While Welcoming Week was officially celebrated for 10 days this month, Sept. 9-18, we celebrate it all year long in Oakland County. Welcoming Oakland is an official county member of the Welcoming America network that brings together communities to reaffirm the importance of promoting inclusivity and celebrating the vast array of cultures that make our neighborhoods and towns so vibrant and exciting.
The theme of this year’s Welcoming Week celebration was #WhereWeBelong. All individuals throughout the county should understand that there is a place for them here.
In the last year or so, that’s been especially true for people fleeing the wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Through the Uniting for Ukraine initiative, more than 630 Oakland County residents have stepped up to sponsor and financially support families who have left Ukraine because of the war.
But Welcoming Week is about more than just helping resettle refugees. There are services, people, and organizations across Oakland County that are helping newcomers when they arrive in the state.
While it’s very important to take note of the remarkable achievements of our civil rights leaders, as well as our friends, neighbors and co-workers of color during Black History Month, Oakland County champions diversity and inclusion each and every day—not just throughout February.
Oakland County continues to focus on fostering a thriving, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace where all employees are welcome. When that happens at work, it extends to the services provided to residents and businesses throughout the county.
Amplifying black voices, experiences, and contributions is not just for the month of February. Oakland County is committed to elevating all voices to ensure we are creating equitable systems to support minoritized voices throughout the organization and the communities we serve.
-Oakland County Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Robin Carter-Cooper
Two of Oakland County’s top leaders and community members highlighted the progress made by Black Americans and the ongoing challenge of achieving freedom and liberation in the 156 years since enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned the Civil War had ended during a virtual gathering held earlier this month.
The occasion; a panel discussion titled, “Juneteenth: Then and Now,” highlighted the continued presence of racism in America and challenged the notion that Black Americans had already accomplished justice at a time when police brutality, health disparities and other systemic challenges persist in the United States.
The panel, which streamed live Thursday, June 17 on Facebook, called attention to the history of Black citizens in the U.S. and challenged the community to consider how past events continue to influence the present-day realities for Black Americans.