Friday marks the start of “Welcome Week”, a week dedicated the contributions and the spirit of our refugee community. The International Institute is helping to ensure that the event gets off to a great start, by lighting up the city, while hosting a number of events throughout the week. Other organizations will also be playing a part in the week-long tribute celebration. In fact, anyone can be a part of the action – organizers are asking that everyone leaves their front porch lights on, to signal that we are a safe, welcoming community. The act of lighting up one’s porch on Sunday, September 17 (the opening of Welcome Week) is a signal that “Neighbors Light the Way”. But people should consider leaving their front lights on well after that day – keeping a front porch light on at night is always a good idea.
“The Institute’s participation in Welcoming Week shows that in Buffalo, Americans of all backgrounds are coming together to create a stronger, more prosperous community. We are 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 communities,” said Eva Hassett, executive director. “It is a time to celebrate the values that unite us as neighbors and colleagues, and to make our community more welcoming to newcomers and to everyone who calls Buffalo home.”
During the celebration, the dome of City Hall, and the Peace Bridge, will be lit up in orange and green, the colors of Welcoming Week. If you have an orange or green lightbulb at the house, consider lighting that up until 10pm on Sunday, September 17.
“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.”
The Institute invites the community to participate in Immigrant Images, a photo retrospective of the people who made the journey to America. Members of the community are invited to submit a photo of yourself or an immigrant ancestor along with a brief description (50 words or less) of their nationality, journey to the USA and their life once settled in America. These images will be featured on the Institute’s Facebook page during welcoming week and all participants will be entered into a drawing for two tickets to Buffalo Without Borders, the Institute’s annual celebration of Buffalo’s diversity. Electronic images and accompanying descriptions should be emailed to email@example.com by Wednesday, September 13th.
On Wednesday, September 20th at 6:00 p.m., the Institute will host Refugees in Buffalo. This 90 minute program will be led by staff members actively involved in the resettlement process who will define the responsibilities of the agency, explain why refugees come to Buffalo, and say what the community can do to support our newest neighbors. Light refreshments will be served. The program is free, however, a suggested donation of a flashlight and/or batteries will be appreciated. Reservations for the program are necessary. Please RSVP to 716-883-1900, ext. 375 by September 18th.
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