Every September, the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in partnership with community organizations, hosts events here in Philadelphia to participate in Welcoming America’s national Welcoming Week!  This year, from September 14 to September 24, OIA will hold its annual Welcoming Week.

Welcoming Week encourages us to build common ground in our communities and celebrates how Philadelphia is an open, friendly, and welcoming environment for immigrants, refugees, and people of all backgrounds.  The activities and events provide US and foreign-born residents an opportunity to explore other cultures—and to develop a deeper appreciation for one another.

Being a Welcoming City requires everyone’s efforts because communities are stronger when there are more support networks.  As such, the City would like to highlight community partners.  They have worked in immigrant communities for many years and have helped ensure that immigrants have the support and space to make a life in Philadelphia.  Especially now, when immigrant communities feel under attack, creating welcoming spaces to encourage discussion and learning is more important than ever.

This year, more than 30 community partners are participating in Welcoming Week.  They include local restaurants owners who are joining together to support Puentes De Salud, a nonprofit clinic serving the Latino immigrant community in South Philadelphia.  On September 15, during Welcoming Week, these restaurants will serve special dishes and drinks that shed light on immigrant communities and their experiences.  “Building Bridges” is just one example of how Philadelphia is Welcoming.

To join the Welcoming Week festivities, be sure to follow OIA on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated on events.  If you’re participating in Welcoming Week, let us know using the hashtags #WelcomingWeek and #WelcomingWeekPHL.