Hello from the Blog Team!

Welcome to the Welcoming Michigan Blog! We hope these updates give you a taste of the wonderful activities taking place across Michigan to build immigrant-friendly communities. Please check back frequently for posts!

 

On Monday, April 29th Welcoming Michigan hosted a film screening and discussion of "Journeys: Stories from Van Buren" with 23 people from St. Basil Catholic Church and the South Haven community.  This was the first time that St. Basil's Preist, Father Bob Flickinger, viewed the film, which features his story of welcoming Van Buren County's immigrant population.  Father Bob, as he is affectionately called by those who know him, was one of the first people to be recommended to Welcoming staff when searching for community members to interview for the film.

This past Tuesday Welcoming Michigan coordinated our first cooking class in SW Michigan and it was great fun! This class was taught by Maria D. and took place at the home of a South Haven resident. Maria, from Michoacan, Mexico moved to South Haven with her two children, ages 9 and 11, during the summer of 2012 to reunite with her husband who had been traveling between Michoacan, Chicago, and South Haven every year for the past 10 years. While in Mexico, Maria made and sold enchiladas and other Mexican food.

In honor of Pesach and Easter, here are some resources from religious teachings on how we can welcome the stranger: "For I was...a stranger and you welcomed me." (Matthew 25:35) "When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

We are pleased to share that our first month of film screenings and discussions of the Welcoming Michigan film, "Journeys: Stories from Van Buren," have been successful. We started with our first screening and discussion at Lake Michigan College, hosted by the South Haven Diversity Coalition. Forty coalition members and students attended and we had a lively and thought-provoking discussion following the film viewing (see photo of small group discussions about what attendees took away from the film).

We are pleased to announce our upcoming screenings of our short documentary, "Journeys: Stories from Van Buren." The film highlights the diverse ways residents have come to live in SW Michigan. Through interviews with local residents, the film shows how we all have a connection to migration or immigration, we all come from somewhere. The film also highlights why it is important to be welcoming to all.

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Meet Jennie! She is an awesome leader and truly a welcoming ambassador. She manages a local TimeBank and shares our belief in the power of connecting neighbors to neighbors.

My name is Daliesha and I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. The maternal side of my family migrated from Bolivar, Tennessee. My maternal great granddad was African American and Native American (Cherokee).

Have you met Hanan Yahya, a member of the Welcoming Chadsey Condon group? She says "cultural competency is vital to creating a more vibrant and healthy community". Here is her story: "I was born the eighth child of nine in my hometown of Yemen.

Have you ever been to a naturalization ceremony? It is a very moving and inspiring experience. Sterling Heights recently held their 4th annual Naturalization Ceremony in conjunction with Sterlingfest.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - get to know your Asian Pacific American neighbors! Check out these local and national resources to learn more about the Asian Pacific American community and find local events happening near you.

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