In George Orwell’s book, 1984, he emphasizes the societal problem of people having a negative attitude towards foreigners, especially immigrants and refugees. I think this is a prediction of a problem we are seeing in the United States today, as immigration and diversity are increasingly growing. The problem is that society, as a whole, doesn’t treat foreigners and refugees with equal respect and compassion as people born and raised in America. This has become a serious issue because more and more people are coming to the US every day in search of better opportunities, and we should be helping them obtain these rather than pushing them away. Fortunately, we have the resources necessary to come up with a solution to fix this problem. As a community, we can initiate “welcoming movements” to promote positive relationships, and we can provide quality education to immigrant children so that they can set up a good foundation for future generations.
An article by David Bornstein talks about different cities that are working towards beginning “welcoming” movements by creating plans and committees to attract immigrants and to create healthy relationships between foreigners and those who take them in. He says that these solutions can be implemented in a variety of ways throughout the country. For example, “Welcoming Michigan” was started in 2012 to become more welcoming to immigrants by overcoming barriers. A way in which they did this was through the Hamtramck World’s Fair which consisted of performances, celebrations, food, and opportunities to become familiar with newcomers. Some people are afraid that these changes in their hometowns will replace the cities they grew up in, but in fact, they will enhance the community by including just a broader sect of people. Economic research also shows that immigrants and their children have created 40% of the United States greatest 500 companies.
Another article, Why American Cities Are Fighting to Attract Immigrants by Ted Hesson, recognizes that immigrants boost the workforce and increase economic activity so much so that cities have tried to guide these people into mainstream society and economy as a solution to the prejudices that have been created. An example of this solution being implemented is in Nashville, Tennessee through the “Welcoming Tennessee” nonprofit organization. This group highlights the contributions of immigrants and the crucial role they could play in Nashville’s future by putting up billboards that portray immigrants in a positive light. An example of a saying put on one of these billboards is, “Welcome the Immigrant you once were”. They also directly help these newcomers adjust to life in the United States through education and work permits to find jobs. An objection to this is that there is a lack of resources, but by appealing to everyone, there could be an increased participation therefore leading to more contributions from both public and private sectors. For example, foreign-born residents currently make up 13% of America’s population which contributes drastically to the consumer market.
In addition to these “welcoming initiatives”, there are also many other organizations that are working on creating programs and quality content so that refugee children can receive a fair and equal treatment, and cope with their trauma. In a youtube video published by “Sesame Street International Social Impact”, they announce that Sesame Street and the IRC (International Rescue Committee) are working together to help refugee children. They are implementing these solutions by making educational books and creating lessons taught by muppets that reach refugee children at a young age. This will encourage the kids to value learning and to spread this ideal to their peers as well. In addition to this, these two groups are also working together in the crisis setting to help these refugee children cope with their trauma. This will allow them to create good relationships with other people, especially with their parents. Although these implementations present a language barrier, it is easy to overcome with the help of a couple translators and a willingness to learn a new language.
Overall, these “welcoming” movements and educational programs can immensely help create a better attitude towards foreigners especially immigrants and refugees. Hopefully these efforts can create better relationships between the newcomers and those who take them in so that we can learn to merge the two cultures to create a more understanding and diverse society. If we take charge of this issue now, there will many possibilities of creating a future community where there are no longer any prejudices against these people, and instead we learn to accept their culture and incorporate it into ours.