YMCA of the USA Joins Welcoming America & Hundreds of Communities Nationwide to Celebrate New Americans During Welcoming Week 
Welcoming Week to Kick Off with L.A. Event featuring Panel Discussion, Resource Fair and Cultural Activities

CHICAGO (Sept. 10, 2018) — Starting this Friday, September 14 and running through September 23, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) joins local Ys and other organizations for Welcoming America's Welcoming Week, a national celebration designed to honor immigrants' contributions to society and bring people from all backgrounds together in a spirit of unity through community-based events. The Y's Welcoming Week events are open to the public and include activities to build awareness of the diversity within a community and promote cross-cultural understanding between immigrants and U.S.-born residents.

Immigrants are an integral part of the fabric of America, past and present, and communities that are welcoming can benefit economically, socially and culturally. The socioeconomic impact of the newcomer population is indisputable: 1 in 4 new businesses in the U.S. is started by immigrants. Immigrant-owned small businesses employ 4.7 million workers and generate $776 billion in revenue. Additionally, immigrant-led households represent over $9.3 trillion of the U.S. spending power. Forty-eight percent of newcomers aged 25 and up hold a college degree and more than 18 percent of scientists and engineers in the U.S. are immigrants. When given the opportunity, newcomers offer immense value that benefits all members of our communities, and the Y and Welcoming America are committed to ensuring that value is realized for all.

"At the Y, we believe that our communities are stronger and more vibrant when everyone feels welcome and can fully contribute their unique talents for the greater good," said Kevin Washington, President and CEO of Y-USA. "Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S.-born residents to come together and celebrate what unites us as a community."

This year, Ys across the U.S. will host events at nearly 1,000 locations. Programming will kick off with an event Opens a new window this Friday, September 14 from 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM PST at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles in partnership with Y-USA and Welcoming America. The event will feature a resource fair, cultural activities led by Get Empowered!, and a panel discussion entitled: "When All Are Welcome: Partnerships and Policies that Nurture Thriving Communities."

The panel will be moderated by Felicia Escobar, Director of Immigration at the Beacon Fund and former Special Assistant to the President for Immigration Policy under the Obama Administration. Panelists include Maria De La Luz Garcia, Director of Census 2020 Initiative – Los AngelesMayor's Office; Efrain Escobedo, Vice President, Education & Immigration – California Community Foundation; Lynda Gonzales-Chavez, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer – YMCA of the USA; Stewart Kwoh, founding President and Executive Director – Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles; and Rachel Peric, Executive Director – Welcoming America.

Additional community leaders on hand to give remarks include: Alan Hostrup, President & CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles and Michael Moore, Chief of Police, Los Angeles Police Department.

"Welcoming Week events are part of a powerful and growing movement in our country and around the world, demonstrating that communities want to be welcoming," said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. "They are a reminder of the resilient and inclusive spirit of American communities. Thousands of local leaders nationwide are bringing their communities together to bridge divides and build stronger local economies where everyone belongs."  

Welcoming Week runs from September 14-23, in communities large and small nationwide. To learn more and find a Welcoming Week event near you, visit http://www.ymca.net/welcoming-week Opens a new window.

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About the Y 
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net Opens a new window

Contact:  
Emily Waldren   
YMCA of the USA
312-419-8756  
media@ymca.net Opens a new window

Monday, September 10, 2018

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