Philly Welcoming Awards honor those who help immigrants and refugees feel at home

Shown is the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline as seen from the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park in Camden, N.J., Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Shown is the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline as seen from the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park in Camden, N.J., Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia celebrated the end of “Welcoming Week” by honoring city workers and community advocates who help immigrants, refugees, and others figure out how to make the city their new home.

The city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs handed out its first-ever “Philadelphia Welcoming Awards.”

The event honored people like Lindsay Southworth, who helped develop educational opportunities for immigrants and refugees through the Free Library’s Language and Learning Center.

“I’ve been working with immigrants and refugees for my whole career, and the past four years being at the library and being able to learn with and from so many different, wonderful language learners has been such a blessing,” Southworth said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“One of my favorite parts of my job is hearing from English language learners, and recent immigrants and refugees who arrived in Philadelphia, about how they feel welcomed by the library and more connected to the city of Philadelphia after being in our programs.”

The event also honored people like Barbara Wilson for her work with the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs.

“As an immigrant who has been around for so many years, the Welcoming Awards speak volumes to me as well as to others who have assisted and who have paved the way. Being a lifelong resident of the community, my belief is to be of service to others,” she said. “That is why I get involved with organizations as I’m very passionate in helping others, and that’s why I volunteered to be of service to the community.”

Mayor Jim Kenney said immigrants make the city run.

“By encouraging dialogue and forging relationships between immigrants, refugees, and U.S.- born citizens. This initiative builds common ground in Philadelphia’s communities,” Kenney said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

He added it’s an effort to “try to fight back on a lot of the ugliness that we’ve seen out in the public since and before the Trump administration. People will always be welcome here.”

The Welcoming Awards cap off the end of “Welcoming Week” 2022, an effort to encourage dialogue and relationships between immigrants, refugees, and U.S.-born citizens in Philadelphia communities.

Get the WHYY app!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal