Collections are versatile, powerful and simple to create. From a customized course reader to an action-guide for an upcoming service-learning trip, collections illuminate themes, guide inquiry, and provide context for how people around the worls are responding to social challenges.
Michigan, and Detroit in particular, has focused on bringing in immigrants to help the area grow. Several programs are helping migrant business owners succeed in their new home. Hatch Detroit helped Hamissi Mamba, a refugee from Burundi, start his own African-inspired restaurant. Motor City Match supplies funding for businesses, and Global Detroit helps make “Detroit more attractive and welcoming for immigrants.” Together, these groups are succeeding.
In Utica, a city in Upstate New York, the community is welcoming refugees as a tool to revitalize the post industrial economy. One in four residents is a refugee and each is integrated in the local community.
The Transplanting Tradition Community Farm, based outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has given ethnic Karen, Chin, and Burmese immigrants families space to grow and sell food, as well as receive trainings and other services. But they aren't farming just for money - the farm can help refugees find a sense of home and happiness in a new country.
The nonprofit GirlForward operates in Chicago and Austin, and is working to help young refugee girls learn skills and thrive in America. The intensive mentoring and tutoring program has shown results for girls who are otherwise navigating new responsibilities on their own.
Newly arrived immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers have found a pathway to employment through Emma’s Torch. The nonprofit eatery pays students to learn culinary skills. The program is an important stepping stone for the new arrivals to gain a foothold in the restaurant industry.
Vermont approved coronavirus relief funding for immigrants who did not qualify for federal aid in the first round of the CARES Act. Migrant farm workers play a vital role in Vermont’s dairy industry and were hailed as essential workers who ensured a functioning local food supply during the pandemic. Undocumented immigrants have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic, but the majority of states have not provided this demographic with a financial security net.
A program known as Conrad 30 is helping some foreign-born doctors gain the ability to practice medicine in the U.S. by waiving the need for a visa. Although there are concerns about tying a visa to a job, many doctors have been able to obtain their citizenship and continue practicing in the U.S. independent of the program.
Being a New American is complicated. As federal policy and national attention have recently focused on reducing the number of immigrants and refugees in communities across the country, some cities and towns are defying that expectation. Across the nation, some people are working to ensure that immigrants and refugees are given supports to live and thrive in their communities. This collection highlights some examples of services for immigrants and refugees that are working, including initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship in Detroit, community farming just outside of Chapel Hill, comprehensive support and dedicated funding for refugee arrivals in Utica, and a profile of an intensive mentorship program for refugee girls that began in Chicago and has spread all the way to Texas. These stories span states and issues areas, but they all reflect the same goal: building compassionate communities where everyone can be safe and accepted.