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Washington Building Integrated Communities

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After publishing the community assessment in November 2021, the Washington Building Integrated Communities team has been busy connecting with community members, giving presentations to local stakeholders, and implementing recommendations.

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Washington City leaders meet with community members

On Sunday, March 27th, a meeting was held at a local business where City leaders and community members gathered to connect and participate in an open discussion about improving City resources to better support residents. The meeting was attended by multiple City staff members, City council members, City human relations council members, business owners and other community members. Mayor Sadler opened the meeting with encouraging remarks that reaffirmed the City’s mission to create a more inclusive environment for immigrants and community members with Latin American heritage. The City’s procurement officer, Jenifer Alligood, provided a brief presentation on how local business owners could be included in the City’s procurement processes.

A group of community members standing outside

Another key goal of this meeting was to better understand the communication needs of the community. The City’s tourism director, Erin Ruyle, explained the City’s various communication outlets: Facebook page, a monthly newsletter, and the Washington Daily News. Community members agreed that they most frequently use Facebook or Whatsapp to receive information about community events and opportunities. Additionally, we shared that the City’s website is now available in multiple languages via the Google Translate feature. The Google Translate addition is not a substantive replacement for working with human translators, who can understand colloquial terms and key phrases, however, it is a step in the right direction as the City works to translate critical documents and increase their language accessibility. Meeting participants shared feedback about the best ways to connect with Washington’s residents.

Lastly, the Human Relations Council Chair, Anthony Tyre, requested help to fulfill an open seat in the council. The Human Relations Council is committed to promoting an inclusive multi-cultural community and they are working hard to include a local resident with Latin American ancestry.

Local Stakeholder Presentations

Brianna presenting at rotary club At the end of April, members of Building Integrated Communities Washington team participated in the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina’s (AMEXCAN) Access to Latino’s to Programs and Services in Beaufort County Roundtable Discussion. AMEXCAN coordinates many programs and activities that reach a variety of communities across Eastern North Carolina. Their monthly roundtable discussions connect service providers and community members together through healthy and informative discussions of various social issues, such as health care access or higher education attainment.

Alongside service providers of Agape Health Services and Ruth’s House, Brianna Gilmore and Hannah Gill presented Washington’s Community Assessment and shared which recommendations local government and local organizations have begun to implement. In May, BIC Program Associate Brianna Gilmore presented to the Washington Noon Rotary Club about the Building Integrated Communities partnership with the City of Washington to create inclusive practices and policies for residents born in other countries. The presentation included information about Washington and Beaufort County’s Latin American heritage and how the City is implementing recommendations.

See the list below of implemented recommendations.
– Washington Harbor District Alliance added the Google Translate feature to their website.
– The City has identified critical documents to translate into Spanish.
– The City approved an ordinance to provide local businesses owned by minorities and women an equitable opportunity to participate and compete in procurement procedures.
– City leaders conducted a bilingual community meeting at a local business, owned by a prominent member of the Latino/a community.
– City staff created an inclusive video welcoming immigrants to the City.
– A resident with Latin American ancestry has begun her appointment to the Human Relations Council.

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