A welcoming community?

The term “welcoming community” has appeared on local TV news reports out of Erie, PA recently. It became a popular term which appealed to, and has often been used by, governments, consultants, and many other parties with an interest in immigration. The term and its usage remains vague and elusive.

Yet, today I have thought often if we are a welcoming community.

Consider a welcoming community as a place where there is a strong desire to receive newcomers and to create an environment in which they will feel at home. Ultimately, a welcoming community attracts and retains newcomers by identifying and removing barriers and in promoting a sense of belonging. A welcoming community focuses on meeting diverse individual needs and in offering services that promote successful integration into a neighborhood and city for all of its residents.

When we moved to Warren several years ago I experienced an extravagant welcome to this city and the neighborhood we bought a home in. Neighbors brought over food and introductions were easily made. I was quickly included by others to volunteer and become a member of boards. We found a place of worship that welcomed me and our family with open arms.

That is all good.

For others I am sure the experience is not the same.

What I am asking is are we a welcoming community of those that may not look like us, talk like us, or believe like us. I challenge myself and others in the wonderful community of Warren, PA to reach out to one another…for together as a diverse city we will become stronger.

Forward Together,

Douglas Hearn