You and I know, or we can imagine, how hard it is to leave everything behind to start a new life far from home. Yet all too often, our society makes it even harder than it already is.
I work with immigrants every day who want to be given a chance, to be seen as part of their communities, to get more involved in their children’s schools. Providing that opportunity is not only what’s right, it’s what is going to make us all more successful together. I hope you will consider making a year-end donation to support our efforts to make that happen.
In 2009, Uniting NC was started at a time when many seemed to talk about and treat immigrants more like alien invaders than people like themselves. Since that time, we have brought together over 5,000 recent immigrants and longtime residents for community dialogues and service projects that give back to their communities. It might seem like a drop in the bucket, but we’ve seen how it can change people’s perceptions, and we were proud to have received the N.C. Peace Prize for this work.
In September I was invited to the White House to be recognized for our work as a Champion of Change. I can think of many people more deserving of that honor, but it was great to see our work getting noticed. And it needs to be noticed. And it needs to grow. One in eight Americans is foreign-born, and so much of our future will be determined by their success and ability to contribute their hard work and ideas.
This year we began a new school program that pairs English-speaking and Spanish-speaking parents to meet weekly for language exchange and to discuss their children’s education. In addition to learning a new language, parents say they understand better how to help their children with homework and support their education. It’s a model that works, but we need additional funding to spread the program to other schools and provide more parents with this opportunity.
Keep us moving forward. With your help, we can stand together on the right side of history – among those that welcomed our new neighbors, helped them succeed and together made our home an even better place to live. Please make a donation now to support this work.