On Thursday of this week, The Welcome Project, a non-profit dear to my heart, will hold it’s annual YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City Celebration and Fundraiser. (Get your tickets here or at the door!)
I have to admit, it’s a little surreal for me – after serving as event chair for four years, this is the first year I’ve hardly been involved at all, since I’m currently focusing my energy on school. I still find time serve on the board of The Welcome Project, though, and I’m looking forward to waltzing in to enjoy a great event without having to worry about all the planning.
Founded over 25 years ago, The Welcome Project builds the collective power of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions. Through practical offerings such as ESOL classes for adults and supporting interpretation at local meetings, we work to ensure that immigrants have a real voice and role in our community.
In many ways, I see the philosophy of The Welcome Project as turning the paradigm of immigrant assimilation on its head. Rather than demanding that immigrants abandon their cultural backgrounds in order to become part of the community, we start from the genuine belief that immigrants are full members of the community.
Our work is therefore to support the civic leadership, engagement, and voice of immigrants. This is their right as members of the community and, importantly, such equal participation adds real and needed value to the community.
This is the work of The Welcome Project, work that you have the opportunity to support on Thursday, April 14 by attending a delightful fundraiser with live music and delicious food immigrant-owned Somerville restaurants.
Or, you know, you could skip the food and just donate here.