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"Welcoming Week" Celebrates MI Immigrants

PHOTO: Global Detroit helped kicked off this year's Welcoming Week celebrations with the Welcoming Games soccer tournament in Detroit's Clark Park. Photo courtesy of C. Sauve.
PHOTO: Global Detroit helped kicked off this year's Welcoming Week celebrations with the Welcoming Games soccer tournament in Detroit's Clark Park. Photo courtesy of C. Sauve.
September 15, 2014

DETROIT, Mich. - The many colors, languages, and contributions of immigrant communities will be the focus of celebrations this week, as Michigan takes part in a nationwide event to bring together immigrants and U.S.-born community members. According to Christine Sauve, Southeast Michigan communities coordinator, foreign-born residents are three times more likely to open a new business in the state.

Given Michigan's unemployment rate and being the only state in the nation to show a population loss in the last census, Sauve says it's all the more important Michigan does what it can to become more immigrant-friendly.

"Having a vibrant atmosphere, with music, dance and food of all the different ethnicities and cultures creates a place where people want to stay," she says.

As part of the Welcoming Week celebration, Detroit will officially be named Michigan's fifth "Welcoming City," a designation given to places that are actively working to create immigrant-friendly environments.

Sauve says while immigration policy reform may be stalled at the national level, that isn't stopping forward-thinking communities from doing what they can to position themselves as globally competitive.

"Cities and states are looking at their local populations and saying, 'What do we need to do to make this environment more prosperous for everyone, so that opportunities aren't lost,'" she says.

Welcoming Week also includes a chance for community leaders from across the state to dialogue and share best practices. A full list of the week's activities is online at "WelcomingMichigan.org."

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI