Questions about registration? Contact events@welcomingamerica.org 

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Wednesday, May 5

2:00pm EDT

Plenary Session - Belonging as the Antidote to Othering
john a. powell, Director for the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California at Berkeley will present on how we can evolve from focusing on inclusion to co-creating a future of belonging.

avatar for john a. powell

john a. powell

Director, Othering & Belonging Institute
john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racialization, racial identity, fair housing, poverty, and democracy. john powell is the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute, a UC Berkeley research institute that brings together scholars, organizers, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable nation... Read More →

Wednesday May 5, 2021 2:00pm - 2:45pm EDT

2:30pm EDT

Enjoy a short break to stretch, grab a bite to eat or just relax!

We will see you in one of the concurrent sessions at 3pm ET!

Wednesday May 5, 2021 2:30pm - 3:00pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 1 - Improving Immigrant Access to Housing and Small Business Recovery Efforts
While immigrant-renter households and immigrant-owned small businesses have been among the hardest hit in the pandemic, relief efforts have often not reached them effectively.

In this session, a local economic development authority and a community-based organization will discuss how they have advocated for and significantly improved access to business and housing supports through increased language access, community partnerships, resident input, and trusted connectors. We will explore what they have learned and how to apply these strategies to improve equitable access moving forward in recovery, including as American Rescue Plan funds are distributed.

avatar for Gloria Yen

Gloria Yen

Director, New American Welcome Center, University YMCA (Champaign-Urbana, IL)
Gloria Yen received a B.M. in Music History from the University of Illinois in 2011 before earning  an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Her commitment to working  alongside marginalized communities has led her to the fields of human development and  disability... Read More →
avatar for Jeremy Carter

Jeremy Carter

Manager of Housing Opportunity Fund Consumer Programs, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Jeremy Carter is the Manager of Housing Opportunity Fund Consumer Programs at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the economic development entity of the City of Pittsburgh. Jeremy also identifies as a 2nd-generation Asian-American with his mother immigrating to the US... Read More →
avatar for Pierce Robinson

Pierce Robinson

Manager of Diversified Business Solutions, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Pierce Robinson is the Manager of Diversified Business Solutions for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. He leads the workforce and career advancement initiative for the authority as well as the MWBE programs and external operations. Mr. Robinson is committed to aligning... Read More →
avatar for Christina Pope

Christina Pope

Senior Network Director, Welcoming America
Christina Pope is Senior Network Director at Welcoming America, where she designs programs and strategy for the organization’s network of local governments and nonprofits. She addresses new and emerging needs in the field and provides technical assistance to organizations making... Read More →

Wednesday May 5, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 2- Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Your Community
Communities today are more divided than ever. COVID-19 has driven many out of the public sphere, and many of us feel separated by political fault lines. Creative placemaking provides a unique opportunity to imagine and build a shared future where we all can belong. Cultural events, food and arts are essential for building community, supporting development, nurturing health and well-being, and contributing to economic opportunity.

This session explores how programs, partnerships and policy all contribute to a thriving cultural community and a shared sense of belonging. Attendees will leave this session with tools and resources that support:

  • Using an arts and culture strategy to create a sense of belonging
  • Exploring how the presence of food sets the table for conversation and curiosity
  • Examining new alliances & partnerships that embraces arts, food, and culture as a way to shift policy toward more equitable outcomes for all

The new Welcoming America Taste of Belonging Cookbook is now available! Click HERE to learn more or download the PDF version shared in the file section below.

avatar for Chandra DeNap  Whetstine

Chandra DeNap Whetstine

Vice President of Programs & Operations, The One America Movement
Chandra DeNap Whetstine is the VP of Programs and Operations at the One America Movement, a national organization building a united American society by eliminating toxic polarization. Chandra develops systems, curriculum, and programming for religious leaders and congregations... Read More →
avatar for Salome Mwangi

Salome Mwangi

Coordinator, Refugee Speakers Bureau, Idaho Office for Refugees
Salome Mwangi is a speaker who inspires, challenges, and equips others to overcome their real or perceived obstacles, live up to their full potential, work with diverse teams and grow, professionally and personally. She relocated to Boise, Idaho in 2004 via the Refugee Resettlement... Read More →
avatar for Jordyne Krumroy

Jordyne Krumroy

Southern Regional Manager, Welcoming America
Jordyne Krumroy is the Regional Manager at Welcoming America where she helps members in the South foster more equitable policies and programs. She is passionate about regional collaboration and notably led the One Region pilot in metro Atlanta. Prior to Welcoming America, she managed... Read More →

Wednesday May 5, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 3 - Messaging: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to do It Effectively
Messaging is a term we hear all the time, but what does it really mean? Specifically, how exactly does messaging help organizations or cities achieve their goals? 

Whether it’s promoting your event, starting a fundraiser, or responding to a crisis in your community, knowing how to message can be critical to meeting your goals. This session will cover ways to get started on creating effective messaging, identifying audiences, ways to get your message out there, and signs that your message has succeeded. Attendees will leave this session with tools and resources that support:

  • Utilizing a positive framework to share your organization’s stories and goals 
  • Bridging divides among your key audience through communications
  • Engaging in and activating the Belonging Begins with Us campaign in your community 

avatar for Hannah Thomas

Hannah Thomas

Director of Learning and Innovation, Big Duck
Hannah is Director of Learning and Innovation at Big Duck, where she orchestrates the agency’s learning, experimentation, and innovation in service of the nonprofit sector. She’s a passionate strategist motivated to create sustainable change through the thoughtful disruption and... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Cooper

Amanda Cooper

Senior Partner, Lightbox Collaborative
Amanda Cooper is a senior partner at LightBox Collaborative. She takes pride in helping her clients reach new heights, whether it’s winning a national campaign, nailing a presentation or interview, or crafting a persuasive message. Amanda comes to consulting with more than 15 years... Read More →
avatar for Suzanne Sierra

Suzanne Sierra

Senior Program Manager, St. Louis Mosaic Project
Suzanne Sierra is Senior Program Manager for the St. Louis Mosaic Project. In her role, she manages community programs and initiatives that focus on transforming St. Louis into the fastest growing major metropolitan area for immigration by 2025. Suzanne’s previous experience includes... Read More →
avatar for Adam Luna

Adam Luna

Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact, The Opportunity Agenda
Adam Luna serves as the Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact at The Opportunity Agenda where he oversees all aspects of the organization’s programmatic mission work. Adam brings over 20 years of experience in issue campaign management, overseeing strategic communications... Read More →
avatar for Lola Pak

Lola Pak

Communications Director, Welcoming America
Lola Pak is Director of Communications at Welcoming America where she oversees strategic communications and media relations. Previously, she worked at Global Ties U.S., a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, providing a broad range of communications needs for nonprofits implementing... Read More →

Wednesday May 5, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

4:15pm EDT

Fifteen-Minute Break
Enjoy a short break to stretch, grab a bite to eat or just relax!

We hope to see you at the Virtual Happy Hour starting at 4:30pm ET!

Wednesday May 5, 2021 4:15pm - 4:30pm EDT

4:30pm EDT

Virtual Musical Happy Hour with SongDivision!
Wind Down Day One with Some Fun!
Pour your beverage of choice and join fellow attendees for a non-stop musical hour of fun, networking, and trivia.

Led by three engaging MC/Musicians from SongDivision, this program will feature live performances, hilarious group ice-breakers, a rock-and-roll game show, networking breaks in virtual chat rooms, an art contest, a Pet Parade, and a custom song written on-the-spot.

Plus...Happy Hour attendees will be the first to hear the announcement about the 2022 Welcoming Interactive, so don't miss out!

Wednesday May 5, 2021 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Thursday, May 6

2:00pm EDT

Interactive Plenary - A Conversation on Healing with Dr. Gail Christopher & Rachel Peric
Join Dr. Gail Christopher, a nationally recognized expert on health equity and racial healing, alongside Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America for a conversation about race, reconciliation, and collective well-being.

avatar for Dr. Gail Christopher

Dr. Gail Christopher

Dr. Gail Christopher is an award-winning social change agent with expertise in the social determinants of health and well-being and in related public policies. She is known for her pioneering work to infuse holistic health and diversity concepts into public sector programs and policy... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Peric

Rachel Peric

Executive Director, Welcoming America
Rachel Peric is the Executive Director of Welcoming America. Inspired by her family’s refugee story and by the worldwide movement of welcomers, Rachel works to create communities where all residents – including immigrants and refugees – can thrive and belong. Since joining the... Read More →

Thursday May 6, 2021 2:00pm - 2:45pm EDT

2:45pm EDT

Energy & Well-Being Break

Before moving on with Day Two, treat yourself to a well-being break as a team from SongDivision leads you through proven techniques and tips to control your breath, activate your sense of sound, and develop greater mindfulness. This break is built on the proven ability of music to increase happiness, stimulate memory and develop strong bonds, and you will leave recharged and energized for the rest of the day!

Thursday May 6, 2021 2:45pm - 3:00pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 4 - Managing the Emotional Stress of The Past Year: Strategies for Individuals, Organizations and Communities
The early stages of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns were hard on all of us, in different ways. Isolation, joblessness, childcare, and many other challenges severely affected the mental well-being of many people around the world. We’ve worried about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, whether our children will thrive, as well as a host of other financial and personal stressors. We’ve also worried about our organizations and communities, and the uncertainty of the future has weighed heavily upon all of us.

In this session we will explore some strategies to help us care for ourselves, our organizations and our communities. Attendees will leave this session with tools and resources that support:

  • Equitable Self-Care and Mindfulness
  • Communication Strategies and People Centered Approaches for Organizational Sustainability
  • Community Building in Times of Uncertainty 

avatar for Elisa Benitez

Elisa Benitez

Office Manager, ourBRIDGE for KIDS
Elisa Benítez Hernández hails from Luvianos, Mexico. She is a lifelong advocate for migrant rights in the Carolinas -- including anti-deportation campaigns, restoring licenses for undocumented immigrants, and more. She now applies her research and work as Office Manager of ourBRIDGE... Read More →
avatar for Emi Gittleman

Emi Gittleman

Founder/Executive Director, Get Empowered!
Emi Gittleman is Get Empowered!’s Founder/Executive Director. MA Education. Emi's lifelong journey and purpose are perfectly in line with Get Empowered!'s mission of uplifting, unifying and empowering. Emi was born in Queens, NY, and did a work/study cultural exchange program in... Read More →
avatar for Heather Quackenboss

Heather Quackenboss

Human Development and Relationship Educator, Extension La Crosse County
Heather’s journey with COVID started with a break and surgery of her ankle two weeks before life changed for everyone.  Learning to navigate asking for help, boundaries, and crutches during a pandemic while figuring out how to share Wi-Fi with 3 teenagers for school at home while... Read More →
avatar for Fabiano “Sabiá” Pinheiro

Fabiano “Sabiá” Pinheiro

Co-Director and Entertainment Facilitator, Get Empowered!
Fabiano “Sabiá” Pinheiro is the Co-Director and Entertainment Facilitator for Get Empowered!. Sabiá lives in Walnut Creek, California with his wife Sarah Baltazar and two young daughters Eva Lourdes and Stella Maresol.Sabiá was born in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil and received... Read More →
avatar for Molly Hilligoss

Molly Hilligoss

Senior Midwest Regional Manager, Welcoming America
Molly is the Senior Midwest Regional Manager at Welcoming America. In her role, she provides technical assistance to community partners and members of the Welcoming Network based in the Midwest.Previously, Molly served as the Social Justice and Advocacy Director for YWCA La Crosse... Read More →

Thursday May 6, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 5 - The Importance of COVID Community Champions
History demonstrates that residents of color are disproportionately impacted by disasters, the COVID-19 crisis and response has highlighted this disparate impact in cities large and small, urban and rural.  As communities prepare for and respond to disaster, immigrant and BIPOC communities, and those who serve them, are often left out of the planning and execution of emergency response.

This session aims to address this disproportionality by addressing the proactive ways communities can improve emergency response, community engagement, and planning. Attendees will leave this session with tools and resources that support:

  • Making the case for adopting inclusive emergency management strategies
  • Diversifying participation in the emergency management ecosystem
  • Embedding policies and programs that lead to a more equitable response in times of crisis

avatar for Imam Sheikh Salahadin Wazir

Imam Sheikh Salahadin Wazir

CEO & Founder, African and Immigrant Communities in America, Inc.
Imam Sheik Wazir was born in the East Part of Ethiopia. He received a BA in Sociology and worked at the American Embassy in Rome, Italy for 3 years. He also worked with the state of Washington for 10 years as a social worker. Here in the state of Georgia, Imam Wazir worked for the... Read More →
avatar for Shun Tucker-Allen

Shun Tucker-Allen

Faith Coordinator, Fair Count
Shun Tucker-Allen currently serves as the Faith Coordinator for Fair Count, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. She is a proud native of Atlanta, Georgia. After more than 14 years as an independent contractor, she joined the Stacey Abrams for Governor team as the Political Coordinator... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean

Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean

Vice President, Fair Count
Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean is the Vice President at Fair Count, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, founded by Stacey Abrams. The goal of Fair Count is to ensure that every person in Georgia and the nation is seen, heard, and counted for a fair and accurate census and to building... Read More →
avatar for Erin Mann

Erin Mann

Co-Principal Investigator, National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM)
Erin Mann, MPH, is the Program Manager and co-principal investigator for the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). Erin also serves as the Global Collaborations Coordinator for the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility at the University... Read More →
avatar for George Zavala

George Zavala

Western Regional Manager, Welcoming America
George Zavala is the Western Regional Manager at Welcoming America. His work assists network members in Western states in making local policy, program, and systems change that advances immigrant and refugee inclusion. George previously oversaw the direction and scope of Diversity... Read More →

Thursday May 6, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

3:00pm EDT

Session 6 - Building and Maintaining Your Local Immigrant Inclusion Infrastructure
Across the globe, many localities have formed timely initiatives to ensure immigrants were included in major community efforts in 2020 such as COVID relief and the US 2020 Census. As the context shifts here in the US to a more positive federal stance on immigration, and at the same time more anti-immigrant stances at some state and local levels, what are the opportunities to build upon these efforts to improve immigrant inclusion at the local level across the board? How can communities capitalize on the important infrastructure and relationships built? With a new federal landscape on immigration, re-commitments to refugee resettlement, where can local multi-sector efforts go from here?  

During this session, we will explore the proven approach of starting up a multi-sector welcoming committee. Speakers from the US and Canada will share how they formed their committees, what they are tasked with, how they operate, and the impact they have seen.

avatar for Johannah Cooper

Johannah Cooper

Community Engagement Fellow for Vulnerable Populations, City of Salisbury, MD
Johannah will graduate from Salisbury University this May with degrees in Social Work and Political Science. She is serving in the Mayor's Office to support the Lower Shore Vulnerable Populations Task Force in COVID-19 relief efforts and has developed several initiatives to support... Read More →
avatar for Julia Glanz

Julia Glanz

City Administrator, City of Salisbury, MD
JULIA A. GLANZ, City Administrator was appointed to the position in February 2017. She has been instrumental in the reorganization of city government, and was a driving force in the successful campaign to host the National Folk Festival.  As the Mayor’s Chief Administrative Officer... Read More →
avatar for Jesus Martinez, Ph.D.

Jesus Martinez, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC)
Jesus Martinez is Executive Director of the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC), a Fresno-County based nonprofit organization created in 2014 to empower immigrant families and immigrant serving organizations in the region. As a coordinator of regional efforts... Read More →
avatar for Paulina Wyrzykowski

Paulina Wyrzykowski

Director, Toronto South LIP
Paulina Wyrzykowski holds a Master of Social Work and a Law degree from the University of Toronto. She practiced immigration law in Toronto before moving overseas to work as Senior Research and Advocacy officer with Makerere University's Refugee Law Project.Over the past twenty years... Read More →
avatar for Doug Olthof

Doug Olthof

Co-Lead, National LIP (Local Immigration Partnership) Secretariat (Canada)
Doug Olthof co-leads of the National LIP Secretariat, a pilot project to coordinate national-level collaboration between more than 80 Local Immigration Partnerships across Canada.Prior to the launch of that project in April 2020, Doug was the Coordinator of the Jasper Immigration... Read More →
avatar for Anthony Salas

Anthony Salas

Senior Manager, Events & Membership, Welcoming America
Anthony Salas is the Senior Membership and Events Manager for Welcoming America. He oversees the organization’s largest events, which include the Welcoming Interactive  and Welcoming Week, as well as membership logistics of the Welcoming Network.Anthony has over a decade of in-person... Read More →

Thursday May 6, 2021 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT

4:15pm EDT


Thursday May 6, 2021 4:15pm - 4:30pm EDT

4:30pm EDT

Member-Only Networking Hour
This session is open only to members of the Welcoming Network.

Not a member? Click HERE to learn more about our membership levels and the many benefits that are included as part of membership or reach out to us at membership@welcomingamerica.org.

To close Welcoming Interactive 2021, we want to celebrate our amazing network members!

During this hour, you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow members on an individual basis as well as join breakout rooms to continue discussing the Interactive session topics.

Grab your beverage of choice and join us!

(Members, please add this session to your personal agenda. Once your network membership is confirmed, you will receive a separate email with the Zoom link to join the session.)

Thursday May 6, 2021 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Invitation-Only Zoom
  • Timezone
  • Filter By Date Welcoming Interactive 2021 May 5 - 6, 2021
  • Filter By Venue Online
  • Filter By Type
  • Break
  • Breakout Session
  • Member-Only
  • Networking
  • Plenary Session