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Welcoming Wayne: Making All Our Residents Feel Welcome Is In Our Best Interest

I was glad to speak at this year's Welcoming Michigan Statewide Convening and MCIRR (Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) Summit on Friday at Wayne County Community College District Ted Scott Campus in Belleville. This year's theme was "Coming Together For Our Communities," and I strongly believe that we are so much stronger in Wayne County because of the inherent power in our diversity.

Everybody talks about diversity because it seems like the in thing to do these days, but in Wayne County we actually practice what we preach. Our staff looks like Wayne County, and we have all learned and grown from each other as we have learned to work together towards a common goal to make Wayne County better. Inclusion helps us make better decisions. But the challenge before us is to keep the doors to opportunity open so that we can continue to reap the benefits of an equal opportunity society. We are witnessing an unfortunate reversal in our moral character when our highest elected officials believe they should have the power to determine where immigration begins and where it ends based on very suspect criteria that is inherently unfair and discriminatory.

This is why I believed it was important for Wayne County to officially become a Welcoming County, which we did earlier this year. And it's important to point out that within Wayne County we have two Welcoming Cities, including Detroit and Hamtramck. I want us to be on the right side of history, and I want what is best for Wayne County. Making our residents feel welcome - all of our residents - is truly what is in our best interest. Immigrants, and having a diversity of perspectives, is has a tremendous on our social and economic ecosystem - and we are better for it.

This is why I created the position of Director of Diversity and Inclusion (Zaineb Hussein who attended the conference today). This is also why we created Wayne United, with the distinct mission to create an environment that fosters equity, diversity and inclusion by promoting awareness, equality and respect throughout Wayne County's 43 communities.

It must always be our responsibility to push back against the tide to make things better. Let's have our arms locked so when some of us get punched the line doesn't fall.