Adult educators looking to retake the immigration narrative got proven strategies from The ILC Public Education Institute’s Denzil Mohammed. At the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education’s NETWORK 2017 Conference in Marlborough, MA, on May 12, 2017, Denzil equipped teachers and administrators with “Stats and Strategies to Change the Immigration Conversation.”
Using findings from The FrameWorks Institute and The Opportunity Agenda revealed in the Institute’s February 23 webinar, Taking Back the Narrative, Denzil outlined research-based strategies for talking about immigration that educators can employ in and outside the classroom:
To promote a new narrative, always start with the facts and don’t repeat the myths when refuting them.
It is imperative that we frame immigration in terms of American values, such as shared prosperity or humanitarianism.
Offer pragmatic solutions to perceived problems and emphasize how other options are impractical.
When asked whether changing the conversation was feasible given the repeated rhetoric in the national immigration discussion, Denzil explained that countering the narrative will require a sustained approach rather than just one conversation.
For more messaging strategies and techniques, see:
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
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?”
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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. To learn about all of the Institute’s free webinars, click here.
Denzil Mohammed, director 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.
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.
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
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 director 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.
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.
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.
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.
Health care and integration experts give insight on new report
Compiling available research and profiles of 11 immigrants representing the full scope of the U.S. health care industry, the upcoming report Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy through Care and Innovation interweaves data and testimonials to offer a comprehensive picture of the outsized impact immigrants have on the health of all Americans. To debut this report and offer an interactive platform for experts and practitioners, The ILC Public Education Institute hosted a free webinar, Immigrants in Health Care, on January 28, 2016.
This upcoming report is authored by Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, retired director of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute, and published by the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The ILC and George Mason University.
Participants from 36 states posed important questions to the five speakers and collaboratively proposed tangible solutions to issues of credentialing, workforce integration, employer engagement and more.
Could we have more please? And thank you, thank you for your invaluable contribution to the broad perspective.
Dr. Hohn summarized key report findings and introduced two immigrant health care professionals, Elizabeth Mande from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nam Tran from Vietnam, who told their stories to attendees (See videos of Elizabeth and Nam). This was followed by a reaction panel moderated by Denzil Mohammed, director of The ILC Public Education Institute. The panel included Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the National Skills Coalition, José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, of the Welcome Back Initiative, Joyce Sackey, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine, and Kira Khazatsky of Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Boston.
Some of the takeaways included:
Immigrants play critical roles in both the high- and low-skilled areas of health care by filling vacancies in under-served areas and contributing the linguistic and cultural competence necessary to cater to an increasingly diverse population.
Trusted organizations giving sound guidance are needed to integrate foreign-educated medical professionals into U.S. health care. Such organizations include the Welcome Back Initiative and IMPRINT.
Re-licensing and re-credentialing are major hurdles but are not the only on-ramp to workforce integration. There is a huge spectrum of health professions in the United States in fields such as health administration, public health, research or academia.
Click here to learn more about the webinar and view important tools and resources for integrating immigrant health professionals.
Institute for Immigration Research presents at National Immigrant Integration Conference
More than 1,300 policymakers, community organizers, academics and others in the immigrant-serving field attended the 2015 National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) from December 13 to 15, 2015, in New York City. This NIIC was the largest to date, and it engaged attendees from across the country in thought-provoking sessions and productive discussions across 11 tracks including Welcoming Communities, Academic Perspectives, and Adult Education and Workforce Development. Notable speakers included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez. Three presidential candidates, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders, were also invited to share their thoughts and policy positions regarding immigration. A common theme among speakers was addressing recent spikes in anti-immigrant rhetoric while providing hope for comprehensive immigration reform.
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed and Assistant Director Crystal Ye participated in the conference and attended a variety of sessions such as “How Can Academic Researchers and Community Activists and Advocates Best Work Together,” “Beyond the Single Story: How New Waves of Asian and African Migration are Transforming Receiving Communities,” and “Fixing Brain Waste,” a special session that featured Dr. James Witte, research director at the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The ILC and George Mason University. The session highlighted findings from Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States, the survey for which was conducted by Dr. Witte and his research team.