As Congress continues to stall on immigration reform, one city in Ohio is plotting a new course for growth.
The Welcome Dayton Plan to promote the full integration of immigrants continues to garner national attention. Migwe Kimemia, who directs AFSC's Economic and Immigrant Justice Program in Dayton, is a key contributer to the plan's development.
Migwe Kimemia, AFSC Economic Justice Program Director in Dayton, Ohio says that Tom Walhrab will be one of ten individuals honored by the White House on September 19. "Tom was the former Executive Director of the Dayton Human Relations Council that spearheaded the Welcome Dayton Initiative," Migwe says.
The press release from the White House follows:
White House Recognizes Welcoming America Champions of Change
Award showcases city’s planning, partnership with immigrant allies
PHILADELPHIA (July 1, 2013) - The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) congratulates Dayton, OH on its “Outstanding Achievement” award recognizing its Welcome Dayton immigrant friendly city initiative. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities.
Hubert Matumaini sees a problem that needs solving in Dayton, his home of 13 years: the language barrier. He’s already bridging it in certain settings. A leader in Dayton’s Burundian community, he coordinates the public schools’ welcome center, offering classes in English as a second language to new students and their parents.
Now, with entrepreneurship training from AFSC, he is starting a translation business to help African immigrants carry out critical conversations in doctors’ offices, school systems, and courts, where miscommunication could lead to serious damage.
The Burundi team at the soccer games. Back row (left to right): Nsabimana Dieudonne, Nijebariko Damiyano, Hubert Matumaini, Santino M., Pascal Muhiziwintore, Kali N., Yolo K., Roston Kanyembo, Ruben C. Front row: Elias Bizimana, Lumbala Moses, Emmanuel Makamu, Mohamed Ahmed, Paul Ngendakuriyo, Paul M.
Dayton, Ohio is making a statement: Ours is a city where everyone can contribute. Its 2011 Welcome Dayton resolution to be an immigrant-friendly city takes a positive, economically driven approach to integrating immigrants into the community as part of the city’s recovery.
But the resolution did more than make space for immigrant friendly policies; it is also building community among neighbors in a place that suffers from racial segregation and alienation.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
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