Welcoming Michigan is a statewide immigrant inclusion initiative of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center that launched on May 7, 2012. Through this program we partner with community-based organizations, local governments, individuals and institutions across the state that are interested in making local communities more welcoming for immigrants, refugees, and all residents. We provide technical assistance and collaborate on projects to create more inclusive policies or foster more positive relationships between residents.
Working with a constellation of amazing community partners, we host events to help U.S.-born and foreign-born Michiganders get to know each other and develop mutual respect and understanding. Over the years we have partnered on projects across the state, including in Kalamazoo and Van Buren County. Here is a snapshot of recent efforts in southeast Michigan:
Engage neighbors across Detroit through the “Detroit Our City” initiative in partnership with the Detroit City Council Immigration Task Force and Detroit Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
Host the annual “Breakfast of Nations” event with partners in Macomb County, including Executive Mark Hackel’s One Macomb initiative
Host an annual Welcoming Michigan Statewide Convening to build a community of practice around operationalizing welcoming, equity, and belonging. (Note: We’re taking this year off to support MIRC as a co-host of the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Detroit. We hope to see you there!)
We partner with community organizations and institutions to help them create more inclusive environments, policies, and practices to help newcomers feel welcome and fully a part of the community. This includes supporting municipalities that have committed to institutionalizing policies and practices to advance immigrant inclusion. We are proud to say that Michigan is now home to 21 Welcoming Cities and Counties, the most of any state in the country!
In 2012, Welcoming Michigan started as one of 14 original affiliate members of Welcoming America. Welcoming America’s network has grown to include over 100 non-profit and municipal members. Over the years we have partnered with Welcoming America on a number of resource guides to assist communities in their welcoming efforts:
America Needs All of Us: A Toolkit for Talking About Bias, Race, and Change
Neighbors Together: Promising Practices to Strengthen Relationships with Refugees and Muslims
Since launching in 2012, we've held 353 events and reached 19,371 people! Over the years we’ve shared countless laughs and meals with partners and residents, formed incredible friendships, and had some memorable moments. We’ve faced intense anti-immigrant backlash and went to the White House when our staff member was recognized as a Champion of Change. We thank you for being a part of our efforts to make Michigan a more welcoming state and look forward to the next seven years!
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