Philadelphia Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month

ImmigrantImage by Capri23auto
The City of Philadelphia to highlight and celebrate the vital role immigrants play in creating a better city for all its residents

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Every June, Philadelphia joins cities and states across the country to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month (IHM), now in its eighth year as a national effort and the fifth in Philadelphia. IHM is an opportunity to highlight the important role of immigration in the United States, and to recognize the many contributions immigrants have made to our country. Additionally, the Office of Immigrant Affairs has added Immigrant Business Week (IBW) to Immigrant Heritage Month. IBW introduces immigrant business owners to resources and programming that will help them thrive. Immigrant Business Week programming runs from June 14 to June 18.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities. Black, brown, and other people of color have faced the highest infection, hospitalization, and death rates and continue to struggle financially due to the pandemic’s economic impacts. But, at the same time, millions of individuals with immigrant backgrounds in the country worked tirelessly to keep their communities safe. Therefore, their role is crucial in the recovery process from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

“We have witnessed how our local immigrant leaders and organizations have stood up and shown up—not just for their own communities but also for the greater Philadelphia region. This June, we celebrate community, family, food, and love, and lift up the stories of how our residents and leaders have demonstrated resilience in the midst of great grief and loss,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We have seen the ways that immigrants have continued to serve and give back to our city and this country, regardless of their immigration status. Our administration will continue to invest in language access and legal services to support Philadelphia residents that speak different languages and need help navigating the immigration system so they can stay together with their families and within our communities.”

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In 2021, the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) is partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia to provide the immigrant business community with the tools and information to create a business plan, research their industry, and get started with financials. They are also partnering with The Welcoming Center to teach employers how to build a more inclusive workplace for immigrants.  OIA is partnering with Philly Counts to spread the word about vaccination among immigrant and Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities and provide information about City’s services and initiatives such as PHL City ID and Philly311.

“Sometimes, it is hard to celebrate amidst so much loss and grieving. However, 15 months since the local stay-at-home order, the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the City of Philadelphia have witnessed incredible resilience and pivoting by our local residents. For that, we choose to celebrate. In 2021, the City chooses to recommit to our values and our commitment to the community. This administration has always stood with Philadelphia’s local immigrant communities, and we will continue to stand with our local communities into the future in big and small ways.  We see you and celebrate you,” said Amy Eusebio, Executive Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs.

As part of the 2021 Immigrant Heritage Month program, OIA is honoring Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, the official Spanish language interpreter for the City of Philadelphia. Ezquerra Hasbun, a trained linguistics professional since 1999, has been providing simultaneous Spanish interpretation during the City’s COVID-19 press briefings since March 2020.

In Philadelphia, Immigrant Heritage Month provides an opportunity to explore and celebrate our shared diversity. Local organizations will offer events and activities to showcase this diversity throughout the month and celebrate all residents, including foreign-born Philadelphians. Digital and in-person events scheduled for Immigrant Heritage Month 2021 include:

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Immigrant Heritage Month Kick-Off
June 2, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. to noon
City Hall. 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19107

The opening ceremony and press conference will be held in partnership with the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and WXPN.

This event will feature cultural performances by Palante, a Latino dance company, and URIOL(우리얼), a traditional Korean percussion ensemble.  The Immigrant Heritage Month Kick-Off opening ceremony will be broadcasted live on Facebook.

NCAHM Official Kick-Off – Caribbean Community in Philadelphia
June 5, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. to noon.
Virtual

The Caribbean Community in Philadelphia will host its kick-off event to promote National Caribbean American Heritage Month and Immigrant Heritage Month. The ceremony will be broadcasted live on Facebook.

Philippine Flag Raising
June 12, 12:00 pm- 1:00 pm
Philadelphia City Hall, 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

To commemorate the 123rd Philippine Independence Week, the Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia will be raising their country’s flag.

Tenth Annual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) 
May 30- June 6, 2021 
Virtual

The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival will screen local and international films online from May 30 to June 6. More information about the films is available on the PHLAFF website.

Business Plan Toolkit series
June 2021 – Virtual 

In this three-part series, members of the public can learn how to use free library resources to research your business plan.

  • June 16: Elements of a business plan, business plan resources and examples, and industry codes.
  • June 23: Researching your industry and identifying competitors.
  • June 30: Using demographics to identify your target audience, getting started with financials, and finding free or low-cost assistance.

Register for these online events here.

Engaging Immigrant Talent Toolkit Launch
June 17, 2021 | 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm 
Virtual

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Join The Welcoming Center for the virtual launch of the Engaging Immigrant Talent Toolkit on Thursday, June 17 at 1 pm. The toolkit will share tips and tools on how to hire, retain, and promote immigrant talent.  Register here.

Free Film Screening of Nou La: The Haitian Diaspora in Philly
June 23, 2021, | 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Virtual

XPN’s Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans presents a free virtual screening of its film series Nou La showcasing the Haitian Diaspora in Philly. Following the stories of several Philadelphia-based Haitian American artists, culinarians and cultural workers, Nou La vividly illustrates how the culture of Haiti thrives through their crafts and lives.

This event is free to the public and can be accessed via Zoom in both English and Haitian Creole. Register for this online event here.

Vaxx Up Philly! Philly Counts & PDPH pop-up clinic and resource fair
Saturday, June 26, 2021 | 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Olney Shopping Center. 101 E Olney Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19120

Residents can get their COVID-19 vaccine at this walk-up clinic. Individuals can also get their PHL City ID and learn more about Philly311. Multilingual interpreters, volunteers, and staff will be on site.

To view a full list of events, visit the 2021 Immigrant Heritage Month event spotlight page on phila.gov.

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