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.
A Summer of Friendship and Growth posted on Aug 22
Shannon Curtin’s second summer in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Urban Youth Collaborative Internship Program (UYCP) was spent, among other things, leading a dance party for two at Resources for Human Development, Boston, Inc. Curtin who grew close with one particular individual, said she …Continue Reading A Summer of Friendship and Growth
Coffee and a Familiar Face posted on Aug 11
Braintree’s Rick Swan, who is legally blind, runs a small coffee shop in the lobby of One Ashburton Place in Boston – home to many state agencies including EOHHS. Swan started running the shop with his wife, who is also legally blind, approximately four years …Continue Reading Coffee and a Familiar Face
A New Hope for Women with Addictions posted on Aug 8
The second phase of the Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program (WRAP) in Taunton opened in July, 2016 officially closing the chapter on the day when women with substance use disorders are sent to prison for treatment. State officials who recently toured the new unit including Governor …Continue Reading A New Hope for Women with Addictions