Nestled in the cozy corner of New England, Rhode Island is a hopeful state for everyone who calls it home. Native Americans and immigrants from many nations have settled in Little Rhody for hundreds of years. All Rhode Islanders have an interesting story to tell. As a small state, we are only one degree of separation away from someone whom we presume ourselves to be completely different from.
The “My Story, Our Community” reception will bring together immigrants and refugees, students, and members of the general public to honor 16 local immigrants and refugees. Each individual’s photo and story will be on display.
•Rose Adhiambo, from Kenya to Providence, RI
•Claudia Cardozo, from Colombia to Lincoln, RI
•Manuela Duarte, from Portugal to East Providence, RI
•Carlos Fernandes, from Guinea Bissau to Central Falls, RI
•Javier & Varsobia Gallego, from Colombia and Venezuela to Pawtucket, RI
•Dr. Apurv Gupta, from India to Barrington, RI
•Gracias “Jim” Hakizmana, from Burundi to Providence, RI
•Sajeenthiran Kanagaratnam, from Sri Lanka to Pawtucket, RI
•Jaein Lee, from Korea to Providence, RI
•Maliss Men Coletta, from Cambodia to Wickford, RI
•Ali Mortezaie, from Iran to Providence, RI
•Jaime Murillo, from Ecuador to Providence, RI
•Richlieu Norris, from Liberia to Providence, RI
•Nazneen Rahman, from Bangladesh to Pawtucket, RI
•Elvys Ruiz, from Dominican Republic to Providence, RI
•Mary Tsangarakis, from Greece to Providence, RI
There are many things that Rhode Islanders can disagree on. One thing that brings us all together is our common values and shared future. Welcoming Rhode Island celebrates our shared values, and recognizes how new Rhode Islanders contribute to our economy, enhance our combined culture, and strengthen our communities.
The reception is free of charge and open to the public.
Welcoming Rhode Island’s mission is to bridge the divide between foreign-born newcomers and native-born Rhode Islanders to foster a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. Hosted by the International Institute of Rhode Island and an affiliate of Welcoming America, Welcoming Rhode Island (http://www.welcomingri.org) is a community-based initiative that seeks to affirm our state as a welcoming place for all and continues to build strong, vibrant, and more cohesive communities across the state.
This initiative is an affiliate of Welcoming America (http://www.welcomingamerica.org/), a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and native-born Americans. Rhode Island is one of the twenty-two states that have joined Welcoming America, to create an atmosphere — community by community — in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. Welcoming Rhode Island is designed to shift the topic of immigration away from contentious debate and to encourage rational and respectful dialogue. This initiative, hosted by the International Institute of Rhode Island, is not political, nor does it advocate for any legislation.
Welcoming America grew out of the fact that over the past fifteen years, immigration rates to the United States have reached levels unmatched since the early 1900s. While in 1990 one in twelve Americans was an immigrant, by 2005 that proportion rose to one in eight.
In 2012, the American Immigration Council determined that more than twelve percent of Rhode Islanders are foreign born, of which more than fifteen percent Latino or Asians. Together, their businesses produce over $1 billion in sales and their combined buying power is almost $3.3 billion. We also have nearly 4,500 foreign students who contribute more than $151 million to the state economy. In this time of economic crisis, these numbers are particularly noteworthy.
In partnership with the Providence College Global Studies Program and the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island, the project was made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.