NASHUA — Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization, announced Monday that five U.S. cities and counties achieved or were redesignated as Certified Welcoming places. Nashua, New Hampshire, was among the designees, is the first city in New Hampshire to attain it, and one of the first in the Northeast.
“We are pleased to announce a new round of leaders in the growing movement to create communities where everyone — including people who migrate — can belong and prosper,” said Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America. “Today, we recognize the cities of Portland, Maine and Nashua, New Hampshire as newly Certified Welcoming, as well as redesignate the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Louisville Metro Government; and Salt Lake County as Certified Welcoming. These local governments are leading the way, and showing how cities and towns can partner with Welcoming America to put their welcoming values into action.”
Nashua, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine are the first two cities in the New England region to become Certified Welcoming.
Said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess: “The City of Nashua, New Hampshire, is so pleased to officially receive this designation. In practice, we have always strived to be a welcoming city to all; having this recognition helps us reinforce the assertion that we are passionately dedicated to ensuring that everyone feels safe and supported here in Nashua. Our cultural diversity is what makes our city the vibrant, exciting place it is, and we are happy to share this wonderful certification news with our community.”
For cities or counties to become Certified Welcoming, they first undergo a rigorous audit that evaluates existing policies and programs for how well they meet the Welcoming Standard, a set of framework areas that define what welcoming communities should be, particularly in how effectively they include immigrants. Based on the audit, the city or county may receive an action plan to resolve any gaps and work toward full compliance of the Welcoming Standard to achieve the designation. For example, the City of Nashua has continually invested in language access services to ensure that all of its community members can receive government services and information.
There are now 18 Certified Welcoming cities and counties across the United States, with nine in progress to achieve the designation. By 2026, Welcoming America aims to see 50 communities become Certified Welcoming places.
An official roll-out event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, from noon-2 pm. Adult Learning Center at 4 Lake Street has graciously agreed to host the City of Nashua for this celebration. There will refreshments and the Mayor will speak on the Welcoming City designation. More information will be announced at a later date.