Be Truly Welcoming
As we wrap up Welcoming Week (Sept. 15 -24) at the James J. Hill Center we wanted to share some of the great tools and resources we used to work towards being more inclusive, welcoming and open to all communities.
The Hill is proud to be an active member of Welcoming America. Launched in 2009, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States. Their award-winning social entrepreneurship model is beginning to scale globally. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, Welcoming America supports the many diverse communities and partners who are leading efforts to make their communities more vibrant places for all.
As communities change and grow, we all need to work together to ensure that all members of our communities, both new and old, feel welcome and included. Tools to support this idea can be so helpful. Welcoming America has provided those tools and resources. They connect leaders, community, government and nonprofit sectors so they can work together to provide a network of support and communication. These connections help bring great institutions and people together to make things happen.
During welcoming week the Hill leveraged new relationships to pull together a string of great institutions: The International Institute of Minnesota, Saint Paul College, Grow MN, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Neighborhood Development Center and many more. Through small dinners, large panel discussions and short presentations we discussed important and relevant topics such as diversity in our entrepreneurial community, the new American workforce and the needs of minority-owned businesses. These conversations were enlightening and informative, but did show how many more steps we need to take to continue to build and grow and truly be a welcoming Minnesota.
To do this we must all get involved, join the conversation and remain open. Here are some great tips that we have learned and initiated here at the Hill since joining Welcoming America.
First understand your local context:
1) Look at local economic priorities and immigrant assets
2) Look at the data that tells your local immigrant story
3) Engage in existing programs and partners
4) Talk with immigrant entrepreneurs
A great first step to try each of those four items is to join us at the James J. Hill Center. You can either review data through our free databases, engage in one of our topical presentations or panels or join one of our networking sessions.
Here are four things you can do on your own to support our local immigrant entrepreneurs:
1) Be a champion
2) Be a connector
3) Fill in the gaps
4) Make it your own
These steps will help us all grow and will ensure that our community and economy continues to prosper, grow and succeed. Visit the Hill or go to Welcomingamerican.org to find out more about how you can help your community become more inviting for all.