Mayor’s OIRA Participates Community Celebration

Informational event regarding immigrant and refugee affairs will occur Sunday, August 20th 


Albuquerque New MexicoAlbuquerque, NM- In July 2016, Mayor Richard J. Berry and the City of Albuquerque were awarded a multi-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to launch an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) within the City of Albuquerque. To inform and give feedback to OIRA, the Creative Community Engagement cohort of immigrant and refugee community leaders will be hosting a storytelling gathering celebrating Albuquerque’s international community. The event, “Making Albuquerque Home,” is a culmination of a months-long process engaging Albuquerque residents from across the globe. The event will take place Sunday, August 20th, at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Building Auditorium.


The City’s OIRA connects immigrants and refugees to services that improve family and economic well-being. A cross-sector, collective impact approach has been taken to connect these groups with culturally-relevant, linguistically appropriate services within city government, improve access to services offered by community partners and the city’s public facilities, and to inform city policy as it relates to immigrant and refugee affairs. The OIRA will establish a central point of contact within city government to assist in navigating city and community resources, including workforce development, early childhood, business development, legal services, and other support services to strengthen families.


“Here in Albuquerque, we are a welcoming and inclusive place to live and raise our families,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry.  “I will do everything I can to make sure that diversity is not only tolerated, but celebrated in our city. There is no better way to celebrate and share one’s culture and experience than over great food and conversation.”

The evening will begin with an informal meal of homemade dishes from around the world, including the Congo, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Iraq. Following the meal, project collaborator, Generation Justice, will highlight three stories gathered during the community engagement process. Attendees will then participate in small group conversations facilitated by members of the cohort. The conversations will focus on the theme of home – What makes Albuquerque feel like home? How might we create a city that feels like home for all of its residents? Finally, a creative report back to the large group will round out the dialogue. The evening will end with a resource fair tabled by organizations and agencies that serve immigrants and refugees.


Michelle Otero, Community Engagement Coordinator and organizer of the event, says, “This is an opportunity to build relationships between refugees, immigrants, and more long-term residents of our community. When we share a meal together and hear one another’s stories, we begin to see each other as human beings, as neighbors.”


The City of Albuquerque Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is funded through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The City has relied on guidance from a steering committee composed of organizations that serve immigrants and refugees including Encuentro, Catholic Charities, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, United We Dream, the UNM Health Sciences Center Pathways Program, the UNM Refugee Well-being Project, the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, the Immigrant and Refugee Village of Albuquerque, and the New Mexico Asian Family Center. Members of the Creative Community Engagement cohort were selected through a competitive process based on applicants’ demonstrated work in their respective communities. The cohort is composed of ten community leaders representing seven countries and nine languages.


The event is free and open to the public. Childcare, interpretation, and a light dinner will be provided. For more information, contact the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, 505-768-3040 or [email protected] or visit cabq.gov/office-of-immigrant-refugee-affairs.


Making Albuquerque Home: A storytelling gathering celebrating Albuquerque’s immigrant and refugee communities

August 20, 2017 5:00 – 8:00 PM

UNM Continuing Education

1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Free event, Free childcare

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