Winston-Salem Wins National League of Cities Cultural Diversity Award
The Winston-Salem BIC Newcomer Pipeline, a program created through the city’s partnership with Building Integrated Communities, received the National League of Cities Cultural Diversity Award for 2017 for cities with a population of 20,000 to 500,000. Council Member D.D. Adams will deliver the award to Wanda Allen-Abraha, the city’s human relations director, at the City Council meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the City Hall council chamber. The award was announced March 13 during the league’s 2017 Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.
The award honors cities that develop creative and effective programs to improve and promote cultural diversity through a collaborative process with city officials, community leaders and residents.
The Winston-Salem BIC Newcomer Pipeline is a structured program, specifically developed for Winston-Salem, that educates newcomers about services and resources available through city, county, state and non-profit agencies and stresses the importance of following up with these resources to meet their needs. The program covers nine areas: safety, education, housing, transportation, health, legal, faith-based resources, and resources available through the High Point/Winston-Salem chapter of World Relief, a global non-profit that serves refugees and immigrants.
The pipeline program is offered quarterly, and the Human Relations Department is developing an online version of the curriculum to make the information available at all times, said Allen-Abraha.
“We are thrilled and honored to have our Winston-Salem BIC Newcomer Pipeline recognized by the National League of Cities,” Allen-Abraha said. “It is a testament to the long hours and hard work that our BIC partners contributed in developing this initiative.”
The Human Relations Department won an in-kind grant in May 2014 from the Building Integrated Communities initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The grant provides research and staff support over three years to assist Human Relations in better coordinating the services of agencies and organizations that serve newcomers, particularly in the Hispanic community. Jessica White, the research and program manager for the BIC initiative, said, “We applaud our dedicated partners in the Winston-Salem BIC project for their critical efforts to support and serve their diverse communities. These successes encourage us in our ongoing collaboration with local governments and residents to improve newcomer integration.”
Staff support was provided by Latino Migration Project at UNC Chapel Hill. Participants in the grant effort included the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, the Hispanic League, the Indo-U.S. Cultural Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the World Relief Organization, Novant Health, the Winston-Salem Foundation, the Winston-Salem Police Department, Legal Aid- Winston-Salem Office, the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation, the International Center at Forsyth Technical Community College, Interfaith Winston-Salem, and Compassionate Winston-Salem.