When all of us belong, all of us can thrive.
Most Americans live in communities that look different today than in the past. Our neighbors and our children’s classmates come from across the globe; in fact, one in four kids in America today hails from an immigrant family. But whether we were born here or elsewhere, we all want the same things, including to raise our families in a safe community and to feel like we belong.
And let’s face it - change can be hard. Adjusting to a new life in an unfamiliar place can be challenging for immigrant families - and also an adjustment for families who’ve lived in the community all their lives. That’s made even more difficult by our political climate, which is creating an environment in which children are being bullied and moms attacked just because of where they come from or what they look like.
America can do better, and moms can lead the way.
We at Welcoming America believe it's important to reaffirm the values that make our communities places for everyone to belong and thrive.
You can make a difference by creating a welcoming climate in your neighborhood or community at large. Here are five local event ideas to help you celebrate Welcoming Week, a time to lift up the values that unite us as parents, neighbors, and colleagues, and to make our towns more welcoming to everyone who calls their community home. Welcoming America can help you plan; our event host guide has tips, checklists, and more.
Join us to celebrate inclusion and welcoming for everyone during Welcoming Week this Sept. 15-24. Start planning your event today. Thank you!
1. Simply say “hi" to an immigrant or refugee mom and share your story of building a bridge with a #WelcomingWeek.
2. Host a dinner in your home. Food unites people across culture, age, and religion. Host a dinner to welcome new neighbors, introduce friends and family to one another, and unite over shared values. Encourage everyone to bring a dish to share!
3. Organize a neighborhood block party. Political signage and opinions may vary widely on your street, but when people actually meet each other, they often find many things they have in common. Organize a neighborhood block party to encourage conversation and bridging of divides. Ice cream is optional but open minds are required.
4. Talk to your child's teacher about creating a welcoming classroom. One of the first places that refugee and immigrant families have the opportunity connect with others is in schools. Ensuring refugee and immigrant students and their families feel welcome and accepted in their school environments is not only foundational for their academic success, but their longer-term economic and social success, as well. When we have welcoming schools, our children succeed and our communities thrive. Here are some great sample lesson plans, resources, and ideas.
5. Lift up diverse businesses. Immigrants play a vital role in revitalizing many communities by launching restaurants, physician offices, real-estate agencies, grocery stores, and much, more more. Consider supporting locally-owned immigrant-owned businesses for your various needs. Immigrant-owned businesses employ one out of every 10 workers in the United States. Immigrants also make up 28 percent of “main street” business owners and in some metropolitan areas.