PHILADELPHIA, PA — Welcoming Week is a national initiative that brings together immigrants, refugees, and those born in the United States, celebrating the contributions of neighbors of all backgrounds to build inclusive places and achieve collective prosperity. In Philadelphia, the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) helps organize events and activities across the city.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Welcoming Week 2021 is being held in a hybrid format, where some events will take place in person and others virtually. These activities provide residents with experiences to explore other cultures. This year, the Office of Immigrant Affairs and its partners are curating events that touch on the national theme of “Belonging Begins with Us.”
“As human beings, we all know how it feels to be left out. So, it’s our responsibility to make people feel that they belong. As a Welcoming City, we embrace diversity and open our arms to those who chose to make Philadelphia their home. Immigrants and refugees are a vibrant part of our city, and every day, we recognize their contributions to our city’s prosperity. This year’s theme, belonging begins with us, is more current than ever, and I can tell our immigrant community: you belong here,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
“Belonging Begins With Us” is a national campaign dedicated to fostering a more welcoming nation where everyone feels they belong, regardless of their background or where they were born. This year’s Welcoming Week will be hosted alongside hundreds of events in communities across the country. As a Welcoming City, Philadelphia has shown its commitment to this national cause for over five years by coordinating events and programming.
“The people of Philadelphia encourage welcoming and belonging every single day. This year we’ve seen Philadelphia launch new murals celebrating immigrant women and increasing safety in South Philly. We have also seen the addition of new soccer pitches to our recreation centers and the launch of community libraries in Spanish. We have also seen residents across the city support Caribbean and Latino restaurants, celebrate the African diaspora with a week-long Odunde Festival, and celebrate our first-ever Arab Community Day. In addition, we have served as a point of entry of more than ten thousand Afghan evacuees, and Philadelphia showed the true meaning of the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. Welcoming and belonging is more than just a feeling. It is an action we can all take,” said Amy Eusebio, Executive Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Events scheduled for Welcoming Week 2021 include:
Back-to-school COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and Resource Fair
Saturday, September 11 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Helen G. Sturgis Recreation Center. 200 W. 65th Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19126
This is a second-dose vaccine clinic and a resource fair for families and students. The free event will feature giveaways (including cash prizes and backpacks filled with school supplies), a Unity Cup pop-up soccer clinic, and more. Register to attend.
Welcoming Schools Resolution Virtual Community Conversations
September 13, 14, and 15.
In honor of Welcoming Week 2021, the School District of Philadelphia will be hosting Community Conversations around the Welcoming Sanctuary Schools Resolution. Learn about the resolution, understand the District’s goals, and share what you would like to see in this plan going forward. More information can be found here. Multiple sessions in different languages.
Virtual Roundtable: What is Universal Representation?
Monday, September 13 | 5 – 6:30 p.m.
Join government leaders, immigrant advocates, and community members for a virtual roundtable. Speakers will discuss the Universal Representation model that provides legal services to people facing immigration detention or deportation. Registration is not required. Join the Universal Representation Roundtable here or on Facebook Live.
Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers
Friday, September 17 | 7 – 8 p.m.
Crane Community Center. 1001 Vine St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
Celebrate the work of the late artist Chen Lok Lee at the opening reception for this posthumous art exhibit. The exhibit will be on display through the end of 2021. Due to COVID-19, masks and registration are required. Register to attend.
Housing Our Refugee Neighbors: A Virtual Workshop
Wednesday, September 22 | 12 – 1 p.m.
Our region expects to resettle nearly four times as many refugees next year as we did last year. This virtual event will teach landlords and property owners how they can provide affordable, sustainable, and inclusive housing to refugees. Register to attend this online event.
To view a full list of events, visit the Welcoming Week event spotlight page at phila.gov/spotlight/welcoming-week-2021.
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