A Historic Day for Atlanta

Yesterday at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Mayor Kasim Reed and members of the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group announced that the City of Atlanta will be implementing 20 strategies that will foster a welcoming environment for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin. Welcoming America Executive Director David Lubell spoke at the press conference, celebrating the leadership of the Mayor and community and thanking them for the opportunity to play a key role in guiding local stakeholders in the process. Welcoming America is grateful we could help Atlanta get to this momentous point, and we are honored to help celebrate this achievement, which coincides with National Welcoming Week, our national event highlighting the contributions of immigrants from across the globe and their instrumental impact on the day-to-day lives of all Americans.

The commitments will focus on community engagement, developing and harnessing talent, and public safety and include the establishment of an Office of Multicultural Affairs and other efforts that reduce barriers to full civic participation, expand economic opportunity, build trust with law enforcement, and foster positive relationships between the receiving community and new arrivals. Coverage of this announcement appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and WABE 90.1.

Metro Atlanta boasts the second fastest-growing foreign-born population in the country, second only to Baltimore, whose Mayor also this week announced a number of efforts aimed at making the city a more welcoming one. This trend reflects the growing number of cities who are incorporating welcoming initiatives as a strategy to promote economic vitality. Learn more about immigrants’ contributions to Georgia from the Atlanta Regional Commission, Partnership for a New American Economy, and Immigration Policy Center.

“As Atlanta positions itself to be a global leader, attracting and retaining talent is imperative,” said Mayor Reed. “The Welcoming Atlanta initiative builds upon the existing priorities for the city – public safety, welfare, economic development, civic engagement, and education – and in so doing, will not only create an environment that is welcoming to new arrivals, but a stronger community for all Atlantans.”

Welcoming America has worked with Mayor Reed since October 2013, when Atlanta became the 21st city to join the Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative. The Mayor then announced his support at an event with business and civic leaders, sponsored by Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA), in partnership with the Georgia Chamber of CommerceWelcoming America, and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.  AS/COA and the Partnership for a New American Economy have been vital partners in supporting the initiative in Atlanta and other initiative cities, including Nashville and Charlotte.

The commitments announced by the Mayor are also reflective of the incredible leadership of business, government, and nonprofit leaders from Atlanta, brought together by the Mayor through his Welcoming Atlanta Working Group. The 20-member group was tasked with developing recommendations to ensure that Atlanta’s newly arrived communities are being integrated and supported. Over the course of the summer, Welcoming Group co-chairs Jeffrey Tapia, Executive Director of the Latin American Association, and Charles Kuck, Managing Partner of Kuck Immigration Partners, met regularly with over 100 subcommittee members to craft a comprehensive set of strategies to advance immigrant inclusion and a more receptive climate.