This morning at 9:00 a.m., Detroit City Council Members Raquel Castañeda-López and André Spivey will launch the Detroit Immigration Task Force. As its first action, the Task Force will announce the City of Detroit is joining the national “Welcoming Cities & Counties” initiative coordinated by Welcoming America. The Detroit City Council unanimously passed a resolution affirming that the City of Detroit is a welcoming community that respects the innate dignity and honors the migration history of all residents.
The resolution states: “The Welcoming Detroit initiative aims to build cooperation, respect, and compassion among all in our city, including immigrants and non-immigrants alike.” Comprised of immigrant community leaders, non-profit service providers, and immigration experts, the Task Force has been working since January 2014 to draft a comprehensive citywide plan to help Detroit become a diverse, inclusive and global city.
With this announcement, Detroit becomes the 41st Welcoming City in the country, joining the ranks of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Detroit is the fifth Michigan locality in the program, following Macomb County, Sterling Heights, Hamtramck, and East Lansing. Members of this forward-thinking cohort are looking at how to create immigrant-friendly environments that maximize opportunities for economic growth and position communities as globally competitive, 21st century leaders.
Detroit recognizes that a welcoming atmosphere is critical to economic success and immigrant contributions enhance the cultural fabric and overall prosperity for all residents.
“Detroit’s immigrants historically played a key role in making the city one of the greatest in the world and immigrants continue to play a key role in supporting the city through this difficult transition,” said Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López. “It is important to do what we can within local government to support current and future immigrants to foster the growth of a diverse, inclusive, global Detroit.”
Following the press conference, city leaders will join elected officials and community leaders from across the state to share best practices at the first ever Welcoming Michigan Convening. Welcoming Michigan is an immigrant integration initiative of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and a partner of the Detroit Immigration Task Force.
“We applaud the elected leaders and residents of Detroit for recognizing that the city’s global diversity benefits all community members,” said Welcoming Michigan Coordinator Christine Sauvé. “We look forward to partnering with the City of Detroit in their efforts to ensure a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers and encourage neighbors to reach out and get to know each other.”
The announcement will be made during National Welcoming Week, a nationwide event to bring together immigrants and U.S.-born community members in a spirit of unity. Welcoming Michigan, the local affiliate of Welcoming America, has put together a list of activities for the month of September, with plenty of ways to get involved, meet immigrant neighbors and learn more about immigration and the diverse ethnic communities in Michigan: http://bit.ly/1nNBqvu.