Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown was joined by representatives from the International Institute of Buffalo, members of Buffalo’s refugee and immigrant community, Elected leaders and others for a ceremonial flag raising in Niagara Square, where he issued a proclamation in celebration of Welcoming Day, part of an annual celebration to showcase the movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including refugees and immigrants.
Mayor Brown stated, “As we continue to embrace inclusiveness, equity and economic opportunity for all, Welcoming Week has brought neighbors together to celebrate the positive work we do every day throughout our city to ensure we all belong and thrive, no matter where we’ve come from. Buffalo has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants and making resources available to newcomers and their families. I thank my Administration’s Office of New Americans, along with our partners, for uniting us as neighbors and making sure all people can live, work, and prosper. Today, I especially want to recognize members of our growing refugee and immigrant community for contributing to Buffalo’s economic revitalization in neighborhoods citywide.”
Welcoming Day is Buffalo’s local effort as part of Welcoming Week, which is celebrated from September 9th through September 18th, 2022. This year’s theme is “Where we belong”. Launched in 2012 by Welcoming America and its members, Welcoming Week provides individuals and communities the opportunity to proclaim welcoming values through events and local initiatives that foster mutual understanding between immigrants and non-immigrants, as well as deeper belonging for all.
“Welcoming Week provides a perfect opportunity to underscore the vitality and diversity that refugees and immigrants bring to every community in America. No matter where we’re from, or the struggles we’ve endured to get here, we all have an important role to play in the communities where we live now,” says Jennifer Rizzo- Choi, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo. “The theme for this year’s Welcoming Week is ‘Where We Belong.’ For over 100 years, the International Institute has shown refugees and immigrants that where they belong, and where they are most welcome, is right here in Buffalo.”
In addition to the flag raising and proclamation ceremony, where Mayor Brown declared, Tuesday, September 13th, Welcoming Day in the City of Buffalo, he also announced that the top of Buffalo City Hall will be lit in the refugee flag colors (orange and black) at dusk tonight to demonstrate the importance of welcoming refugees and immigrants to Buffalo. He also directed members of the Buffalo Landmark Illumination Team to do the same, including the Peace Bridge, Iskalo Development’s Electric Tower, Buffalo’s Theatre District, and the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.
For over 100 years, the International Institute of Buffalo (IIB) has made Western New York a better place for, and because of, immigrants and refugees. We’re the most trusted and experienced agency of its type in the region, providing comprehensive, vital services to New Americans in our region, including resettlement & integration services, job training, domestic violence/ human trafficking survivor support, and interpretation and translation services. We are a non-sectarian non-profit organization. We always have (and always will) help all immigrants and refugees in need, no matter their religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.
Aside from being the “Ellis Island of Western New York,” IIB is the conduit between our community and the rest of the world, hosting international delegations and foreign dignitaries. We also educate students about other countries and their cultures, underscoring the importance of international diplomacy with programs such as the Model UN.
Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.