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Armando Ezquerra Hasbun was recognized for his work with the Mayor's office during the COVID-19 pandemic at a kick-off event for Immigrant Heritage Month this week. Photo: Philadelphia Mayor’s Office
Armando Ezquerra Hasbun was recognized for his work with the Mayor's office during the COVID-19 pandemic at a kick-off event for Immigrant Heritage Month this week. Photo: Philadelphia Mayor’s Office

Some ways to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month in Philly this June

Coming out of a pandemic where immigrants often carried on essential work without recognition, it’s important to honor and celebrate their contributions to…

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Immigration Heritage Month will be seeing its eighth national anniversary this June, while celebrating its fifth year here in Philly — a city where 14% of residents are foreign-born. 

Sharing a moon with Pride Month, this June will feature an array of events where residents can celebrate immigrant heritage and the lives of underrepresented peoples.

To usher in the month, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recently shared some remarks at an opening ceremony on Immigrant History Month, mentioning a commitment to upholding Philly as a sanctuary city.

“Philadelphia’s immigrants, regardless of their status, and I’ll say it again, regardless of their status, have always represented an important part of our community,” he said. “This past year has been difficult economically and mentally for all of our residents, but particularly for our immigrants.”

The ceremony also honored the work of LaSalle professor Armando Ezquerra Hasbun. He has been a constant on Philadelphians’ televisions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the Spanish translator for the city’s daily COVID-19 briefings.

The hardships immigrant communities faced during the coronavirus pandemic are evident. With the city planning to reopen this June, visiting immigrant-owned businesses and organizations, and those of other underrepresented peoples, is ever important; as is the education of immigrant culture and heritage.

There are a collection of opportunities and services that will be available this Immigrant Heritage Month. 

The Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) is promoting programs such as the National Caribbean American Heritage Month (NCAHM)’s Caribbean Community in Philadelphia kick-off event on June 5. For more information, see here.

The OIA is also promoting the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Business Plan Toolkit, a three-part event discussing how to utilize the Free Library for business planning. The event takes place in three-parts on June 16, June 23, and June 30. For more information, see here.

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) Pennsylvania is also hosting an ask-me-anything over Facebook Live. The event will feature discussion by Co-Director of Legal Services Philippe Weisz and Executive Director Cathryn Miller-Wilson. 

Discussion topics include the events occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border, responsibility as a country and community to not turn away those in need, and how anyone can advocate for asylum-seekers arriving in the United States. The event is on June 7 and runs from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, see here.

The Filipino Executive Council will be holding a Philippine Flag Raising event in commemoration of the 123rd Philippine Independence Week. The event will be held on June 12 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. at Philadelphia City Hall.

Much like the Free Library toolkit, the Welcoming Center will be hosting their Talent Toolkit Launch on June 17. This program will educate attendees on the process of hiring, retaining, and promoting immigrant employees. For more information, see here.

The Welcoming Center will also be showcasing a free screening of Nou La: The Haitian Diaspora in Philly on June 23. This series focuses on a collection of Haitian-American individuals in Philadelphia, and their lives in different areas of work. Register for the event here.

Philadelphia World Refugee Day, on June 20, will feature two free events: performances at Mifflin Square Park in South Philly, and a recreational soccer tournament — both kids and adults are welcome — at Max Myers Rec Center in Northeast Philly. These events will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Learn more and sign-up here.

The Vaxx Up Philly! Vaccine Clinic and Resource Fair will take place on June 26th from 9 AM -1 PM. The fair will offer COVID-19 vaccines to attendees, and will provide multilingual interpreters, staff and volunteers. For more information, see here.

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