The St. Louis Mosaic Project encourages broad participation during Welcoming Week, declaring “Belonging Begins With US”





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                

Contact: Suzanne Sierra
St. Louis Mosaic Project
314.749-6004 (phone/text)

The St. Louis Mosaic Project encourages broad participation during
Welcoming Week, declaring
“Belonging Begins With US”

National initiative encourages welcoming attitudes and actions
in communities across America

[ST. LOUIS,MO -- August 23, 2021] – As the International Institute assists in resettling hundreds of Afghan refugees in the region over the next several months, each of us can do our part to help these foreign-born men, women and children feel welcome. The Institute is collecting donations and household and personal items which can be found at the end of the press release.

Between September 10-19, the region’s welcoming spirit will be on full display during Welcoming Week, an annual celebration led by Welcoming America, that takes place in cities around the country to show and tell our foreign-born neighbors that they are appreciated for their lasting economic and cultural impact. The week’s theme is Belonging Begins With US, a national public service campaign from Welcoming America and other non-profits, that underscores how every person has the power to help someone feel seen and accepted. View the PSA here.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative of the World Trade Center-St. Louis, whose goal is to transform St. Louis into the fastest growing major metro for immigration by the year 2025, is a member of Welcoming America and has created an online hub that explains the Welcoming Week celebration and highlights in-person, hybrid or virtual events organized by dozens of organizations and community leaders across the region throughout the week. This includes screenings of the powerful Day One documentary about a group of teenage refugees who are enrolled at Nahed Chapman New American Academy, a public school in St. Louis that serves only children who are new to the US; The Art of Belonging exhibit at Buder Library and Fiestas Cardenales at Busch Stadium to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-October 15. The online portal also includes simple “challenges” that individuals can complete and share on social media.

“We are proud of how so many in the community regularly demonstrate that they appreciate and embrace our foreign-born neighbors and are emphasizing it during Welcoming Week,” said Suzanne Sierra, Senior Program Manager, St. Louis Mosaic Project. “We hope people will visit the online hub for events they can attend, share with others or organize a new activity to add to the week.”                                     

“Welcoming Week is an invitation to join in the everyday work of building welcoming places for all,” said Rachel Perić, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Together with their neighbors, people of all backgrounds will come together through events in places large and small, rural and urban, reminding us of how our communities work best when every member belongs.” 

As the world emerges from the pandemic, Welcoming Week will look different around the world, with many communities hosting virtual events or limited in-person ones. To see a full list of events, visit Nonprofit organizations, local governments, and individuals are encouraged to participate however they can.



About Welcoming Week

Since 2012, Welcoming Week has served as the annual campaign and celebration led by Welcoming America to showcase the growing movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants. By fostering mutual respect and cooperation between new and long-time residents, Welcoming Week brings together people across lines of difference toward greater prosperity for all. Learn more at 

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. Through the Welcoming Network, we work to change systems and culture by providing communities the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion to create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at 




1) Donate to frontline organizations in St. Louis.

  • International Institute of St. Louis - serving populations from all around the world in the St. Louis area since 1919. As the only refugee resettlement agency in the St. Louis region, IISTL on average serves 7,500 individuals on an annual basis. With deep cuts to the refugee resettlement program over the past several years, IISTL is working on building capacity in order to serve those who come to St. Louis and are in the most need. You can help by sharing current job openings. Not able to donate monetarily? Organize a donation drive for some of our most needed items. Or host a fundraising event or donation drive.
  • Oasis International Ministries (314-535-3800) & House of Goods Baitulman (314-833-3300) both serve critical roles in providing goods and services to newly arrived refugees. Along with monetary donations, they both accept and distribute donated furniture and household items to refugees to start their new lives here in St. Louis. IISTL utilizes help from both organizations regularly.

2) Donate to organizations working in Afghanistan and surrounding areas to help.

3) Donate to specialized service organizations here in St. Louis. We're so fortunate to live in such a diverse city where foreign-born community support organizations are plentiful. It's not just about newly arrived refugees. These organizations serve the wider immigrant populations in our region.

4) Prepare to volunteer your time and energy. We know that we at IISTL are anticipating 1,000 refugee cases this year. We don't know when they will come - sometimes we will receive as little as 24-48 hours' notice of arrival. IISTL, as well as the above-mentioned organizations, will need your help. The best things you can do right now is to prepare - fill out interest forms and applications, stay engaged and informed. We're sure other organizations will form and become more involved. New needs will formulate. Be patient and flexible with the ever-changing landscape that is refugee resettlement.

5) Advocate on any and all levels.  Pick up the phone. Call your representatives (local, state, federal) and let them know that you want action from them now and on an ongoing basis around the issue of Afghan resettlement. Policy makers as well as shapers of public discourse need to understand that there is broad bipartisan consensus for Afghan resettlement and that - regardless of opinions on the military engagement - the United States should not abandon its allies to be persecuted.

While timelines are currently unknown, what we do know is that your help will be needed. Get involved today and stay involved.