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Promising Practices in Immigrant Integration Focus: Civic Engagement and Leadership A presentation prepared by the Latino Migration Project at UNC Chapel.

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Presentation on theme: "Promising Practices in Immigrant Integration Focus: Civic Engagement and Leadership A presentation prepared by the Latino Migration Project at UNC Chapel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Promising Practices in Immigrant Integration Focus: Civic Engagement and Leadership A presentation prepared by the Latino Migration Project at UNC Chapel Hill for the Building Integrated Communities Initiative

2 Building Integrated Communities is a statewide initiative of the Latino Migration Project. The intent of this project is to help North Carolina city governments successfully engage with immigrants and refugee populations in order to improve public safety, promote economic development, enhance communication, and improve relationships. The expectation is that city governments and diverse community stakeholders will generate locally-relevant strategies to strengthen outcomes. For more info, visit The program is made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

3 What is integration? Two-way process Newcomers and receiving society work together to build a secure and cohesive community

4 Two Strategies Civic Engagement Leadership

5 Civic Engagement – Civic Education (for immigrants) – Cultural Competency (for city staff) – Community Engagement – Leadership Training

6 Civic Education Workshops: how to be a good neighbor, banking, financial management, and home ownership Information Center: where immigrants can learn about housing, transportation, employment, medical care and other needs

7 Cultural Competency “Lunch and Learn” sessions for employees– immigrant groups talk about issues and answer employees’ questions Diversity training for organizations – promote understanding of diverse cultural and linguistic communities Prioritize hiring bilingual employees

8 Community Engagement 1.Immigrant representatives on existing boards (police, public health). 2. Public entity created for particular immigration population Example: Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs 3. Broad-based immigrant advisory committee

9 Immigrant Advisory Committee in Boulder Colorado 2006: Immigrant Advisory Committee to the City Manager was developed Purpose: encourage immigrant involvement in the city government and advise the city on issues relating to the immigrant community Goal: Encourage access by this community to the full benefits, opportunities and services provided by the city 7 members appointed by the city manager Criteria: Immigrant residents of Boulder, either citizens or non-citizens, and must be reflective of the demographics of the immigrant community of Boulder

10 Leadership – Identifying leaders in immigrant groups – Developing and training leaders – Utilizing leaders

11 Citizen Academies Trends Improve resident knowledge about city and local government Encourages and prepares new community leaders and volunteers Enhances trust and relationships with local public sector Goals Nearly 100 academies across the country Often run though Office of the City Manager, Mayor or Police Dept.

12 Oakland, CA The Citizen’s Academy established in 1995 Facilitated through the Equal Access Office Offers English, Spanish, and Chinese language versions of course Course offered at no charge Meets once a week for 6 weeks

13 The Citizens’ Academy Open to any resident though application process City Representatives and staff representing all City departments serve as the primary instructors Also brings in guest speakers from other state or local agencies and groups Learn how : “City of Oakland is structured and managed… what services and programs are available through City Agencies; how to access needed services; and how to apply this knowledge by serving as an information resource and advocate for neighborhood associations, non- profit groups and local businesses”

14 The Citizens’ Academy Photo from Oakland City Councilmember, Pat Kernighan

15 International Leadership Academy Skokie, IL: International Leadership Academy Hosted by The Village of Skokie’s Human Services Department hosted an International Leadership Academy in late 2008 Purpose: Service for immigrant residents who wanted to learn about taking on a greater community leadership role through volunteerism, service on a board or commission or as an elected official Topics: leadership throughout American history; understanding state and federal government systems; serving as a volunteer, appointed official or elected official; and the etiquette, protocol and art of negotiation

16 Improving Community-Police Relationships Building trust between both immigrant/refugee groups and local law enforcement – Fears of deportation – Police harassment – Language and cultural barriers – Unreported crimes in immigrant communities

17 Newport News, VA – Hispanic Outreach Initiative Founded in 2004 by Newport News Police Department Significant outreach to Hispanic communities most impacted by crime. – Multilingual crime prevention brochures – Cultural sensitivity training – Regular appearances on local Hispanic radio stations/TV networks – Soccer matches between police force and teams from Hispanic community

18 Results Short term: crime rate increases – crimes now being reported! Long term: crime rates drastically decrease because police officers addressing the reported crimes However, because of the transient nature of Newport News’ Hispanic population, police department sought a permanent solution

19 Hispanic Advisory Committee In 2007, original program grew to city-government- wide Hispanic Advisory Committee. Comprised of 12 Hispanic community members – live or work in the City of Newport News and actively involved with the city’s Hispanic community – Diverse representation: medical, real estate, non- profit, health, and faith- based fields

20 Hispanic Advisory Committee All volunteer--Not publicly funded Committee meetings attended by representatives from Human Services, Health, Public Schools, Parks & Recreation, Sheriff’s Office, Police Department, Fire Department and Codes Compliance. Strategic planning with community forums to set goals

21 Guiding Questions for your own community initiatives What are the greatest needs in your immigrant and refugee communities? What assets and resources can you leverage and have the greatest impact? What is practical given the resource and time constraints of this initiative? What is sustainable?

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