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Welcome Our Immigrant Neighbors

Rachel Steinhardt

September 22, 2013

People across the country are celebrating National Welcoming Week and you can, too!

During the week of September 15-22, get involved in a local event, and tell us why you value living in a welcoming community.
@WelcomingUSA #welcomingweek



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  • Sovanna Pouv

    I currently live in Lowell, MA and have been the last 25 years. This community is considered a "gateway city" that has funds and programs to help incoming refugees start a life here in the states. Being a first generation Cambodian refugee, I know what it's like to start fresh and am proud to have met some of the more recent neighbors, the Burmese.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This is great! I'm going to include this in Push for Good, our roundup of crowdsourcing creative progress. I'm wondering what you think is the best way to approach neighbors? We have some ideas here: We organized a holiday called Neighborday, and got people to celebrate their neighbors by organizing get-togethers. The response was great:

    • Rachel Steinhardt

      Thank you, really appreciate that! And I absolutely love your holiday and the energy and ideas that seem to have come out of it - are you planning to do it again this year?

      Sometimes it's easier to welcome people if you're already in a setting with them - like a school, a place of worship, a workplace. We have a ton of different actions that people can take in these settings here: And all of the events that are part of Welcoming Week ( are all about getting people from immigrant and US born backgrounds to meet each other.

      I'd say that your idea - creating a challenge that encourages people - is probably the best way, but that whenever you can introduce food, breaking bread creates the best connection!

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        I love how you pose specific challenges for the community on the site. I wonder if you have any specific stories of people getting together through the site?

        • Rachel Steinhardt

          We do hear great stories - like this one from a group in Oklahoma, who organized a film screening that brought new neighbors together. They said, "We had over 60 people - of all ages, races, nationalities, and faith backgrounds - attend. After the screening we hosted small group discussions on how to make our town more welcoming. The feedback was fantastic! People were grateful for an opportunity to discuss these issues with other people in their community, and we were so inspired by their commitment to justice and inclusion"

          In general, though, we've found that the site works best for educating and inspiring people, but that most of the connecting happens later when people are on their own, or through one of our local partners.