Welcoming immigrants to Tulsa
The City of Tulsa last week unveiled the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan, an organized effort to make Tulsa a more welcoming place for immigrants and a city where immigrants and other new residents can thrive and build successful lives, careers and businesses.
The plan was announced during a two day public event at Martin Regional Library, a location chosen in part because of its location in East Tulsa, an area considered the heart of Tulsa’s immigrant community.
The plan spans five areas of municipal life, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, Education, Health and Public Safety, areas city officials see as “critical to building a welcoming city.”
Within the five categories are a total of 26 goals the plan has set for Tulsa, goals that range from insuring that immigrants are properly represented on the city’s authorities, boards, and commissions to increasing access for school age students and adults to English language classes and GED programs.
Dr. Bruce Niemi, legislative, education and governmental advisor with the American Dream Coalition (ADC), attended the New Tulsans event at Martin library, and said he was impressed by the plan’s recognition of the need for better public transportation and access to post-secondary education opportunities.
“Latino kids, many of whom are first generation im- migrants, are now a large percentage of the student body in Tulsa schools, and are the majority in many classrooms,” Niemi said, “and when they graduate high school it’s vital that they have a range of educational choices, whether seeking a college degree or attending one of the excellent vocational schools here in Tulsa.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum launched the New Tulsans Initiative just over a year ago, and during the past twelve months a cohesive plan was put together with the input of community leaders and members of the public.
“Ultimately, the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan invites everyone, both immigrants and long-term residents, to build the foundation for economic prosperity, improved health and enhanced quality of life for our entire community,” Bynum said. “By celebrating and valuing our diverse cultures, we can build connections and create strong support networks that can lead to a more unified and welcoming city.”
Bynum has often pointed out that were it not for im- migrants, Tulsa would have lost population in recent years, and in fact between 2010 – 2015, over 27 percent of Tulsa’s population growth can be attributed to immigrants.
Studies by groups such as New American Economy have shown how immigrants have lifted up Tulsa’s economy and will continue to do so if the city acts to further such growth by implementing the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan.
“The immigrant population is a significant portion of our workforce and a growing segment of our population,” said Christina da Silva, the Director of Community Development and the New Tulsans Initiative for the City of Tulsa. “We look forward to working with community members and partners as we implement the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan that will help move our city forward.”
To read the plan in Spanish, including its 26 goals, visit http://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/8525/ntspanishplan-4pg-web.pdf. (La Semana)