About Us

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 Nestled in the cozy corner of New England, Rhode Island is a hopeful state for everyone who calls it home. Native Americans and immigrants from many nations have settled in “Little Rhody” for hundreds of years. From an Industrial mill area to an increasingly 21st century global hub, Rhode Island has a history of welcoming diverse waves of immigrants and refugees to its shores.

Welcoming Rhode Island’s mission is to bridge the divide between foreign-born newcomers and U.S.-born Rhode Islanders to foster a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

Hosted by Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, Welcoming Rhode Island is a community-based initiative that seeks to affirm our state as a welcoming place for all and continues to build strong, vibrant, and more cohesive communities across the state.

All Rhode Islanders have an interesting story to tell. As a small state, we are only one degree of separation away from someone whom we presume ourselves to be completely different from. Welcoming Rhode Island encourages neighbors to exchange stories with the aim of breaking down barriers, improving cultural understanding and strengthening relationships.

The initiative is designed to shift the topic of immigration away from contentious debate and to encourage rational and respectful dialogue. Welcoming Rhode Island is not political, nor does it advocate for any legislation.

Welcoming Rhode Island will use a three-pronged approach to achieve its goals:

  • Local leadership development
  • Strategic communication
  • Public engagement

Welcoming Rhode Island, guided by a Statewide Advisory Committee is comprised of organizations and community leaders from diverse backgrounds and sectors of the state including business, law enforcement, community agencies, faith-based groups, and local government.

The initiative piloted in East Providence and Cranston where local welcoming committees steer and implement the grassroots work.

Welcoming Rhode Island is an affiliate of Welcoming America, a national, grassroots-driven collaborative working to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community – in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. There are currently 21 other states across the country affiliated with the national organization, from Nebraska to Michigan.

There are many things that Rhode Islanders can disagree on. One thing that brings us all together is our common values and shared future. Welcoming Rhode Island celebrates our shared values, and recognizes how new Rhode Islanders contribute to our economy, enhance our combined culture, and strengthen our communities.