Fort Wayne receives national recognition

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Press release from the City of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne receives national recognition

(November 2, 2010) – Fort Wayne has been chosen as one of 20 cities from across the country to be included in a national report recognizing successful immigrant integration programs and specifically highlights the City of Fort Wayne’s Hispanic Immigrant Liaison Palermo Galindo.

The report, Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: 20 Cities, 20 Good Practices, is produced by the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration (MAII) program.

The City of Fort Wayne recognizes that local government plays a central role in developing and implementing immigrant integration programs. The programs featured in the report exemplify successful public-private partnerships, advisory initiatives and action-oriented programs to help immigrants successfully acclimate to their new homes.

“I commend Palermo’s dedication to the City of Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Palermo’s recognition for creating one of the best immigrant integration programs is a direct reflection of the quality personnel working for our City and what we strive to accomplish as a community.”

“This award is a great way to positively showcase Fort Wayne as a model city for others that have challenges with immigrants or refugees,” said Galindo. “We work with the community to help bring successful integration to Fort Wayne newcomers.”

Galindo credited the award to collaborative effort among more than twenty locally-based organizations such as Multicultural Council of Greater Fort Wayne, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-Fort Wayne), United Way of Allen County, American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana’s MIX Program, Catholic Charities, Darfur Women Peace & Development, Northeastern Center, Inc.’s Bienvenido Program, Burmese Advocacy Center and United Hispanic Americans.

“We had several projects we have worked on in Fort Wayne such as the NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign, which provides information on Access Channel about citizenship and voting in Spanish and English,” said Galindo.

Galindo, who is Spanish and English speaking, said the city teams works with local organizations to provide interpreters for residents. Overcoming language and cultural barriers helps ensure successful communication for those seeking assistance and also those providing it.

The benefits ultimately outweigh the challenges, said Galindo, regarding immigrant issues.

“Immigrants strengthen our communities by bringing cultural and educational resources which help create economic opportunities. Local governments must provide necessary services to ensure a smooth transition for both the immigrants and the communities,” said Ricardo Gambetta, NLC’s manager. “The leaders of Fort Wayne are taking it upon themselves to respond to local integration challenges and should be proud to be showcased as an outstanding national example.”

“We hope that immigrants recognize they have resources available to assist them in Fort Wayne,” said Galindo. “Sometimes when a person’s native language isn’t English, they can feel intimidated when contacting the City. We are working to change that mindset. We are not only able to help, but more importantly, we want to help immigrants fully integrate into Fort Wayne.”


Additional resources:

For more information on the Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration program, click here.

Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: 20 Cities, 20 Good Practices is now available. The report is the second in the American Cities Series and highlights initiatives in twenty cities. Download the report by clicking here.


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