City News

Posted on: September 7, 2017

Portland Joins Welcoming America & Hundreds of Communities to Celebrate Welcoming Week

Portland Welcomes You

The City of Portland will celebrate Welcoming Week by hosting a series of interactive events beginning September 15 to recognize immigrant contributions to our community.


The City is proud to be a part of Welcoming Week, which is demonstrating that in places large and small, rural and urban, people of all backgrounds are coming together to create stronger, more prosperous communities. It is a time to celebrate the values that unite us as neighbors, parents, and colleagues, and to make our towns more welcoming to newcomers and to everyone who calls our community home. 


As part of Welcoming Week, the City is offering programs for its staff, including a multicultural potluck, during which City staff are invited to prepare and share a culturally-significant meal; and In Their Shoes Refugee Training, an interactive simulation (provided by Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services) designed to help participants walk in the shoes of a refugee and come to understand the tough decisions faced by someone fleeing for safety.


Please Join Us at These Activities Open to the Public: 

  • Map of the World, September 7- 22, 2017: please visit us at the City Hall Rotunda to mark your or your family’s country of origin on our large map of the world.
  • Naturalization ceremony, September 15th at 10 AM, City Hall Council Chamber: please join us at this moving ceremony during which individuals take the Oath of Allegiance, completing the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • USCIS Informational Sessions [9/18 at the YMCA 1:30 -3:00pm; 9/19 at the Portland Public Library 1:30-3:30 pm; 9/20 1:30-3:00 pm Portland Public Schools Central Office]: USCIS information booths will be set up at the Portland Public Library, Portland Adult Education, and Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center to assist constituents with general questions and to answer unique questions about the statuses of their own processes/application.


“As the City's Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, my work is focused on creating and supporting professional HR practices that will help us increasingly diversify the City's workforce so that it better reflects the city's population,” said Mandy Levine. “The City appreciates the tremendous contributions that all employees can bring to work, whether a newcomer to the United States or a fourth generation Mainer, and recognizes that increasing our staff's diversity sparks a more creative, innovative, and engaged workforce.”


“Welcoming Week is an exciting opportunity to celebrate, among others around the country, that Portland is a global city; a city of neighbors where all individuals, from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities and countries of origins are welcome, celebrated and valued,” said Julia Trujillo Luengo, Director of the City’s Office of Economic Opportunity. “As our city becomes more diverse, it also becomes more vibrant. During Welcoming Week, the Office of Economic Opportunity is leading several initiatives to promote mutual understanding and collaboration between our native born and foreign-born populations. Please join us to learn of one another during this exciting celebration!”    


“These celebrations are part of a powerful and growing movement in our country and around the world,” said David Lubell, founder and executive director of Welcoming America. “Communities recognize that they are more vibrant and prosperous when everyone feels welcomed and can fully participate. In events across the world this week, new and longtime residents are building bridges and make their communities stronger.” 


Questions about Portland’s Welcoming Week activities? Please contact Julia Trujillo Luengo, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (jtrujillo@portlandmaine.gov) or Mandy Levine, Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Specialist (alevine@portlandmaine.gov).  


ABOUT WELCOMING WEEK 

Welcoming Week is an annual celebration bringing together thousands of people and hundreds of local events that celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees and the role communities play to foster greater welcome. Welcoming Week is Sept. 15-24 across the country and now expanding to other parts of the world. 

Welcoming America is leading a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by making everyone who lives there know they belong. Welcoming America believes that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of both our communities and our shared future. www.welcomingamerica.org.

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