Welcoming Michigan is an affiliate of the national, grassroots-driven collaborative, Welcoming America. This new and innovative initiative is working to create a welcoming atmosphere in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. Welcoming Michigan utilizes a new approach to immigrant integration, which focuses on addressing the fears and concerns that U.S.-born Americans often associate with rapid local immigrant growth. Welcoming America’s theory of change is based on the idea that just as fertile soil is needed for a seed to grow; receptive communities are needed for immigrants to thrive. As past efforts have focused uniquely on the seed, the Welcoming approach targets the soil – reducing anxiety in the receiving community through a process of education and facilitated dialogue with new immigrant neighbors – so that receiving communities become the “welcoming communities” needed to help immigrants step out of their comfort zones, and into the broader society.
The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center launched the statewide Welcoming Michigan initiative in the spring of 2011. The launch of Welcoming Michigan coincided with Governor Snyder's initiative, Global Michigan, which aims at retaining and attracting immigrants to the state in a concerted effort to turn Michigan's economy around. MIRC and Welcoming Michigan are serving as advisory board members for this initiative, which is coordinated by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
To learn more about Welcoming Michigan, please visit WelcomingMichigan.org.