New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants & Refugees:
In 2007, a group of New Hampshire immigrant leaders gathered to discuss issues impacting the rapidly growing immigrant and refugee community. This group evolved into the New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants and Refugees (NHAIR), and successfully organized to defeat anti-immigrant state legislation, and to build leadership capacity among the states' immigrant and refugee community. The NHIP is the only initiative in NH that organizes and civically engages immigrants and refugees as voters and leaders advocating for public policy change that ensures the civil and human rights of all NH residents.
NHAIR works to build the power of low-income immigrants of color (regardless of immigration status); increase low-income immigrant leadership; and implement campaigns to protect employment and civil rights of NH immigrants and refugees, working closely with the labor and faith-based allies.
In its previous incarnation as the NH Immigrant Rights Task Force, the group defeated state level anti-immigrant measures (ranging from drivers license access to racial profiling). This effort included testifying at Committee hearings, organizing letter campaigns and developing alliances with faith, business and labor. The Alliance organizes to unite and ignite immigrant communities and alleviate the isolation of the newcomers. We provide trainings and presentation on Know Your Rights, Civic Engagement and Citizenship.
In spite of being a rather young organization operating in a volatile local and political environment, NHAIR sponsored and participated in several successful actions. In terms of our work fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, NHAIR held 2 actions: A rally at City Hall in Manchester (50 people) and another rally at Veteran's Park (30 people) targeting NH Senators' upcoming votes on immigration legislation. Additionally, NHAIR completed a post card campaign with approximately 250 cards signed and delivered by community leaders to Senator Sununu. Finally, for 8 weeks straight, immigrant youth and adults held a weekly standout at Senator Sununu's office demanding his supportive vote for comprehensive immigration reform. Finally, NHIP staff worked very closely with leadership of the Granite State Organizing Project to organize turnout of 350 from across the Northeast and logistics for their Presidential Primary Action held in September of 2007.
For more information, email NHAIR Director Eva Castillo.
MIRA's Welcoming New Hampshire initiative, launched in 2012, works to bring the foreign born and native born together to achieve a positive integration of immigrants and refugees into the social fabric of their receiving communities. Through education and cultural activities that both engage non-immigrant audiences and empower immigrants to claim their own voices, Welcoming New Hampshire strives to build an understanding of the impact and contributions of immigrants that will lead to stronger and more inclusive communities and fight back against the anti-immigrant sentiment that has divided so many.
In the past two years Welcoming NH has successfully built bridges of trust between foreign and native born, engaged diverse stakeholders across sectors, and promoted the contributions of New Hampshire’s immigrant and refugee communities. Concord, Manchester and Nashua have signed Welcoming resolutions, with Laconia not far behind. In collaboration with active Welcoming committees and many partner organizations in those cities, we have hosted presentations and community conversations across the state; launched an integrated media campaign in print, broadcast and social media; and organized a cross-sector statewide Welcoming Conference on September 16, 2016 in Manchester, with the theme of “Building New Hampshire's Economic Future.”
In the coming year, we will build on the foundation of Welcoming work to advance bipartisan support for immigrant integration within New Hampshire, at both the local and state level, and promote an atmosphere of equity, inclusion, and empowerment, through (1) activities that advance immigrant civic engagement; (2) building immigrant community leadership, especially among youth; and (3) programs to fight ant-immigrant bias among receiving communities. Celebrating and supporting immigrant and refugee participation in the civic and social fabric of U.S. life will help hold up a model of immigrant investment in our society, and encourage immigrants to have both a shared voice and shared responsibility in their communities—as citizens, voters, and active participants in civic institutions, from public meetings to local boards to chambers of commerce to government offices.
For more information or to get involved in Welcoming New Hampshire, email Eva Castillo. Welcoming New Hampshire is proud to be supported by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the New Hampshire Endowment for Health.