Faith organizations have long been at the forefront of integrating immigrants and refugees as well as working with the receiving communities to welcome new Americans. With this in mind, The ILC Public Education Institute hosted a new version of its free online workshop on February 26, 2015. Talking to America about Immigrants and Immigration: Faith Perspectives gathered seven experts from across the U.S. to discuss their pioneering work and lend their expertise to attendees from 33 states.
The workshop broached a variety of topics relevant to the work of the attendees. The ILC’s Denzil Mohammed outlined the latest immigration information in “Data, Myths and Facts” before showing how to weave data and stories in “Positioning Immigrants as Assets.” Julie Fisher-Rowe of The Opportunity Agenda offered tips on using stories and values to achieve “Immigration Messaging that Works.” Finally, a panel discussion on “Faith Perspectives on Immigrant Integration: Models and Practices” featured a variety of presenters who each discussed best practices at the local and national levels to integrate immigrants and refugees. Moderated by Westy Egmont (Immigrant Integration Lab, Boston College), panelists included Leah Bergen (HIAS), Vanessa Carter (Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, USC), Patricia Maloof (Catholic Legal Network Immigration Network, Inc. and Catholic University of America), and Matthew Soerens (World Relief and Evangelical Immigration Table).
Main takeaways from the workshop include:
- Building on platforms of social justice, shared values and the collective impact movement can bring more stakeholders to the table.
- Values that resonate well with audiences include community participation and contribution, compassion, dignity, family and faith.
- Southern states are seeing the most striking growth in immigrant populations.
- Immigrants are revitalizing neighborhoods, creating local jobs and producing innovative technologies in fields from transportation to health care.
Many organizations offered assistance in promoting the free online workshop or providing resources beneficial to the attendees. These included OneAmerica, Catholic Charities, HIAS, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC and Welcoming America.
You can also sign up to be notified of the dates for the next free online workshop.