Immigrants are a valued part of our communities, and it’s important we do what we can to show them we care and advocate for their inclusion. We’ve been doing this through our Puentes de Esperanza program for 17 years, which helps our Spanish-speaking neighbors find the resources they need to realize the wholeness of life that God intends for them. But it isn’t only on organizations like ours to show them love. Here are concrete ways you can do it too:
Be A Good Neighbor
Throw a neighborhood BBQ and invite their families, help them buy groceries as they’re settling in, tutor them in English if they’re having a difficult time adjusting to a potentially new language or volunteer at a local nonprofit that works with immigrants and refugees, such as Puentes de Esperanza.
Educate yourself on your neighbors’ unique and rich experience. Ask them about their story (if they’re comfortable sharing), or go to your local library to rent books or watch a documentary or film about the lives of immigrants. Also, you can ask your local libraries, museums and community centers to consider hosting events centered around immigrant perspectives.
Both professionally and politically, immigrants are in need of advocates. Speak up for their inclusion and rights at your workplace. Help your immigrant neighbors find jobs after settling into their new homes. Write or call your elected officials regarding immigration reform to make sure that equitable treatment is a legislative priority. Stay up-to-date on the latest policies affecting immigrants and find meaningful ways to actively support them.
Engaging with, supporting and advocating for our immigrants can be a rewarding and enriching experience for all parties involved because it builds community and empathy as we seek out ways to learn about people different from ourselves.