Building a community of neighbors starts right where you are: in your neighborhood, and there are many ways you can make a difference. Together, let’s build bridges and find common ground. Let’s show all people that our differing identities make our communities and nation stronger.
Here is our growing list of ways that you personally can put your welcoming spirit into practice in everyday life.
1. Call the White House about Executive Orders via form: or switchboard (202-456-1414) to encourage the President to reconsider immigration restrictions.
2. Call your U.S. Senators and Representatives and tell them immigrants and refugees are valued contributors to our communities, and that our country should live up to its values and remaining a welcoming place.
Ask them to support The Bridge Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, (S.128/H.R. 496). The BRIDGE Act protects the dignity of DACA-eligible youth by ensuring that these individuals, who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation, can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time to a country they do not know and separated from their families.
Ask them to work with the Trump Administration to reverse the Executive Orders on immigration and refugee resettlement. If you are represented by a Republican, this is especially important as Rep. Susan Brooks is the only Republican member in Congress from Indiana who has spoken out against the Executive Orders.
3. Write an op-ed for your local newspaper opposing the Executive Orders and sharing how immigrants and refugees are important contributors to your community. Here are tips for writing an op-ed.
4. Thank your local officials who stand up for immigrants and refugees. Call to thank Congressman Andre Carson, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Senator Joe Donnelly, and other local officials who are supporting immigrants and refugees, or urge them to do so. https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
If you need help, here is a template for you to use:“I am your constituent from [City]. Thank you mayor/county executive/local leader for standing up for immigrants and refugees. I am proud to live in a community that is welcoming and stands up for the most vulnerable in our community. It’s not only the right thing to do but our community is vibrant in part because of the diversity of thought, culture and experiences that immigrants and refugees bring to our neighborhoods.
Thanks again and know that you can count on my support, too.-[Your Name]”
5. Tweet about how you and your community welcomes refugees and immigrants, using #Welcome2Indy
6. Host a community dialogue. In a supportive and safe environment, participants can express their concerns and fears. Dialogues are a great way to bring those with different opinions together, understand other points of view, reflect on their own perceptions, and help you strengthen your community for everyone. Here’s a great resource to plan a community dialogue.
7. Engage with local decision-makers. Write an op-ed on an issue you feel strongly about, urge your mayor or city council to promote welcoming values for everyone, or share how your community can join Welcoming America for access to resources, training, and a national network of communities who are actively planning to be inclusive to all residents. If you live in Indianapolis, join the Welcoming Cities team through the Immigrant Welcome Center.
8. Change the message. At a time when many people are feeling unwelcome and unsafe, use national resources to reaffirm shared values and support all your neighbors. Start this critical discussion today by downloading Welcoming America’s latest resources:
Stand Together: Messaging to Support Muslims and Refugees in Challenging Times
America Needs All of Us: A Toolkit for Talking about Bias, Race, and Change
9. Support local organizations that help immigrants and refugees. Jump in! We need your help more than ever. Volunteer, donate, or support a refugee family. Locally, there are lots of immigrant- and refugee-serving organizations, including the Immigrant Welcome Center, LaPlaza, Indiana Latino Institute, Burmese-American Cultural Institute, Exodus, and Catholic Charities Indianapolis’s Immigrant and Refugee Services program.
11. Fight back against hate. The Southern Poverty Law Center outlines 10 principles for communities to fight hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities.
12. Follow the Immigrant Welcome Center on social media and share our content. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the welcoming stories of immigrants and refugees and our communities. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to get monthly updates on IWC happenings!
13. Organize a neighborhood get together. “How to welcome is something we need to help people with. Bringing people together with food creates a platform for international exchange where they are able to interact on an equal footing,” said Veena Prasad, Potluck for Peace Co-Organizer. Take some tips from this Potluck for Peace event, which brought together diverse neighbors over food, music, and conversation.
14. Show a documentary at your school or place of worship. Bring together members of your community to watch “Welcome to Shelbyville,” a documentary about fostering dialogue between native-born and foreign-born residents. Contact us at 317.808.2340 to make arrangements.
15. Wave flags of welcome. Follow the example of Sumner Elementary School and host a “flag walk” to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
16. Buy a yard sign for your home, office, school, or place of worship. Available for $15 at the Immigrant Welcome Center, 901 Shelby Street, third floor, Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Cash, check, and credit cards accepted. Proceeds benefit the Immigrant Welcome Center.
17. Upadate you Facebook profile photo and use #ImmigrantDescendant
18. Invite the immigrant welcome center to present at an upcoming meeting of your organization, business, civic group or place of worship. Contact Executive Director Terri Morris Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
19. Donate to the immigrant welcome center in honor of a friend, family member, or ancestor. Make a donation to the Immigrant Welcome Center in honor of someone you love and share why they inspire you on social media using #Welcome2Indy www.immigrantwelcomecenter.org/donate
20. Share data on how immigrants are contributing locally.
For PDF version of these 20 Ways to Welcome please click here.