Philadelphia International Block Party | Welcoming America

Philadelphia International Block Party

On Saturday, September 23, 2017, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in partnership with the Office of the City Representative, Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Office of City Representative and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will host the Philadelphia International Unity Cup Block Party.

In virtually every country around the globe, soccer is the dominant sport.  For that reason, soccer serves as an international language that can bridge different nations. Similarly, here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, soccer is a way to find common ground and unify Philadelphians that hail from near and far.

The Philadelphia International Unity Cup (“Unity Cup”) is a World Cup-style soccer tournament held over several months.  It is capped off with a championship game on November 11, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Unity Cup brings together the city’s many neighborhoods to celebrate its diverse immigrant communities through the common ground of soccer.  Whereas the inaugural Unity Cup in 2016 hosted 32 teams representing 32 countries throughout the world; in 2017, 47 countries and one refugee team will participate in the tournament. This growth in popularity attests to the Unity Cup’s widespread appeal and importance. It is also a testament to Philadelphia’s status as a welcoming city.

The Philadelphia International Block Party, a feature event of the 2017 Philadelphia Welcoming Week, kicks off the city-wide soccer tournament.  The Block Party welcomes players, coaches, and the communities they represent to a space that many groups have historically called home. The block party will be held in the heart of South Philadelphia, a neighborhood known for being diverse and welcoming to immigrants. These communities range from Irish and Italian families who settled in Philadelphia in the early 20th century to more recent immigrants from Latin America and Asia.

From mouth-watering immigrant owned food trucks, cultural dance performances, representing different countries and multicultural craft vendors, this block party will continue to connect residents by showcasing our immigrant communities’ contributions to Philadelphia. This opportunity for cultural exchange also serves to bridge racial, ethnic, and geographic divisions that are not traversed every day. Indeed, the unique match between Mexico and Ireland represent the Unity Cup’s capacity to generate unite interactions across different groups. The Philadelphia International Block Party and soccer matches are free and open to the public.

With Philadelphia’s Welcoming Week theme of “Welcoming Immigrants and Connecting Communities,” the Unity Cup Block Party celebrates the positive contributions immigrant communities have made in our international city.  It not only shows immigrant communities that they are welcome in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, but also builds a common ground with the city’s longtime residents.   As Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated, "When you bring people together around one commonality, it's the foundation for an important cultural exchange and understanding that increases tolerance across the city."

As such, we are immensely proud of the Unity Cup Block Party and are thrilled to continue including it as one of our award-winning Welcoming Week Festivities.  This event is unique to Philadelphia and we hope that you will help us feature it more broadly so that other cities can follow.  

Thank you for considering our submission.

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