Our Turn: Welcome Concord’s immigrants

  • Yamileth Amu Bolaños (left) and Sindy Chown perform a Colombian salsa style dance during the Concord Multicultural Festival downtown on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Published: 8/22/2016 12:10:13 AM

Concord is a much more culturally diverse city than it was just a few short years ago. As Concord has welcomed new neighbors from around the world, we all enjoy a new richness of experience and opportunity right here in the state capital.

Today, more than 2,700 immigrants and refugees – or about 7 percent of the city’s population – call Concord home.

Nearly 20 organizations and agencies in Concord are working to connect our new neighbors to their community – from providing support as they develop and launch new businesses to helping them navigate the maze of new cultural norms and systems. And local business leaders are hiring newcomers for their skills and dedication.

Concord’s mayor and city council recently passed a resolution affirming the city’s commitment to welcoming immigrants and integrating them fully into the social and civic fabric of the city’s neighborhoods and community at large. Concord is doing so as part of the national Welcoming America movement, which supports communities in welcoming immigrants and building prosperity and opportunity for all.

We commend the mayor and council for this forward-looking vision, and for their efforts that have already made Concord richer – culturally and economically – by integrating our newest neighbors.

Welcoming newcomers is not only the neighborly thing to do, it’s an economic imperative. As our population ages and its growth remains flat or declining, immigrants are critical to our state’s economic vitality. Welcoming them makes sense.

Our new neighbors are working, they are running small businesses and buying homes, they are paying taxes, studying in schools and colleges. Some are our doctors. Some are working in New Hampshire’s growing high-tech sector. Many are U.S. citizens.

Concord, like so many other New Hampshire communities, grew out of many cultures, and its future prosperity depends on welcoming immigrants and helping them to reach their full potential. Concord is one of four New Hampshire cities (along with Nashua, Manchester and Laconia) participating in the Immigrant Integration Initiative. In each community, city government and community leaders are creating a culture of inclusion, making sure that immigrants and refugees are welcomed and connected.

We’d like to thank the Concord city council and Mayor Bouley for their efforts to make Concord a welcoming city.

We would encourage everyone in Concord to learn more by visiting welcomingnh.org. Get involved in the great work happening in your community to build a stronger future for all.

(Eva Costillo is director of Welcoming New Hampshire. Dr. Yvonne Goldsberry is president of the Endowment for Health. Richard Ober is president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.)

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