Immigrant Heritage Fair Highlights Borough Diversity

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bringing together residents, organizations, and businesses representing over 20 countries, BronxWorks’ first annual Immigrant Heritage Fair celebrated Bronx immigrants’ rich history, vibrant present, and dynamic future. Held at our Carolyn McLaughlin Community Center, the fair was attended by over 100 people and featured a global food showcase from Bronx restaurants; salsa, step dance, and African drumming performances; and a fashion show presented by the African People Alliance.

The fair served as a platform for immigrants to connect with one another and with organizations that provide a range of needed services. Representatives from BronxWorks and other organizations discussed resources available to Bronx immigrants, including ESL, housing, and employment services.  Youth from the BronxWorks Veggiecators program conducted cooking demonstrations that incorporated ingredients from across the globe.

Immigrants account for about one-third of the Bronx’s 1.5 million residents, making our borough a proverbial melting pot.  One of the most diverse counties in the United States, on any given day a person who lives or works in the Bronx stands a 90% chance of interacting with someone born outside this country.

While BronxWorks has served immigrants since its 1972 inception, our organization has had programs that target the immigrant community since 1988.  These include ESL classes, help with citizenship applications, and legal representation in immigration court.  In 2014, one-third of the 40,000 persons served by BronxWorks was foreign-born.

The fair celebrated New York City Immigrant Heritage Week, which was instituted in 2004 to recognize immigrants’ contributions to our city’s vitality.  This week also marked  the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act, which abolished race-based quotas in United States immigration laws.  

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