On December 18th, the world celebrates the International Migrants Day, a day set aside to recognize the important contribution of migrants while highlighting the challenges they face around the globe. This day is an occasion to celebrate the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and identities, and to recognize the hardships faced by many migrants and refugees.
On this day in 1990, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. That’s why a decade later, that date was declared the International Migrants Day, as an opportunity to reflect on our shared responsibility to ensure the Human Rights of all migrants, regardless of their immigration status.
For the City of Asheville and its people this day should be a reminder that migrants have been instrumental in the growth of the city, providing valuable resources, skills, and labor. According to the last Census, 7.7% of the City population are Foreign Born, with many more being descendents from people that not so long ago migrated to this region, or even this country.
Additionally, this day is a chance to demonstrate our commitment to creating a more welcoming and inclusive Asheville for all its residents. There are many thing that can be done to so like:
- Get to know and donate to organizations that provide services for migrants and refugees.
- Participate in and support local initiatives that promote the integration of migrants and refugees into the community.
- Offer English language classes and other services to newly arrived migrants or anyone that might need it.
Migrants bring with them a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience that is invaluable to our communities. It is important to understand the migrant experience in order to appreciate the contributions that immigrants make to our community, and furthermore, it offers us an opportunity to learn more about different cultures and lifestyles, and to foster greater understanding and compassion between different communities.
At the City of Asheville we are working towards developing and strengthening strategies to reach out to the non English speaking communities in the area. If you belong or know about an organization that works with them, let us know! Also through Your Voice, Your Choice you have an opportunity to sign up to receive invitations to participate in the matters most important to you.