participants fully release Facebook from any liability or claims which might arise from their participation in this contest. Participant understands that all information provided for this contest is provided to Welcoming America and not Facebook.

Miscellaneous. Void where prohibited. No purchase or other valuable consideration necessary to enter or win.

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The YMCA will host 50 Welcoming Week events! Will you partner with us too?

| August 18, 2016

"At the Y, we believe communities are strongest when everyone feels valued, has support to reach their potential and can fully participate in society. The Y has a long history of serving immigrants and receiving communities, and we participate in Welcoming Week because it is a meaningful way to bring people together to celebrate the benefits of welcoming everyone and building bridges for more vibrant, cohesive communities."

- Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA

YMCA of the USA and Welcoming America share a vision of building more inclusive and welcoming communities where new Americans and long-term residents can all thrive. This year, we are excited that the Y - founded in the United States in 1851 and one of the country’s largest nonprofits - will join more than 20 other organizations as an official Welcoming Week partner, and the Y will host more than 50 events across the country.

The Y's cause is to strengthen communities and YMCAs work every day to make sure that everyone - regardless of who they are or where they come from - has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Y's Welcoming Week events will bring people together in a spirit of unity, to celebrate our diversity and the importance of being inclusive for stronger, more cohesive communities.

Partner with Us

Welcoming America invites you to partner with us for Welcoming Week, an annual series of hundreds of local events that celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees and the role communities play to foster greater welcome. Welcoming Week is Sept. 16-25 across the country - and now expanding to other parts of the world. 

There has never been a more important time for immigrant and refugee communities to know that they are valued, and Welcoming Week is a demonstration of how many places and institutions like the Y are joining with us and the welcoming movement to act on that belief. 

Will you to follow the lead of the Y and partner with Welcoming America for Welcoming Week? Your community will be stronger for it. Organizations can serve as local hosts or national partners. Learn more about partnering and check out our other national partners.

Host an Event Find an Event Sponsor Partner

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6 inspiring ideas for your Welcoming Week event

| August 15, 2016

Photo Credit: University of North Florida

We know that you get it: our communities are strengthened and enriched by the contributions of all residents, including immigrants and refugees.

But will you help us show the rest of the world - especially in the midst of divisive political rhetoric - that our communities want to be welcoming to everyone?

You can make a difference by holding a Welcoming Week event in your community, joining hundreds of communities this Sept. 16-25, in a united front to say: We are a welcoming nation.

Each community that participates in Welcoming Week celebrates in its own unique way, from sports to festivals to open houses to naturalization ceremonies.

How will you celebrate Welcoming Week? Here are a few ideas already in the works to inspire your planning:

1. Throw a festival

The Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force is hosting their annual Welcoming Week Festival. The popular festival celebrates the local contributions of refugees and immigrants and builds new relationships among the university, newly arrived refugee families, and longtime residents.

“Events like this provide participants with a localized understanding of the refugee experience and encourage true connections across cultures. Every year, we hear of new friendships formed and gatherings held after the event, so we know that there is an ongoing impact,” said the event host.

2. Host a Twitter Chat

The Levine Museum of the New South is holding a Twitter chat to engage community members in a discussion about how to build a more welcoming community in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Twitter has been a useful tool for them to engage in dialogue on important topics without the commitment of an in-person event. “Twitter has been very useful in amplifying our reach and creating dialogue, it has given us the opportunity to connect and engage with our online audience,” said the event host.

Welcoming America will participate in the live Twitter chat to further amplify the discussion’s reach. We can lift up your event, too – add your event to our map, and let us know if we can help.

3. Organize a naturalization workshop

The Latin American Association of North Carolina is hosting a citizenship workshop in partnership with local county government, and. elected officials will show their solidarity by filling out naturalization applications on behalf of the future U.S. citizens. This unique approach engaging local officials will help new Americans feel welcomed by all levels of their community.

It’s likely that some of the eight million people eligible for U.S. citizenship may live in your community. Hosting a naturalization workshop is a great way to make them feel a welcomed part of your community.

Learn more about their event and explore CLINIC’s workshop toolkit to get started.

4. Create an interactive exhibit

Build understanding through an art exhibit featuring immigrant communities in your city. A great example comes from the YMCA of Greater Louisville: Through their interactive map exhibit and informational posters, they will highlight community members’ countries of origin and cultures to build understanding and welcome their new neighbors.      

“We are doing it in a fun, active, and informative way with activities for immigrant and American-born members of the community of all ages,” said the event host. Read more about their exhibit.

5. Hold a soccer tournament

Through the international language of soccer, you can celebrate diversity and build bridges among all residents of your community. The Charism Center is hosting a Welcoming Week World Cup Tournament to engage a wide variety of community members, including a first responder team and a local semi-pro soccer player. They also will hold a mini soccer camp for those new to the game. Their tournament isn’t only for those who are experienced or are looking to play; they also have included other activities like face painting and food for sale. Read more about the tournament.

6. Screen a film

Show a film, or several, that highlight the stories of groups in your community like this film being shown about the Eritrean exodus. “The film provides detailed insight into the challenges of Eritrean refugees and shares their daily struggles. By revealing their hardships, it is our hope that the community will relate to the plight of a refugee on a basic human level and begin a dialogue for reaching out to these often forgotten groups,” said the event host.

Need more inspiration for your Welcoming Week event? Read through our toolkit where you will find more event ideas, a sample press release, planning tools, and more. You can also check out our event list for inspiration too. Once you’re ready to announce your event, be sure to register it with us.

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Why do you welcome?

| July 25, 2016

 

 

Welcoming isn’t just about the how, it’s also about the why.

In our new video, hear from Welcoming America members and partners about why they believe it is important to welcome newcomers in their communities.

Then share why you think it’s important to welcome everyone in your community by retweeting or sharing on Facebook. Tell us why you welcome, using #WhyIWelcome in your post!

It’s important to welcome because…

"It’s the right thing to do; we need to be on the right side of history."

"We’re all better if we have a community where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and that they belong."

"If we stop welcoming, we’ll stop thriving."

Please join us to celebrate welcoming for everyone during Welcoming Week this Sept. 16-25.

Learn how you can participate in Welcoming Week

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Hillsborough Becomes the First Welcoming County in Florida

| September 17, 2015

Guest post by Janet Blair, Community Liaison, Refugee Services, Florida Department of Children & Families   

Welcoming Tampa--university students and refugee youth

This year’s Welcoming Week event in Tampa Bay will be a celebration on many levels.

We will be celebrating the historic vote by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to officially become a Welcoming County under the umbrella of Welcoming America.

We will also be celebrating a growing partnership between the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force and the University of South Florida.

And most importantly, we will be celebrating the wonderful cultural diversity of our community and the contributions made by newly arriving refugee and immigrant families.

The Tampa celebration Stronger Together: A Cultural Festival will be held on a university campus for the first time and will bring together refugees, students, immigrants, faculty, and others from the community to converse, enjoy cultural performances, and make connections.

The Tampa celebration Stronger Together: A Cultural Festival will be held on a university campus for the first time and will bring together refugees, students, immigrants, faculty, and others from the community to converse, enjoy cultural performances, and make connections.

Welcoming Tampa-USF student and refugee youthRefugees and immigrants will have the opportunity to take campus tours, enjoy student performances, and learn about ongoing campus activities and organizations.

Students, faculty, and community members will have the opportunity to learn Cuban dance, get henna tattoos, take a mock citizenship test, and sign up for volunteer/internship opportunities with refugee/immigrant serving organizations.

All participants will have the opportunity to create Welcome Cards, which will be created in a variety of languages at the festival and placed by resettlement agencies in the homes of newly arriving refugees. Through this, the spirit of Welcoming Week will be felt long after the event is over.

The focus of this event is engagement, and we hope to see its impact continue long after this week of official welcoming is over. We hope to see it on the individual level through relationships developed between diverse individuals and to see it on a systemic level through the mutually beneficial partnerships that strengthen through collaborations on projects such as Welcoming Week.


Janet Blair is currently a Community Liaison for Refugee Services at the Florida Department of Children and Families in the Tampa Bay area. She has held this position since 2009 and has worked with refugee and immigrant populations in a variety of positions since 2001. In her current position, Janet facilitates the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force, which brings together national, state and local organizations with the mission of helping refugees settle, integrate and thrive in our community.  In addition, Janet also serves on several local boards/community groups including the Tampa Bay Refugee Gardens Advisory Board, the Hillsborough Human Rights Council and the Pinellas County Schools ESOL Advisory Board.

 

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Welcoming Week: A Reflection on America’s “Golden Door”

| September 15, 2015

Guest post by Steve Tobocman, Director of Global Detroit

Welcomer_Detroit08As the grandson of Jewish grandparents who fled Poland in the early 20th Century only to have all of their remaining family perish in the Holocaust, I grew up with a strong belief in the United States as the world’s haven for those fleeing persecution, oppression, and tyranny. I remember learning the powerful words of Emma Lazarus that are inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty during my temple’s Sunday School classes:

From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome . . . ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

The gripping pictures of a lifeless Syrian boy — approximately the same age and dress as my own two-year-old son Adiv — on a Turkish shore last week is enough to shock even the busiest American parent. Considering that the UN High Commission on Refugees has now registered over 4 million Syrian refugees and some 2,500 refugees have perished at sea trying to escape the conflict, the humanitarian issues facing the current crisis are truly catastrophic.

This week marks the fourth annual National Welcoming Week, during which communities all across America will celebrate the nation’s welcoming nature and the contributions that immigrants and refugees have made to our communities. The week’s events bring immigrants and refugees together with their neighbors in a spirit of unity.

Given the gripping headlines about the Syrian refugee crisis, this year’s Welcoming Week should provide ample opportunity for Americans to reflect on how our region could play a pivotal role in responding to the crisis and how our response would impact our local communities. This past May, the New York Times ran an editorial entitled “Let Syrians Settle Detroit,” noting that Metro Detroit’s “vibrant and successful” Arab-American community could help make our region more welcoming than others for resettling Syrians. Specifically, the editorial commented that, “From its original Native Americans to the Great Migration of Southern blacks to the infusion of Hispanic and Arab immigrants, Detroit has been a melting pot of religions, ethnicities and cultures.” Welcoming can be the difference maker in successful refugee resettlement and integration.

The reality is that refugee resettlement in communities across the nation would provide specific and tangible economic benefits to the local communities that serve as the new home for suffering families. A recent economic impact study on refugee resettlement efforts in Greater Cleveland concluded that the resettlement of some 4,500 refugees from 2000-2012 in the Cleveland metro area created $48 million in economic activity and 650 jobs in 2012 alone.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has grabbed international headlines and praise for her leadership in pledging to accept as many as 800,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year. In addition to the deep humanitarian significance for Germany to define itself as a safe harbor for refugees, observers have been quick and correct to point out that her actions are motivated also by economic self-interest. With declining birth rates and a rapidly-aging workforce—conditions that plague Detroit, Cleveland, the Midwest, and many American communities—Syrian refugees  represent an opportunity to inject new labor and energy into Germany’s economy. Merkel is planning for Germany’s long-term economic prosperity.

Midwesterners and Americans need to look no farther than the Minneapolis/St. Paul region to realize that serving as a hub for refugee resettlement can strengthen our economy and secure our long-term prosperity. Home to tens of thousands of Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese and other ethnic residents—most of whom can trace refugee resettlement histories as part of their community’s migration story—the Twin Cities possesses one of the fastest-growing economies and highest per capita incomes in the Midwest.

No doubt there are complex geo-political issues that need to be carefully considered in resolving the Syrian, other Middle Eastern, and African refugee crises, but one aspect that should not be in dispute is the local economic benefits to economies like Metro Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Germany. Refugees bring new energy, resourcefulness, and an eagerness to pursue freedom and opportunity. It’s the same recipe that brought my grandparents to Detroit and millions of others’ families to America.

This Welcoming Week let us celebrate those contributions and resolve to welcome the world’s newest “tempest-tost.”


Steve Tobocman spearheads Global Detroit, a regional economic revitalization strategy for the Detroit area focused on immigration. Global Detroit has leveraged more than $7 million in philanthropic and government funding into innovative programs in micro-entrepreneurship, welcoming, international student retention, skilled immigrant integration, integration services, professional connector programs, and a number of other initiatives. Global Detroit has served as the foundation for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Michigan Office for New Americans. 

In addition to leading Global Detroit, Steve has played the leadership role in creating, growing, and launching the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network at Welcoming America. This first-of-its-kind, ten-state regional network of local immigrant economic development initiatives is helping to make the Rust Belt a leader in immigrant innovation.

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Welcoming Week Celebrated During Historic Moment for Europe and US on Migration

| September 10, 2015

As Europe and the US debate migration, communities small and large, rural and urban, are moving full steam ahead to welcome immigrants and expand prosperity during National Welcoming Week September 12th to 20th. Over 200 events in 33 states will honor immigrant contributions, build bridges among diverse local residents, and spur local policy on inclusion.

“Despite the divisive rhetoric of a few, this week is further evidence of the overwhelming desire of our country to be welcoming to New Americans. We are inspired by the growing global movement of welcomers and the continued momentum of civic leaders in the U.S. who recognize that our communities are stronger and more prosperous when they are welcoming,”said Welcoming America Executive Director David Lubell.

The 4th annual National Welcoming Week will include more partners, states, and events across the country than ever before. Over 250 organizations have partnered with Welcoming America this year to host more than 200 events in 33 states.

These events build on welcoming initiatives supported throughout the year by a rapidly growing number of local governments, civic organizations and business groups. For example, 59 local governments have now joined Welcoming America to advance immigrant-friendly policy. Last year, Nashville announced the creation of a Mayor’s Office of New Americans and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the City of Atlanta would implement a comprehensive plan to foster a welcoming environment through the Welcoming Atlanta initiative. Similar plans are now being implemented in places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dayton, Ohio, whose plan was launched several years ago, is now beginning to see tangible economic benefits as a result of its welcoming efforts.

Such efforts have been recognized as a national model by the newly-created White House Taskforce on New Americans, a federal government effort tasked with better integrating immigrants and refugees into American communities and which will provide further support to the burgeoning welcoming communities movement.

Welcoming Week also comes ahead of the Papal visit to the U.S., where the Pope is expected to speak to Congress and the American public about the need to be more welcoming toward immigrants.

From soccer tournaments to business tours and educational events, naturalization ceremonies to cultural displays of art, music, and dance, National Welcoming Week is expected to bring together thousands of people nationally: people who, like the majority of Americans, see immigrants as a source of strength and are embracing their new neighbors, both immigrant and U.S.-born.

Event Highlights

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