Video | Welcoming America

Category: Video

Video: Where will you find common ground in your community?

Welcoming America | July 19, 2017


The divides among Americans may seem vast these days, but Welcoming America believes that in many communities, there is a very different narrative that should be lifted up: Stories of diverse people finding common ground and making an impact in each other’s lives.

When a Jewish couple in Atlanta, GA, met a Kurdish Muslim refugee couple from Syria, the unexpected happened. They forged a strong friendship and strengthened the bonds of connection in their community.

“We met Hasan and Rania through our friend Dr. Heval Kelli and volunteered to help them learn English because we felt helpless with everything that was going on in the world. My husband, Adam, and I wanted to do something proactive. We started coming to their house every Tuesday night to work with Rania on her driver’s license test and Hasan on job interview skills. As our relationship progressed, they wanted to spend less time studying and more time seeing Atlanta, so we started going out into the world. We don’t think of them as a volunteer activity, we just think of them as friends,” said Joanie Twersky. 

The friendship between the two couples has evolved into a larger social circle and regularly involves dinner parties, playing soccer, going to movies, bowling, and much more. Joanie and Adam even threw Rania and Hasan a Green Card party earlier this year.

“When I was growing up, we still heard first-hand accounts of the Holocaust including stories of non-Jewish people who risked their lives to hide Jews. I often wondered to myself – if the situation was reversed would I put myself at risk, would I put my whole family at risk in order to protect someone else when I could just do nothing and remain safe? Thankfully, I have never been faced with that decision. But we make another form of that decision every day when we watch the news and it’s overwhelmingly and sad and ultimately doesn’t affect us. We have to make a decision about whether to turn it off and disconnect and go about the rest of our day or act. And that’s as tough a decision, because it’s really easy to do nothing.

If I could ask one thing of people, it would be not to disconnect when it is hard. Your greatest influence is always going to be local, in your own community. Chances are there are people right there that are going through more than you know. And you have the ability to be present in their lives and have a really rich relationship that can make a difference for both of you,” said Joanie Twersky.

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New Video: Stay-at-home mom and Sudanese refugee find common ground

Welcoming America | December 15, 2016



Stay-at-home mom Becca Clary found common ground with Sudanese refugee Fatima Bakhit through a cultural exchange program at Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Not only has Becca helped Fatima feel welcome in her new home and learn English, she also has gained a friend. 

Building a nation of neighbors starts right where you are: in your community, and there are ways you can make a difference, too. Together, let’s build bridges and demonstrate that our differing identities are assets in making our communities and nation stronger. 

We may not all share the same history, but we share one future: will you consider volunteering your time or giving resources to your local refugee-serving organizations at this important time?

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The Birthplace of Welcoming

Welcoming America | September 26, 2016

As we finish celebrating Welcoming Week in hundreds of communities across the United States, let's go back to where the welcoming movement began - Nashville - and watch how the city transformed itself from fear of immigrant newcomers to a place that actively welcomes them, and is thriving because of it. 

At a time when over 65 million refugees are looking for a place to call home, communities around the world can learn from and be inspired by Nashville’s story.

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Video: What We Learned at Welcoming Interactive 2016

Welcoming America | May 16, 2016



The first Welcoming Interactive explored major themes affecting our local communities including achieving equity for everyone, combating anti-Muslim bias, and the importance of lifting up shared values. In our new video, you can hear directly from participants about how they can apply what they have learned in their own communities.

Whether you attended the Interactive or not, Welcoming America can help you strengthen your inclusion work locally through our Welcoming Institute. We offer classes on messaging, ensuring equitable access, building connected communities, and many more topics. Check out the list of trainings we provide through our Welcoming Institute, as well as our upcoming webinars and resource library. Contact us anytime to learn more about on-site training.

Forward-thinking communities around the country are recognizing that being welcoming to new Americans makes them more economically competitive and vibrant places for all residents. The growing trend of actively welcoming new Americans, counter to divisive rhetoric, shows that immigrant inclusion is thriving at the local level. Welcoming America helps communities to build understanding between host communities and newcomers, so that everyone can participate, thrive, and feel a sense of belonging.

Join Welcoming America to gain access to key resources and a vibrant network of communities across the country who are leading the way on immigrant inclusion.

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