Welcoming Greater Charlottesville announces the start of  “Welcoming Week”, which features over 20 creative activities that help us celebrate  and learn about our community’s diverse cultures. The week is focused on  welcoming others to the Charlottesville community in the spirit of equality and  respect by bringing together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to  raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone. Charlottesville is a part of  the Welcoming America network, which provides a roadmap to becoming more  inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. Launched in 2009, Welcoming  America is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has spurred a growing  movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a  Welcoming Community.    

Welcoming Week begins in Charlottesville on September 14, runs through  September 23 and includes activities for all ages. They include C’ville Sabroso, a  Latino festival of culture, music, dance, art, and food on 9/15 at IX Park. “Know Your  Neighbor” on 9/20 at The Haven, a film about Charlottesville/area immigrants and  refugees who fled their home countries to seek a better life in the United States and  settled here. “Dreaming America: Poems by Detained, Undocumented Latin  American Teens” is a play directed and performed by Charlottesville High School  theatre students. 

Among the weeks of events, one of the most engaging activities is the refugee  simulation on September 17 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Carver Recreation Center.  Sponsored by the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights, the simulation gives  participants a feeling for the experiences that so many refugees have when they  come to our country. 

Jim Hart, a participant of last year’s Refugee Simulations says about the event,  “These were moving as well as enlightening experiences. I serve as a volunteer on the International Rescue Committee’s subcommittee on community outreach. I can  think of no better way to give community members a sense of the reality of the  desperation endured by so many millions of our brothers and sisters around the  world who are fleeing from violence and persecution than by offering them a  chance to participate in these very well-organized and expertly-conducted  simulations.”   

Welcoming Week events are sponsored by The Charlottesville Office of Human  Rights, 7th Annual Cville Pride Festival, International Rescue Committee, Islamic  Society of Central Virginia, Latino Health Initiative at UVA, Sin Barreras, Thomas  Jefferson Adult and Career Education at PVCC, International Neighbors, Welcoming  Greater Charlottesville, TheatreCHS and the CHS Welcoming Team Task Force, and  Legal Aid Justice Center. Welcoming Greater Charlottesville also includes  representatives of local immigrant and refugee support groups. Russ Linden of  Welcoming Greater Charlottesville remarks “our purpose is to make our community  as open and inclusive as possible for all, especially immigrants, refugees, and others  who sometimes feel marginalized.” 

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