Welcome, Neighbor: Making LA the most welcoming place in America
"Welcome, Neighbor" is a campaign to activate Angelenos across the city through their Neighborhood Councils to welcome and support their newest neighbors, refugee families resettling in Los Angeles.
What does your organization do?
Miry’s List is a nonprofit that helps families and individuals resettling in the U.S. as refugees by connecting them to the people, things, and services they need as they begin their new lives.
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
“Welcome, Neighbor” will activate people across LA to welcome and support their newest neighbors – resettling refugees. Working through the Neighborhood Councils, we will give Angelenos useful tools and actionable steps they can take to reach out to and support these individuals and families. We believe that a Los Angeles where neighborhoods come together to welcome refugees with open arms will be a better, more compassionate, and more engaged place for all Angelenos.
Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?
- Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
- Participation in neighborhood councils
- Rates of volunteerism
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Digital organizing or activism
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Increase participation in political processes
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
- Increase donations to organizations and causes
- Help Angelenos learn about, connect with, and help their newest neighbors; encourage participation in Neighborhood Councils
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?
“Welcome, Neighbor,” a collaboration of Miry’s List and the LA Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) with support from other city departments, will activate 100,000 Angelenos over the next two years to work through their Neighborhood Councils to help resettling refugees. Designed to bring people together in neighborhoods across the city, the program will provide simple, meaningful, and impactful ways to support our newest neighbors while promoting volunteerism and Neighborhood Council participation.
The program will have four stages:
LEARN: In June 2018 (prior to the grant period), we will kick off with a New Arrival Festival at Grand Park in Downtown LA cosponsored by Miry’s List, DONE, and other city departments and elected officials. This free, public event celebrating the city’s designation of June as New Arrival Month will feature educational panels, music, and food from around the world. Speakers will include representatives from the refugee community, experts, advocates, and city elected officials.
RESOLVE: Neighborhood Councils across the city will vote on and adopt the Neighborhood Welcoming Resolution written by Miry’s List founder Miry Whitehill and adopted by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and the City of Los Angeles in 2017. You can read the resolution at www.miryslist.org/neighborhood-welcoming-resolution
COMMIT: Each participating Council will form a Welcoming Committee to foster refugee and immigrant inclusivity. The Welcoming Committee will oversee and lead the Welcoming Actions detailed below.
ACTIVATE: Led by the Welcoming Committee, each participating Council will take Welcoming Actions – tangible steps, curated by Miry’s List, to support resettling individuals and families. Each council can choose actions that align with its goals and capabilities. In addition to supporting resettling refugees, these Welcome Actions will help increase participation in the Neighborhood Councils. The menu of possible Welcoming Actions includes:
–Make Council board meetings a drop-off zone for donations
–Invite someone experiencing resettlement to a meeting to share their experiences
–Host a town hall on refugee resettlement to educate neighbors
–Host a community dinner party to introduce community members to the incredible foods and cultures of our newest neighbors
–Adopt a resettling family’s wishlist of needed items and activate neighbors to send them welcome gifts and notes
–Assign a Welcoming Committee chairperson to provide regular, monthly board meeting updates about immigrants and resettling neighbors in the community
Through these stages and actions, “Welcome, Neighbor” will provide resettling individuals and families with social and emotional support, promote participation in Neighborhood Councils, and boost volunteerism. Ultimately, we believe that an LA where neighbors come together to welcome refugees will be a better, more compassionate, and more engaged city for all its residents.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect
Miry’s List, DONE, Neighborhood Councils, and other partners will activate Angelenos as follows:
The New Arrival Festival in June, which falls prior to the grant period, will enable us to introduce “Welcome, Neighbor,” sign up thousands of volunteers, and generate enthusiasm.
This will be followed by a kickoff meeting hosted by DONE to educate Council board members about the program and invite them to participate. There are 96 Neighborhood Councils and 1,500+ board members: this group of leaders is the first that we must activate. Each Council represents an average of 38,0000 people, and about 25,000 voted in the latest Council elections.
Participating Councils will then use meetings, email lists, and social media to recruit Angelenos to join Welcoming Committees and take part in Welcoming Actions. These actions are the primary form of activation and the heart of the program.
Miry’s List and DONE will also promote “Welcome, Neighbor” in the following ways:
–15,000+ subscribers/week via DONE email newsletter
–15,000+ listeners/week via EmpowerLA podcast
–5,000+ followers of DONE on social media
–13,000+ followers of Miry’s List on social media
–1,800+ supporters/month via Miry’s List emails
–1000s of Angelenos through respective websites
–Outreach to other community organizations
–Online/social media advertising
We are also in conversation with several other city elected officials and departments about how they can help us with the activation.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
We will track the following quantitative metrics to help us gauge our success:
–The number of Neighborhood Councils enrolled in the “Welcome, Neighbor” program
–The number of Neighborhood Welcome Resolutions adopted
–The number of Welcoming Committees formed
–The number of Welcoming Actions completed
–The number of volunteers who sign up
–The number of event attendees
–The number of resettling individuals and/or families served
–The increase in Neighborhood Council participation – for instance, increased attendance at board meetings, increased voting in Council elections, and/or increase in social media followers
–The number of city elected officials and departments engaged as partners
We will also seek qualitative feedback from the Neighborhood Councils, the individuals and families served, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, and other partners.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
In five years, we hope that “Welcome, Neighbor” will be an ongoing program that continues to engage hundreds of thousands of Angelenos and makes a tangible impact on the lives of new arrival/resettling individuals and families.
We hope that by bringing Angelenos together with resettling individuals and families, they can get to know one another, learn about each other’s experiences, and build mutual trust and respect.
We hope the individuals and families touched by the program will feel safe, secure, and welcome in their new neighborhoods and will have become part of the fabric of their communities – including as active and engaged members of their Neighborhood Councils.
We hope to connect the Angelenos who volunteer, attend events, or otherwise participate with one another and with their Neighborhood Councils, and to foster broader and deeper participation in the Neighborhood Council system.
We hope that DONE and other city leaders and departments will continue to lend us their support, and that this partnership will help inform them about the needs of resettling refugees and spark new ideas for serving this community.
And we hope that LA – this diverse city of immigrants – will serve as a model for other cities in our region, our state, and throughout the nation that want to stand up, in the best traditions of America, to welcome immigrants and refugees as valuable additions to their communities.
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