How Government Is Recognizing Diversity + 17 Ways To Celebrate This Weekend | Philly Views
September 22, 2017

How Government Is Recognizing Diversity + 17 Ways To Celebrate This Weekend

If you passed through City Hall this week, you may have noticed something is a little different.

Surrounding the Municipal Services Building – you know, the one with the Rizzo Statue? – is an installation of 26 posters.  A diverse population of people spans the images, each one marked with a word and a letter.  S, for example, is for Stereotype. It captions a photo of a young Asian woman holding a statistics book.


This is the Immigrant Alphabet.

It’s a three-month art installation that debuted last Friday to kick off Welcoming Weeka celebration that Miriam Enriquez, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, has summed up in four words: “Welcoming Immigrants, Connecting Communities.”

Enriquez developed this slogan last year, and has used it as the foundation for Welcoming Week events.

“Opening with an art installation was really great, to see all these people outside of MSB, walking around, looking, reading. It’s really heart-warming teaching people about immigration through art,” said Enriquez.

Art is just the beginning.

Enriquez’s brainchild is a collection of 51 ways to celebrate. Heritage Story Potluck brought an array of homemade food and stories to share. The Caribbean Open Mic Competition hosted wordsmiths performing poetry, rap, song, and the like. Free Arabic Classes began Wednesday outside Municipal Services Building. Puerto Rico and Nicaragua saw their flags raised at City Hall, a first for the Nicaraguan flag.


A number of events also promote resources for the immigrant community.  

The Immigration Resources Fair this Saturday, for one, will offer information on free English courses and citizenship classes at the South Philadelphia Library.

The surge in citizen initiative has been another welcomed event.

“Today, I hosted a Twitter chat, “ said Enriquez. “And what we got a lot of was: How can we help our immigrant communities? And one of the answers is: volunteer.”

Enriquez also directed tweeters to The Immigration Action Guide. The guide recommends donating to refugee organizations that face defunding. It also urges readers to call their representatives and voice support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as concern over legislation that would defund Philadelphia and other sanctuary cities.

However, Enriquez is also urging citizens to think of Philadelphia not as a sanctuary city, but as a welcoming one.

“Sanctuary city policies vary for from city to city,” Enriquez explained. “There’s no legal definition of one. Philadelphians have access to services just like anywhere else. I like ‘Welcoming City,’ because it says that we need to treat everyone the same, to even the playing field.”

Welcoming Week is just just one of the approaches the OIA team is taking to achieve this.

Policy, like the free citizenship classes offered by the Bar Association and Take Action Philly as well as  economic development in conjunction with community outreach are the office’s cornerstones for fostering inclusivity.

Enriquez puts it in simpler terms.

“We appreciate you being here, we appreciate your diversity. It’s what makes Philadelphia so great.”

Luckily, there’s an entire weekend (and Monday) of Welcoming Week left to do just that. Even if you only have time for one event this weekend, Enriquez hopes people will make the trip down south for the Philadelphia International Block Party.

“It’s going to be Saturday in South Philly, right before the Ireland vs. Mexico soccer match.  There’s going to be music, food, and sports.  What brings people together more than that?”


17 Ways to Celebrate this Weekend

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony

Friday, September 22 at 11:00 am

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, Skyline Room


Immigrants take the oath of citizenship.


Monument Lab Seguimos Caminando Launch

Friday, September 22 from 7 to 10 pm

North apron of City Hall


Launch of Michelle Angela Ortiz’s animated projections “Seguimos Caminando” (We Keep Walking).  The piece honors mothers detained at Berks Detention Center for immigrant families. It will be projected on City Hall Wednesday and Friday evenings through Nov 19.


Salud! Fundraising Dinner Series for the Garces Foundation

Friday, September 22 during the evening

On Point Bistro, 1200 Point Breeze Ave.

Pay as you go

Donate to Garces Foundation, a Philadelphia service providing free, comprehensive healthcare to immigrants as well as English classes and skills for jobs in the culinary industry.


Global Feast: Under the Cosmopolitan Canopy

Saturday, September 23 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.


Help create a multicultural mural at Reading Terminal Market. Bring pieces of fabric that represent your heritage. Event curated by Peace Day Philly.


Immigration Resource Fair

Saturday, September 23 from 11 am to 2 pm

South Philadelphia Branch, 1700 South Broad St.


Providing information for immigrants, refugees, and asylees on citizenship classes, English classes, food resources, housing information, health care options, employment information, and more.


Verbena Familiar!

Saturday, September 23 from 11 am to 4 pm

Guerin Recreation Center, 2201 S. 16th St.


An event to showcase Venezuelan values and traditions, with a domino tournament, food, kids’ games, bolas criollas (bocce ball) tournament, and more.


Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival

Saturday, September 23 at noon

Chinatown, 10th & Arch


An expression of community pride and responsibility. Youth give a day of service, restaurants donate food, artists offer their talents, businesses and organizations chip in money to make the festival happen.


Monument Lab Saturday Spotlight: Norris Square

Saturday, September 23 from 1 to 4 pm

Norris Square, 2100 N. Howard St.


Spotlight on David Hartt, the artist working on the project combining green space and Afro-Latino community at Norris Square.


Philadelphia International Unity Cup Soccer Games

Saturday, September 23 from 2 to 10:30 pm.

Ramp Playground, 3300-40 Solly Ave.


Ukraine v. Panama (2 pm), Ghana v. Brazil (4 pm), and US v. Honduras (6 pm).


Philadelphia International Block Party

Saturday, September 23 from 4 to 8 pm

Marconi Plaza, 13th and Oregon


Feature event of Welcoming Week. Get ready for immigrant-owned food trucks, cultural dance performances, and craft vendors.


Philadelphia International Unity Cup Soccer Game: Ireland vs. Mexico

Saturday, September 23 from 8 to 10 pm

South Philadelphia Supersite, 11th and Bigler


Soccer game for the Philadelphia Unity Cup.


Puerto Rican Festival Parade

Sunday, September 24 from noon to 2:30 pm

Benjamin Parkway, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


More than 1,500 musicians, performers, local celebrities, and youth groups.


Boricua Fest

Sunday, September 24 from 3 to 7 pm

Fairhill Square Park, 4th and Lehigh


Post-parade concert with the Hispanic community.


Philadelphia International Unity Cup Soccer Games

Sunday, September 24 from 11 am to 10 pm

Various locations


Workshop on the steps to becoming a US citizen, for permanent residents and others.


Naturalization and Citizenship Workshop

Monday, September 25 from 10 to 11 am

Consulate of Mexico, 111 S. Independence Mall E #320


Workshop on the steps and requirements to becoming a citizen.


St. Kitts Flag Raising

Monday, September 25 from noon to 1 pm

Northeast Apron, City Hall


Hosted by the Caribbean American Heritage Collaborative.  An official welcome to our diverse communities from different countries.


Social Innovations to Address Immigrant Needs Symposium

Monday, September 25 from 2:45 to 6:30 pm

Calvary Center for Culture & Community, 841 South 48th Street


A discussion of successful models for delivering services to immigrants and refugees and promoting prom-immigrant policies throughout city government.

One Comment

This is good press for Philly, well deserved. Great information on ways to be a part of it.

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