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Last month I had the opportunity of filming a seminar at the Atlanta History Center. The seminar was for Welcoming America.org. This is really a great organization. Helping people understand and come together to help immigrants adjust to life in America. I am always objective about the things I film, and the organizations I see. This one I was a little skeptical about before I understood what they stood for. I thought it was going to be a little prejudiced towards Americans, pushing for equal this and that for immigrants. Granted there were a few participants that told their story of hardship and resentment, but overall it was good experiences that I heard.
In short this is the organizations philosophy:
Over the past fifteen years, immigration rates to the United States have reached levels unmatched since the early 1900s. While in 1990 one in twelve Americans was an immigrant, by 2005 that proportion rose to one in eight. Today, many immigrants are making their homes in cities and towns without a history of immigration, such as Nashville, Boise, and Omaha, increasing the risk of misunderstanding, fear and divisions within these communities. Change on this scale is never easy–not for the immigrants themselves, and not for the communities asked to welcome newcomers whose language and culture they may not understand.
Many organizations exist to do the important work of helping immigrants adjust to life here in the United States. In turn, Welcoming America focuses on helping people who were born in this country understand and appreciate their new neighbors.
We believe that just as fertile soil is needed for a seed to grow, receptive communities are critical if immigrants are to thrive. Welcoming America focuses on the communities where new immigrants have made their homes, helping neighbors build relationships built on trust and understanding. Instead of focusing on the seed, we concentrate on preparing the soil in which it will flourish.
America is seen as a land of opportunity to those seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Our communities are strongest when everyone who lives in them feels welcome.
To me It seems like a great concept, and one we will need in order for this country to survive. We are all immigrants here, so to speak, but we should ALL become better Americans, including those coming to this country. My humble opinion in this matter; make this your own country, live it-love it, do not try to bring your country and culture here. If you want to live in America, be an American. That is the only way we can be closer instead of the outsiders coming in and keeping their own selves divided from the rest. Overall I had a great experience.