The Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers at 5200 on 85th Avenue North, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota will today host members of the African community.
The program which will be hosted by the African Immigrant Services or AIS at 5:45 pm is part of a community-based fact-finding project led by advocates for Human Rights which seek to monitor, document, and assess how Minnesota welcomes all residents of the state.
According to a dispatch from Abdullah Kiatamba, Executive Director of African Immigrant Services, the aim of the program is to eliminate anti-immigrant biases and to build a community in which the human rights of all Minnesotans are respected, protected as well as fulfilled.
Mr. Kiatamba said in the dispatch that participants will be encouraged to respond to questions such as, what does “welcome” mean to you as an immigrant, how would you define a welcoming community, and in what areas could Minnesota be more warm and friendly?
These spontaneous questions according to the dispatch will play key roles in guarding advocates and policy change at local, state and national levels respectively.
The event will also provide an opportunity for Minnesotan immigrants to share stories about living in the state and to discuss challenges and opportunities facing their communities.
Robin Philips, Executive Director of The Advocates has expressed excitement in partnering with African Immigrant Services and hearing from community members about their experiences of living in Minnesota. “We define ‘welcome’ as the ability to live with dignity and fully enjoy basic human rights, and we want all Minnesotans to feel welcome in our state.” (Philip)
The community conversation will contribute to the One Voice Minnesota Monitoring Project, a community-based fact finding project organized by The Advocates. The project seeks to investigate to what extent Minnesota welcomes all of its residents, and to evaluate how immigrant experiences in Minnesota compare to international human rights standards.
The first step toward helping Minnesotans realize their human rights and feel truly welcome in their communities is to identify where they stand today and how they can move forward together,” said AIS Executive Director Abdullah Kiatamba.
Mr. Kiatamba has however expressed excitement about how the program is gaining traction on a daily basis. “We are thrilled to be able to provide a forum in which Minnesotans can gather together and share their experiences – both good and bad – of living in Minnesota.” (Kiatamba)
The Advocates will use information gathered at the community conversation and throughout the One Voice Minnesota Monitoring Project to create a “blueprint for welcome” for policy makers and activists. Recommendations will aim to ensure that all Minnesotans feel welcome and enjoy their basic human rights.