Recapping Immigrant Heritage Month

New Americans

By: Catalina Rodriguez-Lima |  June 30, 2015 

Catalina Rodriguez-Lima is the Director of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs.

As Immigrant Heritage Month comes to an end, I would like us to once again reflect on Baltimore’s rich ethnic heritage and our history as a welcoming home to New Americans.  For over 200 years, men, women and families have traveled to Baltimore, seeking out new opportunities, building their businesses, raising their families and enriching our communities.

We continue to see the contributions of immigrants in Baltimore today. Initiated by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s proclamation of June 2015 as Immigrant Heritage Month, we celebrated and highlighted the stories of four immigrant-owned businesses through the Baltimore Business Spotlight and three extraordinary individuals and families in the Resilience Project. Also, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to offer a tailored training on accessing immigrant and community data, ensuring that our valuable partners continue to have the tools and information they need to further their vital work.

A month honoring immigrant heritage would not be complete without a celebration, and there were many. During an uplifting event for World Refugee Day, we highlighted the important work of our partners who serve the refugee and humanitarian immigrant community. At the 35th Anniversary of the LatinoFest Mayor Rawlings-Blake enjoyed performances and commended the work of Education-Based Latino Outreach (EBLO). The celebrations continued as we hosted the 10th Anniversary of National Caribbean American-Heritage Month at City Hall, complete with a steel drum, Caribbean dancers and my favorite jerk chicken.

Immigrant Heritage is also about welcoming new Americans. The Mayor had the honor to speak at a naturalization ceremony at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office and witness 39 individuals from 26 different countries become citizens of our great country. During her remarks, the Mayor urged these new citizens to continue to make their voices heard and be active in their communities.

The Mayor’s administration is committed to promote and elevate both the stories and needs of our immigrant communities. We look forward to another year of working with the most diverse, resilient and proud communities in the country and celebrating our successes together next June.

Learn more about the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs.

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