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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.Africa Week Proclamation

Written By:

Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Chief of Staff, Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants

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