Philadelphia and cities across the country are welcoming Immigrant Heritage Month, the annual June celebration of community, family, food and love.
All month, the city will highlight immigrant contributions to the metro region and to the United States. This year, the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has added Immigrant Business Week, aiming to match entrepreneurs with resources that can help them start and grow their own companies.
Heritage Month marks its eighth year nationally and its fifth in Philadelphia, this one coming as the country emerges from a pandemic that disproportionately harmed people of color. Immigrant workers kept people fed, sheltered and safe, with many working on the front lines at hospitals and health clinics.
“We have witnessed how our local immigrant leaders and organizations have stood up and shown up — not just for their own communities but also for the greater Philadelphia region,” Mayor Kenney said in a statement as the month kicked off. “We have seen the ways that immigrants have continued to serve and give back to our city and this country, regardless of their immigration status.”
Philadelphia has seen big increases in the number of immigrants working and raising families, which has helped fuel population growth. In 1990, fewer than 7% of Philadelphians were foreign-born, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Today, Census figures show, that’s risen to 14%.
The Kenney administration has sought to make Philadelphia a welcoming city for all immigrants, documented and not. That effort includes fighting and winning a contentious 2018 “sanctuary city” case against the Trump administration, which had sought to withhold grant money to try to force the city to help enforce federal immigration laws.
As part of Heritage Month, the Office of Immigrant Affairs is honoring Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, the city’s official Spanish-language interpreter. Ezquerra Hasbun has provided simultaneous interpretation during the City’s COVID-19 press briefings since March 2020.
A full list of digital and in-person events is available at the 2021 Immigrant Heritage Month event spotlight page. Some highlights:
Philippine Flag raising at City Hall
The Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia will raise the country’s flag at City Hall to commemorate the 123rd Philippine Independence Week. (June 12, noon)
The tenth annual festival continues, screening local and international films online. (Through June 6, phlaff.org)
The three-part virtual series includes elements of a business plan on June 16, researching your industry and identifying competitors on June 23; and using demographics to find target audiences, getting started with financials, and locating free or low-cost assistance on June 30. (June 16-30, register at freelibrary.org)
Free film screening of Nou La: The Haitian Diaspora in Philly, which follows the journeys of Haitian American artists and cultural workers. It’s accessible on Zoom in English and Haitian Creole. (June 23, 7 p.m., eventbrite.com)
Vaxx Up Philly! Vaccine Clinic and Resource Fair
Get your vaccine and also information about services at this walk-up clinic and resource fair held by Philly Counts and city Department of Public Health at the Olney Shopping Center, 101 E. Olney Ave. Residents can get COVID-19 vaccines, city identification cards, and other resources. Multilingual interpreters will be on site. (June 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)
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