Welcoming Gatherings | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

Welcoming Gatherings

Inspired by Welcoming America and the webisode below, Active Voice invites people nationwide to participate in our Welcoming Gatherings Campaign. By encouraging long-term residents to invite newcomers over for a meal and a conversation, or organize a simple potluck and break bread with their newest neighbors, we hope to inspire American-style hospitality and exchange.

Want to host your own Welcoming Gathering?  Here’s how to get started:

  • Contact a local immigrant service agency to find out about how to reach newcomers in your community. Organizations such as Welcoming America and Church World Service have local affiliates. See if they’re located near you. Then invite friends and neighbors of different cultural backgrounds to come eat and celebrate together.  If you send us details beforehand, we can list them here.
  • Share the Shelbyville Multimedia webisode “New Neighbors Give Thanks” (see above) on your Facebook page, website, or blog to get your community excited about having a meal of their own. Embed codes for all webisodes, including this one, can be found here and by clicking the “embed” button in the upper right hand corner of each individual video.
  • Get creative with your invitation list. Chances are there are many who would like to come to your event. Reach out to local organizations that serve the immigrant community. Or if you are an organization, reach out to local churches or mosques, or organizations that serve populations different from yours and suggest doing something together.
  • Document it! Take photos, video, interviews anything you can think of to capture your event. Don’t forget to get consent from anyone you document. Get people’s names and stories – ask them why they decided to come. If they are comfortable discussing, ask people about the traditions of their home countries. Contact us with your materials, and we’ll post selected highlights on this page and on our Facebook page.
  • Share your experience with people around the country. On this site, you’ll get to see the meals and celebrations happening from state to state. Take a moment to reflect on yours, and note the similarities and differences in others. If you see something you like from someone else’s event – get in touch, and use those ideas for next year.

Did you hit it off with your new neighbors? Visit  “Friends of Welcoming” to find ways to help them adjust to daily life in your city.