This article originally appeared on the blog Penethos and was reprinted with permission of the author, Rick Brown.
The city commissioners of Dayton, Ohio have voted unanimously to approve a plan to make the city more “immigrant-friendly.” Entitled, Welcome Dayton Plan-Immigrant-Friendly City, the decision is an encouraging step towards greater cultural and ethnic diversity, social and economic justice, and community revitalization in the hometown of the Wright Brothers.
Kudos to the City of Dayton for getting it right and rejecting the racial and ethnic bigotry spewed by too many in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia that advocated and approved anti-immigrant laws. My guess is those states are going to rue the day they passed their restrictive immigration laws.
The business and economic development goals of the plan are:
“1. Identify and support a strategic neighborhood business district as a center for immigrant businesses desiring to co- locate in a commercial or industrial node.
2. Help ease the burdens/reduce the barriers for anyone (specifically immigrants) who want to open new businesses in the city serving whomever or wherever.”
The local government and justice systems goals are:
“1. Improve language interpreter capabilities.
2. Increase immigrant participation in government and community organizations and activities.”
The social and health service goals of the plan are:
“1. Eliminate barriers to accessing services caused by limited availability of translated resource information, lack of interpreters for persons who are not proficient in English and limited understanding of cultural and access issues that affect immigrant and refugee populations.
2. Systematically review all local laws and institutional practices that create artificial and unnecessary barriers to immigrants and refugees in accessing community services.”
The community, culture, arts, and education goals are the following:
“1. Increase the availability of ESL and literacy courses for adults.
2. Actively involve all community youth in international connections and community building.
3. Encourage cross-cultural programming among the community’s cultural and arts organizations.”
Here is a weblink to read view the entire plan. Hopefully, Dayton’s plan will be a contender for one of the national planning awards at the 2012 American Planning Association Conference.