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.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month posted on Oct 15
In 1994, after four years of intense investigation and testimony, Congress concluded that there was a pervasive problem of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking among women in the United States. As a result,the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. This legislation was the …Continue Reading October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month posted on Oct 6
This month, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz announced an infant safe sleep campaign focused on the importance of infant safe sleep practices and promoting ways to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between …Continue Reading October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children posted on Sep 25
Join Heidi Reed, Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), DHILS providers, the Disability Policy Consortium, and the Disability Law Center at a listening session in communities across the Commonwealth to share experiences with state services for deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened adults …Continue Reading Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children