The Office for Refugees and Immigrants is delighted to join Governor Deval Patrick in celebrating Africa Week. ORI’s mission is to promote the full participation of refugees and immigrants as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social, and civic life of Massachusetts. Given the myriad trials refugees must overcome en route to arriving in the Commonwealth, it is our pleasure to assist our new neighbors during this sensitive time in their lives.
Since 2006, Massachusetts has resettled just under four thousand refugees from Africa, with the majority coming from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Liberia, Cameroon, and Sudan.
Beyond Massachusetts’s work with refugee resettlement, there are many reasons to mark the presence of Africans in the Commonwealth. At present, there are over 75,000 African immigrants and thousands more of African descent residing in the Massachusetts, representing over 8 percent of our immigrant population. African immigrants from all walks of life contribute in profound ways to the strength of our Commonwealth, from leadership positions in academia, health care, business, the public sector, as well as an increasing number of African students who come from all over the world to pursue higher education in Massachusetts. These many factors helped contribute to the end of population loss in Massachusetts, with more people deciding to make the Commonwealth their home each year. Also noteworthy, Africans make a significant contribution to civic and political life in Massachusetts. Cultural groups host African Festivals from Boston to Lowell, civic engagement organizations promote the full representation of African voices in public life, and African-led social service agencies work with the public officials to assist new Americans in their transition into the Commonwealth, filling the cultural competency gap facing new refugee and immigrant residents. Africa Week is a wonderful occasion to celebrate and commemorate these many accomplishments, and the Commonwealth warmly joins in its observance.
MCB Receives the 2016 American Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Distinguished Service Award posted on Jul 18
On July 1st, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) was awarded the 2016 American Optometric Association (AOA) Vision Rehabilitation Distinguished Service Award, which is given to those who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to serving individuals with visual impairment to improve visual efficiency. MCB Commissioner …Continue Reading MCB Receives the 2016 American Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Distinguished Service Award
Ombudsman Eases Constituent Worries posted on Jul 14
What Cynthia Miller loves about public service most is helping people solve problems, and as a dedicated public servant, Miller has spent nearly 30 years in state service doing just that. For the past five years Miller has been the Director of Interagency Planning & …Continue Reading Ombudsman Eases Constituent Worries
Massachusetts Leaders Rally Against Health Stigma posted on Jul 5
Despite the fact that one in five adults are affected by mental health illnesses, many do not feel comfortable talking about it openly for fear of being labeled. For that reason, many CEOs across Massachusetts are pledging to take a stand and help change perception …Continue Reading Massachusetts Leaders Rally Against Health Stigma