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New citizens sworn-in at ILC-sponsored event.

2016 New Citizen Swearing-in Ceremony

We now have 148 new citizens in Massachusetts. They were sworn-in at Malden High School on Tuesday, a day none of them will forget. Diane Portnoy shared her own journey from refugee to U.S. citizen to founder of The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC) with the hopeful crowd. She also thanked them, as she does every year, for becoming Americans and making our country stronger.

The ILC sponsors this event every year in Malden, one of the most diverse towns in the commonwealth. This year, 84 of them were registered to vote by our partner, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. This was one of the last ceremonies before the Nov. 8 election. Although the standard deadline to register in Massachusetts is Wednesday, October 19, the Secretary of State’s office says that new citizens can apply in person at their town hall up until 4 p.m. on Nov. 7.

Anyone interested in becoming a citizen should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Slide Show of ILC-sponsored ceremonies from Flickr

Police and community advocates come together to share integration strategies

 

We’re here to provide a safe and secure community for immigrants. We’re here, and we need them to collaborate with us.
Chief Brian Kyes, Chelsea, MA, Police Department

 

Denzil Mohammed moderates a panel featuring, clockwise from top left: Chief Brian Kyes, Chelsea, MA, Police Department; Caitlin Gokey, Vera Institute of Justice; Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area; and Jessica Bernal and Erin Fichter, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.

Denzil Mohammed moderates a panel featuring, clockwise from top center: Chief Brian Kyes, Chelsea, MA, Police Department; Caitlin Gokey, Vera Institute of Justice; Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area; and Jessica Bernal and Erin Fichter, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.

Building relationships is the key to integrating law enforcement, immigrants and refugees. New Americans should know that collaborating and communicating their priorities with police allows everyone to focus on those issues together.

This was the main takeaway from Building United Communities: Immigrants, Cops and Crime, the latest free webinar from The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute in Malden, MA, on October 6, 2016. Attendees from 40 states learned from experts in law enforcement, immigrant integration and messaging while sharing their own ideas with colleagues from around the country.

What are ways to build relationships?

  • Caitlin Gokey of the Vera Institute of Justice and Jessical Bernal and Erin Fichter of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE, emphasized building coalitions and alliances among community leaders, especially from communities of color or those that are under-resourced.
  • Chief Brian Kyes of the Chelsea, MA, Police Department and Zahra Billoo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations agreed on using political pressure on police departments as an alternative by engaging other civic leaders or police chiefs in neighboring counties.

Other highlights from the webinar:

  • Denzil Mohammed of The ILC Public Education Institute helped dispel several immigration myths: Immigrants are assets to the economy, pay taxes into systems that support Americans and commit fewer crimes than U.S.-born Americans. Violent crime rates tend to decrease as concentrations of immigrants increase.
  • Given the current public discourse, the webinar also featured Julie Fisher-Rowe of the Opportunity Agenda who gave research-based messaging techniques for talking about immigrants in communities. She noted that when afraid or angry, the brain does not respond well to logic, so she advocated for framing conversations in terms of shared values by asking, “What kind of community do we want to be: one that encourages participation and contribution, or one that excludes and divides?”

Click here for resources and recordings.

Click here to be informed of the dates of the next webinar.

One brave immigrant demonstrates the innovation that immigration makes possible.

The American Heart Association, Verily Life Sciences and AstraZeneca announced the winner of the $75 million One Brave Idea Research Award on Wednesday. The winner, Dr. Calum MacRae, is a Scottish immigrant and chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His vision for uncovering the causes of heart disease and the potential to prevent it was selected from 350 submissions worldwide.

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It is not a surprise to us that the winner is an immigrant. Nor is it a surprise that many members of his team are immigrants or that Verily Life Sciences, which contributed $25 million of the prize money, is a division of Alphabet, Inc., famously founded by Russian immigrant Sergey Brin. Immigration is the secret sauce that keeps this country at the forefront of innovation.

  • Fifty-one percent of the medical scientists in Massachusetts are foreign-born.
  • Forty-two percent of the researchers at the top seven U.S. cancer research centers are foreign-born.
  • Thirty-one percent of all U.S. Nobel laureates are foreign-born.
  • The 2003 National Survey of College Graduates shows that immigrants patent at double the native-born rate.

The list could go on and on. Although it cannot be measured, there is something innately entrepreneurial and innovative about immigrating. The combination of passion, drive, talent and the American Dream make it possible. Dr. Calum MacRae himself said, “Landing in America was probably the defining moment of my life….There was this potential for change and dynamism that was unique.” It’s possible he might not have achieved such astounding success had he not left his home country. We, at The ILC, are very happy to have him here.

To learn more about immigrants in health care, click here.

To learn more about immigrant Nobel Prize winners, click here.

Mass. teachers connect to immigration past and present at The ILC

 

Brazilian immigrants Brunna and Mike Peroni of Peroni’s Jewelry in Malden share their stories with teachers as part of an immigrant business story tour during the workshop.

Brazilian immigrants Brunna and Mike Peroni of Peroni’s Jewelry in Malden share their stories with teachers as part of an immigrant business story tour during the workshop.

Immigrants have been vital contributors to Boston’s history and continue to enhance the community economically and socially. The diversity they add to Boston and the U.S. is reflected in the classroom. Nationally, one in four students is an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and students whose first language is not English make up 46 percent of Boston Public Schools (BPS).

These are a few of the takeaways that teachers from across Massachusetts learned during a two-day professional development workshop held at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) on August 25 and 26, 2016. The event was co-hosted by BPS, Primary Source, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and The ILC Public Education Institute.

The ILC Public Education Institute’s immigration timeline spans the 1600s to the present.

The ILC Public Education Institute’s immigration timeline spans the 1600s to the present.

The ILC Public Education Institute and BPS offered the latest data on immigrants and immigrant students in our local schools interwoven with personal stories and the concept that America is a nation of immigrants. The teachers opened the workshop by placing themselves on an immigration timeline (pictured right) and sharing how and when they or their families immigrated to the U.S.

Marilynn Johnson, PhD, author of The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area Since the 1960s, presented on the contributions of the foreign-born since the mid-20th century to Boston’s thriving landscape today. Primary Source and Boston International Newcomers Academy discussed lesson planning ideas with participants. A highlight of the workshop was an Immigrant Business Story Tour where Denzil Mohammed and Crystal Ye of The ILC Public Education Institute guided participants on a walking tour of Malden to hear the powerful stories of foreign-born entrepreneurs.

At the close of the workshop, attendees noted that, armed with stories, data and lesson plans, they were invigorated and excited to teach their classes this fall.

Mass. teachers to learn best practices for diverse classrooms at The ILC

BPS FB post

More than a quarter million children in Massachusetts are immigrants or have immigrant parents. What will their classroom experiences be this coming academic year?

Boston Public School’s History and Social Studies Department is conducting a free, two-day workshop on current immigration to the Boston area for K-12 teachers in Massachusetts titled New Bostonians: The Latest Chapter in Boston’s Immigration Story on August 25 and 26, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) in Malden. Given the prevalence of immigration in public discourse today and the changing demographics of our classrooms, The ILC Public Education Institute is pleased not only to host this important workshop but also to present along with Primary Source and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (formerly New Bostonians).

K-12 teachers will learn the latest immigration data, how to work with immigrant students to achieve success, learning styles and motivations of immigrant students, and much more. There will also be a special walking “story tour” of Malden’s immigrant-owned businesses to hear the entrepreneurs’ journeys and see how immigrants are revitalizing neighborhoods.

Speakers include Dr. Marilynn Johnson of Boston College and author of The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area Since the 1960s; Primary Source Program Director Dr. Susan Zeiger; Boston Public Schools Assistant Director of History and Social Studies Josue Sakata; Frances Bass, history teacher at Boston International Newcomers Academy, and The ILC Public Education Institute Program Specialist Denzil Mohammed.

For more information, contact Josue Sakata at jsakata@bostonpublicschools.org.

Leaders in education share strategies and lesson plans to empower immigrant students

 

A student from the film “Living Undocumented” shares her story as part of the module Empowering Immigrant Students and Dreamers.

Immigrant students are assets to classrooms, immigrant parents are very much interested in their children’s education, and schools need to actively engage with immigrants instead of only providing them with information.
These are some of the assertions made by the experts in the free, annual, online workshop Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, hosted by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute and the American Immigration Council on July 12 and 13, 2016. Participants from 35 states collaborated with education experts from across the country on lesson plans and strategies to create a culture of respect in classrooms, debunking myths, building relationships with immigrant parents and communities, and empowering U.S.- and foreign-born students alike.

This year’s free online workshop featured a record number of 13 esteemed presenters with expertise in K-12 education, adult education and workforce development: Federico Salas-Isnardi, Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning; Claire Tesh and Sara Burnett, American Immigration Council; Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra, Boston College; Dr. Tatyana Kleyn, City College of New York; Eileen Kugler, Embrace Diverse Schools; Dana Brown, Malden High School; Julie Mann, Newcomers High School; Dr. Steve Burby, Brentwood School District; Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, Molloy College; Alaísa Grudzinski, psychotherapist; Andrea Garcia-Fernandez, Year Up and a former undocumented student; and Denzil Mohammed, The ILC Public Education Institute.

Some of the main takeaways included:

  • Storytelling breaks stereotypes, makes “foreigners” human and real, and helps students relate with each other and be empowered/inspired.
  • Be aware of all the prejudices and biases you bring into the classroom as an educator, and then help your students realize their own. Make a safe space for honest and open discussion and a place to tell their stories.
  • Immigrant students often experience more negative psychological outcomes than American-born peers due to stress of migration, discrimination and other acculturative stress (e.g. intergenerational conflict)
  • Parents can be valuable partners in education. Reach out to them in places where they’re comfortable; don’t just have them come to you.
Live panel discussion featuring clockwise from top left, Dr. Tatyana Kleyn, Denzil Mohammed, Dana Brown, Eileen Kugler and Claire Tesh.

Live panel discussion featuring clockwise from top left, Dr. Tatyana Kleyn, Denzil Mohammed, Dana Brown, Eileen Kugler and Claire Tesh.

Learn more with recordings, presentations and other resources from the online workshop.
 
The ILC Public Education Institute hosts free webinars and online workshops throughout the year that bring immigration experts together to offer best practices to educators, immigrant-serving organizations and faith communities. To be notified of the dates of the next free webinar, sign up here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

New report details immigrants’ vital contributions to U.S. health care

I think the health care system in Boston would collapse without immigrants.
Jerry Rubin, Director, Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Boston

Immigrants are vital contributors to U.S. health care, particularly in the fields of medicine and medical science, long-term care and nursing. Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation is a new report published by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between George Mason University (GMU) and The ILC.

The report finds that immigrants play outsized and critical roles in American health in a number of ways including:

  • Immigrants fill gaps:
    • 46 percent of immigrant physicians go into internal medicine, where there is a lack of doctors, versus only 15 percent of U.S. medical graduates.
  • Immigrants innovate:
    • Immigrants are 42 percent of researchers in the top seven cancer centers in the U.S.
  • Immigrants bring necessary cultural and linguistic skills:
    • As well as aging and living longer, the U.S. population is diversifying in race and ethnicity. Immigrants help patients overcome language and cultural barriers to access proper medical care, especially in the nursing field.

Given the imperative role of immigrants in health care, the report makes recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and more including:

  • For the health care field:
    • Upper-level management and other stakeholders in health care should be more aware of and devote more resources to integrating immigrants into the health sector.
  • For workforce development:
    • Invest in programs for education and training programs in health care careers from the aid level to the professional level including transitional education programs for under-educated workers.
  • For local government:
    • Bring together industry workers and policymakers to redefine and standardize clinical tasks thereby streamlining delivery of care.

Click here to learn more about the report, download the full report and fact sheet and watch video interviews with two of the immigrant workers profiled.

Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation is written by Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, retired director of The ILC Public Education Institute; Justin P. Lowry, PhD, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, and James C. Witte, PhD, Director, both of the Institute for Immigration Research at GMU; and José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, Associate Department Chair, Department of Health Education, of San Francisco State University and the Welcome Back Initiative.

The report was debuted in a free webinar hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute featuring representatives from the National Skills Coalition, Tufts University, the Welcome Back Initiative and more. Click here to view presentations and recordings from the webinar. To learn about all of the Institute’s free webinars, click here.

Taking integration to the heartland

 

Leya presenting

Attendees at the Replicable Integration Strategies from Faith Organizations session

 

Denzil Mohammed, program specialist of The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC) Public Education Institute, traveled to the heartland of America to bring the latest immigration data and best immigrant integration practices to the 15th annual Cambio de Colores conference on June 10 in Columbia, MO.

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Leya Speasmaker, Christina Pope and Denzil Mohammed.

Denzil led a session titled “Replicable Integration Strategies from Faith Organizations” with co-presenters Leya Speasmaker of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Christina Pope of Welcoming America. He offered the latest demographic data on immigrants and refugees in the U.S. utilizing an asset-based approach to thwart stereotypes about immigrants and for participants to develop a more factual and constructive perspective on immigration.

Leya then outlined a range of successful integration practices from the nationwide CLINIC network of direct-service affiliates that can be adapted by organizations of any kind. These included “Coffee and Conversation” from Hogar Immigrant Services in Manassas, VA, where parishioners meet weekly with foreign-born students to learn more about each other, and the new identification card for undocumented immigrants in Greensboro, NC, launched by local government in collaboration with the police department and the FaithAction International House.

To help participants implement these ideas, Christina offered a detailed guide to engaging receiving communities through research-based messaging strategies. She emphasized that participants should avoid restating myths or using dividing language, create partnerships with various local stakeholders, and utilize positive, relatable messages that speak to shared values. You can see the full presentation slides here.

This was Denzil’s second Cambio de Colores conference presentation. In 2015, he led a session on “Immigrants as Assets: Framing the Discussion in Policy, Media and the Community.”

The three presenters were also part of the June 2, 2016, webinar Building United Communities: Integration Strategies from Faith Organizations hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute. Get resources and watch recordings from the webinar here.

Experts from faith organizations offer tried and true integration practices

 

Clockwise from top left: Adam Estle, Leya Speasmaker, Elizabeth Mandelman, Zahra Billoo and Denzil Mohammed.

 

A successful immigrant integration strategy doesn’t need to cost a lot. In fact, a cup of coffee in a safe environment will do. In the free webinar Building United Communities: Integration Strategies from Faith Organizations, hosted by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute on June 2, 2016, participants from 33 states learned that direct collaboration with communities and building trust among newcomers and the U.S.-born through conversation are crucial to successful integration.

In addition to effective integration strategies, attendees also learned the latest data and best messaging practices and engaged with six experts in six cities across the nation: Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area; Leya Speasmaker, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC); Adam Estle, National Immigration Forum; Elizabeth Mandelman, HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society); Christina Pope, Welcoming America; and Denzil Mohammed, The ILC Public Education Institute.
 

It’s the relationships where hearts and minds are changed.
Zahra Billoo, CAIR

Some of the takeaways included:

  • Key components of successful integration are interpersonal relationships, education and collaboration, both at the organizational level (e.g. with other immigrant-serving organizations or law enforcement) and at the individual level (e.g. directly asking community members what they need).
  • Start with shared values and stories of “welcoming the stranger” to motivate your audience, but balance them with facts and specific examples of what they can do.
  • Your audience is not you; depending on framing and content, messages will resonate differently with different audiences.

Click here to view the webinar recordings and presentations.

The ILC Public Education Institute hosts free webinars throughout the year that bring immigration experts together to offer best practices to educators, immigrant-serving organizations and faith communities. To be notified of the dates of the next free webinar, sign up here.

 

Five awarded ILC Entrepreneurs of the Year

I accept this award with gratitude and respect for many who fought and sacrificed their lives for me so I can rise. Thank you.
Herby Duverné, 2016 Business Growth winner
2016 Award Winners

Front row from left: Diane Portnoy, ILC Founder and CEO; Hilda Torres; Gerardo Loza; and Denzil Mohammed, ILC Public Education Institute Program Specialist. Back row from left: Mihael Mikek; Garo H. Armen; Herby Duverné; and Jay Ash, MA Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

 

Five winners were honored with The 2016 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in front of more than 200 guests at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, MA, on April 28, 2016. As noted by Program Specialist of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, this year’s 42 nominees immigrated from 26 countries, have started more than 60 businesses, employ nearly 1,200 people in Massachusetts and generated income and investment totaling more than $1 billion. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recorded special remarks congratulating all the nominees. Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash was the Master of Ceremonies.

Both Secretary Ash and Secretary Pritzker lauded the nominees’ accomplishments and their vital contributions to Massachusetts and to the United States. Ash emphasized the positive impact of immigrant entrepreneurship on job creation, community development and new goods, services and innovations. Pritzker advocated for immigration reform to further that impact: “Tonight’s honorees continue the great tradition of the immigrants who came before all of us. Our values, our history, our competitiveness and the demands of our economy dictate that we enact comprehensive immigration reform without further delay.”

All nominees received citations from their legislators. Continue below for more information and click on the video stills to watch interviews with each winner.

Business Growth:
Herby Duverné from Haiti, Founder and CEO of Taino Consulting Group, LLC in Boston

Life Science Business:
Garo H. Armen from Turkey, Co-Founder and CEO of Agenus Inc. in Lexington

High-Tech Business:
Hilda Torres and Gerardo Loza from Mexico, Founders of My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center in Malden

Neighborhood Business:
Mihael Mikek from Slovenia, Founder and CEO of Celtra, Inc. in Boston

More than 150 Massachusetts business owners and innovators have been nominated and recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the five years of The ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, the only one of its kind in New England.


Do you know other Massachusetts immigrant entrepreneurs worthy of recognition? Tell us about them.

duverne video block

2016 ILC Business Growth Entrepreneur of the Year
Herby Duverné, Founder and CEO of Taino Consulting Group, LLC, Boston (Haiti)
Herby Duverné immigrated to the U.S. with no money or English skills and put himself through school working as a janitor. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s from Northeastern University, Duverné worked his way up to Deputy Director of Aviation Security at the Massachusetts Port Authority. In 2012 he founded Taino Consulting Group, a cyber and physical security and emergency management service provider. Under his direction, the company increased its workforce seven-fold in 2015.

 

 

 

armen video block

2016 ILC Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year
Garo H. Armen, Co-Founder and CEO of Agenus Inc., Lexington (Turkey)
Garo H. Armen came to the U.S. to escape an oppressive life in Turkey and to research treatments for his mother’s cancer. He co-founded Agenus Inc. which focuses on the body’s immune system to develop innovative treatments for cancer and other rare diseases. Dr. Armen was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Dr. Armen is also the founder and chairman of the Children of Armenia Fund, which implements programs to improve the lives of children in rural villages in Armenia. For his humanitarian efforts, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

 

 

2016 ILC Neighborhood Entrepreneurs of the Year
Hilda Torres & Gerardo Loza, Founders of My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center, Malden (Mexico)
Hilda Torres came to the U.S. seeking employment as a beautician but had difficulty finding affordable daycare for her children. She became a licensed childcare worker to get a discount at her children’s daycare center and discovered a talent for working with children. Soon, Torres’ cousin Gerardo Loza proposed that they go into business together and open their own daycare center. In 2012, they opened My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center with seven students and three teachers. Today, the daycare employs 28 staff members with 114 enrolled students whose parents come from 29 countries.

 

 

2016 ILC High-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year
Mihael Mikek, Founder and CEO of Celtra, Inc., Boston (Slovenia)
Mihael Mikek is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded and managed several fast growing businesses in diverse industries with successful exits before launching Celtra, Inc. The company, which was incubated at Babson College’s MBA business hatchery in 2006, is the first self-service, rich media advertising platform for mobile. The company had more than $160 million of estimated media delivery in 2014 and works with more than 600 certified media partners and more than 400 global clients. Under Mr. Mikek’s leadership, Celtra has experienced more than 1,000 percent revenue growth over the last four years and won several industry awards.

 

 

 

 

Click here to learn more about these annual awards and to learn more about past nominees.

 

 

The 2016 ILC Entrepreneur of the Year Award Nominees on stage with their citations.

 

From left: Jose Estrella; Business Growth nominee Wendy Estrella, Estrella Law Firm; and Denzil Mohammed, Program Specialist, The ILC Public Education Institute

Stuart Bornstein applauds a speaker at the Awards Dinner.

Stuart Bornstein applauds a speaker at the Awards Dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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