OPED: York part of 'Welcoming America'

Joan Maruskin
New Freedom

The community, local organizations and faith-based groups are invited to join Mayor Kim Bracey and the York YMCA to celebrate York as a welcoming city and be a part of the “Welcoming America Partnership.” 

Ruth Tineo holds her son Joshua, 3, as they socialize during the Resource Fair at Welcoming week Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Foundry Park. Amanda J. Cain photo

It is a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by making everyone feel like they belong. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors who are vital to the success of our communities and shared future. As one of the first and foremost historic cities in this nation, our immigrant roots are our foundation. And immigrants continue to make positive additions to our community.

As the immigration debate continues on many levels, being a welcoming city assures that we exhibit a positive image and voice in the national conversation.  

York's  immigrant ancestors set the foundation for this great nation, which has been built by the hearts, hands, and minds of willing immigrants as well as others forcibly brought here to forge the new world. Together we toiled, and struggled, (and continue to struggle), to create a diverse community that is a beacon of light to the world. 

At this point in history we will come together from September 15th through 24th to celebrate Welcoming Week. The events will be coordinated by Craig Wolf, York YMCA Director of Community Development and a team from a wide variety of organizations, including the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) and York Literacy Council, committed to building a welcoming community for everyone.      

This is an invitation for you and all organizations and faith-based groups to add to the planned Welcoming Week events. The week focuses on the role of present day immigrants as part of York's diverse and most intriguing cultures. 

Planned events include Mayor Bracey's proclamation followed by an educational event on “Who are Our Immigrants” at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18. There will be a Pedicab tour of immigrant businesses on Thursday, and a closing event on Saturday. 

Other events are in the works . . . and this is where you come in. Please join the celebration by planning and hosting other organized and faith based specific events that embrace diversity; welcome immigrants without regard to status; and highlight the role that immigration has and continues to play in all of our lives. 

The events can be of any size and focus: educational, theological, commercial, cultural, political, entertaining, philosophical, spiritual, or simply a gathering to celebrate diversity and welcome immigrants. 

If you have questions, or would like suggestions for how and what to plan and/or wish to publicize your plans to celebrate, please email me at jmmaruskin@gmail.com  or call 443-775-1609. Your event may be promoted as part of the Welcoming Week calendar of events.  

— Joan Maruskin is a retired UMC minister. She is a resident of New Freedom.