Did you know that the city of Seattle is home to the most diverse zip code in the country? Immigrant and refugee communities enriched our city by exposing multicultural worldviews, beliefs and life experiences. New residents from various countries (Somalia, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Ethiopia etc.) have remarkable stories to share. Getting to know why and how they flee their homes, understanding their struggles and victories, discovering their new hopes and ideals help us put into perspective our own lives.
There are plenty of initiatives like Muses that aims at fostering social and professional integration of newly residents in Seattle. Today we would like to highlight the exceptional job of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The Office's goal is to ensure a consistent implementation of principles of social justice issues which include employment, economic development, public health, student achievement, citizenship, public safety, and criminal justice, civic engagement and protection of civil rights. The Office works in partnership with the Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission. The Commission is made up of 15 members that reflect the diversity of the immigrant and refugee communities in Seattle.
During last month meeting, commissioners discussed ways to address remaining issues, such as access to education or homelessness among immigrant and refugee communities. This partnership helps promote policy creation to tackle the most pressing needs of these communities. Resettlement and integration of refugees and immigrants are very complex issues to solve. It is encouraging to witness that Seattle' policy makers and community advocates are working side by side in improving access and implementation of culturally competent public services for all.