Are you ready for XCultural Passport?
Think about Hispanic Heritage Month but now add many more ethnicities coming together to celebrate the diversity in Philadelphia.
This year’s XCultural Passport to PHL Week, hosted by the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MOIMA), has almost double the number of events as last year, with a greater variety of groups participating and a greater array of subject matter.
“For us the planning process is as important as the result. Besides the fact that it will be a much more diverse week, another great thing is that the different groups participating will be able to collaborate with each other,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, MOIMA’s executive director.
For Rodriguez, although immigrant communities are known for being very active they tend to work within their own ethnic groupings. “We like the idea that through this week, different groups can exchange ideas and become much more acquainted.”
XCultural Passport will run from Sept. 14 to 21, celebrating immigrant heritage and fostering deeper connections between U.S.-born citizens, immigrants, and persons of diverse backgrounds. This will also be an opportunity to be part of “National Welcoming Week,” a nationwide event that highlights the contributions of immigrants.
“We share a very similar mission with Welcoming America, which partners across the country to host National Welcoming Week. Philadelphia was one of the first 10 cities that joined this national project,” said Fernando Treviño, MOIMA’s deputy executive director.
According to Treviño, from the first to the next, XCultural Passport went from 27 to 45 events. “But the most important aspect is that we are providing a platform for other groups and organizations to participate. It is a very positive collaboration that gives the opportunity to attract a much bigger audience,” he said.The events scheduled are diverse: the Mexican Independence Day Celebration, Festival de la Calle 9, Feria del Barrio and the Puerto Rican Flag Raising are among the big outdoor cultural events. But this year’s XCultural Passport also includes several informative sessions and debate panels, as well.
“We are interested in having a deeper relationship with communities so we also want to have discussions that really matter. We believe in having a good balance between cultural and recreational activities, as well as more intellectual or policy-driven events,” Rodriguez said.
On Sept. 15 the panel “Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors Crisis and Philadelphia” will provide an insight into this humanitarian crisis from experts in the field. That same day the South Philly organization, Juntos, will join GALAEI for the panel “Coming Out — Storytelling About Being Queer and/or Undocumented.”
“Another interesting panel will be ‘Career Pathways for Immigrants in the Private and Public Sector,’” Rodríguez said. “Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, director of outreach at the Welcoming Center, will be one of the speakers providing guidance on how to gain employment in the public sector.”
On Sept. 18, FWD.us will partner to host “Innovate Philly — Immigration, Tech and Entrepreneurship,” a discussion with local tech and business leaders to address the impact that national immigration reform would have on the growing tech and business sector in Philadelphia.
“This is going to be an incredible event,” Rodriguez said. “Todd Schulte, FWD.us executive director in Washington D.C., will be at the panel that will take place at Philadephia’s new Innovation Lab.”
“It is a week where we work for hours and we barely have time to rest,” she said, “but is all worth it if in the end we bring together all communities and if we really elevate the profile of immigrants in Philadelphia.”
Most events are free but some require registration due to limited space.