2.05.2017

Can We Be a Welcoming Center


Obviously President Trump's recent actions towards immigrants from certain Muslim countries have engendered an incredible amount of backlash.  In my opinion, the optics on this are terrible, and the general sentiment behind it wrong-headed.  But the devil is always in the details, and there is still a lot of game left to play in terms of what's the right thing to do, so I for one am keeping an eye out and keeping a cool head.

What is, in my mind, unassailable, is that in general an inclusive posture towards immigrants is a good thing.  Recent news have properly conflated issues of geopolitics, national defense, and local labor markets, which make weighing in on specific policy actions complicated, as they should be.  Hence, I'm leery when people throw down the gauntlet about something being absolutely right or absolutely wrong when there's so much in play beyond the simplistic conclusions we are desperate to draw.

Nevertheless, distilled down from those larger and hairier matters is a general hope in my heart that we can be welcoming to those from other countries, who may look different from us and practice different faith and culture traditions, but who desire to be as American as we are.  Not that that is easy to actually to do.  But it shouldn't be controversial to know it's the right thing to try. 

I am a proud member of the board of directors of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, which connects newly arrived individuals from around the world with the economic opportunities that they need to succeed in our region.  As you can imagine, current events have caused folks to wonder how they can help, and many are looking to the Welcoming Center as a voice for advocacy and a place to invest.  (Stay tuned in this space for info on our upcoming fundraiser!)

Our executive director, Peter Gonzales, has written a really good piece on 10 ways you can be welcoming to immigrants.  I encourage you to read it, and more so to take action.  We are all better, and the region is better, when we are welcoming to immigrants, and it takes all of us to do that.
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