Collaborating to Create Welcoming Communities — State Action Alert

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Collaboration is at the heart of grassroots mobilization for immigration reform reports Tia Upchurch-Freelove, LIRS Grassroots Advocacy Intern.

Beginning in July 2013, LIRS joined with HIAS and other partners, including the Center for Applied LinguisticsChurch World Service, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and the United States Conference of Bishops, to take on The Linking Communities (TLC) Project. The goal of TLC Project is to “increase support for refugee resettlement and the overall level of welcoming for immigrants in communities,” beginning with two pilot states: Ohio and Pennsylvania.

TLC Project aims to execute some of the recommendations provided in a recent report by HIAS, Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement in Local CommunitiesThis report found that some of the communities undergoing refugee resettlement are in need of resources to create a more welcoming environment for these new community members.

LIRS and TLC Project’s partners come together with the conviction that “protecting and resettling refugees honors the United States’ legacy of welcoming those fleeing persecution and searching for freedom. Offering this protection not only strengthens America’s national and international standing, but also strengthens American society through the many contributions that refugees bring to their communities.”

On Monday this week, LIRS staff traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a day long training and strategy session with TLC Project partners and other affiliated organizations. This session focused on planning activities throughout Pennsylvania and creating partnerships for future project implementation.

Here’s what a few attendees, strong LIRS partners, had to say on the event:

Pastor Linda Theophilus, Emanuel Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh:

It was a wonderful opportunity to share different experiences. The energy of presenters and participants was very infectious. People are hungry for collaboration and we really need cross Pennsylvania communication for refugee resettlement and advocacy.

Albert Tchato, UNCHR Refugee Congress Delegate and  participant at LIRS’s 2013 World Refugee Day:

The TLC convening provided a unique avenue on how to thoroughly integrate the interest of refugees in statewide efforts to promote resettlement while preserving the culture and values of refugees.

Janet Panning, Program Director Lutheran Children & Family Service, Southeast Pennsylvania: 

Great opportunity to bring various stakeholders together to create new common integration that strengthens our communities.

Beginning next month, TLC Project will focus on developing and implementing local activities to promote resettlement in Ohio and Pennsylvania. These activities will allow TLC Project to identify key techniques for effective organizing, advocacy, and outreach activities in building support for refugee resettlement throughout the United States.

LIRS contributes to TLC Project with our core values of welcome, prophetic witness, integrity, innovation, and interdependence in mind. This project gives us an opportunity to collaborate with other organizations to discover new ways to engage in our shared work of welcome. We look forward to updating you on future TLC Project activities and outcomes.

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