Refugees Welcome! has finished the program for the Boston Migrant Summit. Please find the Program-Boston Migrant Summit here. 

To register your organization, click here.

Summit Flyer-01-01-01

If you’re a service provider and are interested in participating in the Boston Migrant Summit, please fill out the form here. 

All questions and concerns regarding public relations, media outreach, and fundraising, please contact Charla M. Burnett at charla.burnett@refugeeswelcomehome.org.

About the Boston Migrant Summit

In November 2016, Refugees Welcome! collaborated with twelve organizations and businesses in the Greater Boston concerned with migration to hold a Refugee Fair. These organizations include MIRA, Nuday Syria, the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam and more.  The Fair was a huge success and drew nearly 80 residents to Ryan Lounge at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Refugees Welcome! was able to raise $3,000 for refugee service organizations.

After the Fair ended, feedback was provided by the participating organizations and businesses on the structure and resourcefulness of the event. According to the organizations and Businesses present, many of them had never been able to meet in person before this event. Many of the organizations came to realize that their programmatic structure overlapped with other organizations or that an organization provided services that clients needed but had not otherwise known about. The participants from the organizations encouraged Refugees Welcome! to host another more structured meeting that provides a facilitator for strategic planning.

On June 4th, 2018, Refugees Welcome! will host the Boston Migrant Summit to help assist organizations in the Greater Boston Area with strategic planning from 9am-4:30pm at the Federal Reserve Plaza in Downtown Boston.  Between 40-60 organizations, along with professional mediators, will create a policy document to present to local and state officials on how to protect the human rights of migrants, meet the increasing demands of migrants, and create resilience across the greater Boston area and the state of Massachusetts

Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of this planning process are to generate and build consensus around a set of realistic actions that Refugees Welcome!, and local and state officials, can take to strengthen service provision for an array of migrants (i.e, refugees, asylees, documented and undocumented). In order to do this, we created a model of strategic planning customized to migrant service provision. The process draws from public participatory planning and group facilitation that helps generate discussion and guides participants through the strategic planning process.

 

What makes this particular strategic planning process so special is that it draws on the knowledge of service providers from different, normally segregated, fields. It does this by breaking down the planning process by service provision type. These fields were developed through research conducted at Refugees Welcome!. Participants, in this case, staff members of organizations that provide services to migrants, will develop separate plans within their fields to present to other fields. This more holistic planning process develops plans that ensure migrants are connected with services across fields more effectively. This makes staff participation particularly important.

Choosing a Service Provision Type
Selecting a single provision type that represents your organization can be difficult for some. To better clarify each field and service provisions provided. Refugees Welcome! has been compiling data on service provision in Boston. Select the field that represents the majority of your services as outlined below.

Legal
The need for legal services for migrants in Boston, as well as the country, are immense. There’s a significant gap in the number of immigration lawyers and legal assistants in the state of Massachusetts. Many times undocumented migrants do not have the opportunity to see a lawyer before they are reported. Organizations, such as the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugees Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition, seek to strengthen legal assistance through training lawyers and others legal assistants, providing direct legal support to migrants, and advocating for the expansion of migrant rights and programs.

Mediator: Sara Cohan
Co-Mediator: Amy Grunder

Amy Grunder directs legislative affairs at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. Amy joined MIRA in 2015 after a career in human rights advocacy, publishing and law. She has been working with immigrant communities for 30 years, first as an organizer in the Central America solidarity movement, and more recently as an appellate asylum lawyer. In between, she was the associate editor at Cultural Survival and the Mexico program officer at Physicians for Human Rights. She has a B.A. from UMass Boston and a JD and Masters in International Affairs from American University. Since joining MIRA, she has dedicated herself to defending immigrant access to state benefits and services, and to winning passage of pro-immigrant legislation at the state level — especially the Safe Communities Act and related legislation.

Health
Migrants face very different health challenges than native residents and may need direct medical intervention. Hospitals and mental health clinicians work with migrants to ensure their safety and the safety of our entire community. Health check-ups are required under federal law to process immigration paperwork. Organizations, such as the Boston Medical Center’s Immigrant and Health Program, provide direct primary care, immunizations, mental health services, health translators, and health educators.

Mediator: Jane Honoroff

Jane Honoroff, LICSW, MSW (Simmons) has been a practitioner in the mental health and social work field since 1969 and a mediator since 1984. She is a founding partner in The Mediation Group (TMG). Jane also conducts a private psychotherapy practice.   

Co-Mediator: (Boston Medical’s Immigrant and Refugee Health Center)

Education
Education, particularly English, is important to migrants as they transition into their new lives and begin to look for employment. Migrants arrive at all ages and education is often tailored to their specific needs. Organizations and educational institutions, such as the University of Massachusetts Boston, serve a high number of migrants. Educational organizations would mostly focus on ESOL or cultural programming.

Mediator: David Matz

David Matz has been active in the conflict resolution field for over 30 years mediating, training and teaching.  He served as Director of the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts/Boston from 1986 until 2010 and has been on the faculty as a law professor since 1973.

Co-Mediator: (TBA)

Economic Job Placement
Job placement programs help to train migrants with new skills, connect them with future employees, and other resources. These institutions are developed by entrepreneurial companies and organizations, such as the Somali Development Center, provide cultural specific education programs. These centers help with skill building, job placement support, and making business connections. This field will place particular emphasis on building support and opportunity for migrants participation in the local economy.

Mediator: Amy Rebecca Gay

Over the last 25 years Amy has designed and delivered training, facilitation and conflict resolution processes for diverse audiences; administered mediation programs, mediated, and trained and supervised mediators; and designed/delivered conflict management training programs for audiences ranging small non-profits to Fortune 500 companies. She has also designed and facilitated processes aimed at reaching consensus on difficult issues and uncovering organizational barriers to constructive conflict.

Co-Mediator: Justin Kang

Justin Kang is the Vice President of Economic Growth for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce where he oversees strategic initiatives focused on talent attraction and retention, industry growth and racial equity in the private sector. In addition, he is the Executive Director of City Awake – a program of the Boston Chamber – which serves as the regional platform to empower and mobilize the next generation of talent.

Housing
Homelessness caused by a lack of housing is a very serious problem for Boston and the state of Massachusetts. When migrants arrive, particularly undocumented asylees, there are multiple barriers to finding housing, including a lack of credit, language, discrimination, and high rent. Housing services for migrants are often limited to documented migrants that are in the process of obtaining or have obtained residency or citizenship. Therefore, housing services are sparse and many undocumented migrants remain homeless. Organizations that support migrants in finding housing often support the nonmigrant population, such as The Friends of Boston’s Homeless, which help the homeless with short and long-term housing depending on visa status.

Mediator: Charla M. Burnett

As a Sidney Topol Fellow, Charla works with a network of international scholars and practitioners in the field of strategic nonviolence and civil resistance. She combines her skills in mediation, group dialogue, and facilitation to design community-based geospatial decision models to reduce resource-based conflicts. Charla has developed an organizational model for Refugees Welcome!, a small nonprofit, that works to strengthen and streamline migration services across Boston.

Co-Mediator: (TBA)

Endorsements by:
The Boston Medical Center’s Immigrant Refugee and Health Program
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition
International Institute of New England
Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development
John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
Jewish Vocational Services
Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development

Keynote Speakers to Date:
Dr. S. Atyia Martin, former Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Boston
Justin Kang, Vice President of Economic Growth, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

For more information go to refugeeswelcomehome.org or email charla.burnett@refugeeswelcomehome.org

To register your organization, click here.