Some Key Developments in the Establishment of Welcome Dayton:
1) September 2009 through August 2010: The Board of the Human
Relations Council (HRC) initiated a Racial Equity Assessment
of discrimination in housing within the city of Dayton against immigrants, with a particular focus on the undocumented.
2) September 2010 through February 2011: City Manager Tim Riordan, HRC Director Tom Wahlrab and two City Commissioners discussed the idea for an Immigrant Friendly City initiative.
3) February 2011: The City of Dayton created a Core Team consisting
of City staff from three Departments and one HRC board member.
4) February 2011: The Core Team wrote an initial purpose statement and plan design was used to inform local officials and citizens of the Immigrant Friendly City initiative and solicit their support and commitment.
5) The Core Team made contact with the National League of Cities, informed them of the Dayton initiative and received documents that informed the efforts.
6) February 28, March 15 and March 23, 2011: The Core Team facilitated open conversations with selected invitees (about 75 people attended).
- From the attendees, asked for a commitment of 90 days to develop goals and objectives for a three-year plan.
- Held an organizing meeting of the committee attendees and developed a “Mapping Strategy.”
- Divided the group into five committees: a) Social Services and Health Services; b) Local Government and Justice System; c) Business and Economic Development; d) Banks and Financial Institutions; and, e) Community Culture, Arts and Education) and set up reporting meetings for April 27, May 25 and June 22, 2011.
8) April 5, 2011: Held a fourth conversation as a part of the Miami
Valley Fair Housing’s Fair Housing Month event. The event was advertised through MVFH and a City of Dayton press release.
- This event was also mentioned in a front page Dayton Daily News (DDN) article on April 5 on immigrants in Dayton on the day of the event and was reported on in the DDN the following day.
- April 9: A lead DDN editorial was devoted to the need for cities like Dayton to nurture immigrant migration and applauded the initiative.
- April 14: A letter to the DDN editor written by the House of the People board chairperson was published supporting the initiative.
9) April 15, 2011: Core Team members attended the “updayton” conference
and presented the IFC for consideration for selection. The initiative was chosen by updayton to be one of the four for a year-long commitment of participation.
10) Established a Facebook page for team members.
11) June 22, 2011: Completed and presented final reports to City management.
12) August 3, 2011: Developed an Executive Summary of sub-committee reports and presented it for feedback from the sub-committees.
13) August 18, 2011: A workgroup of Core Team members and City staff brainstormed options for a permanent name for the initiative. “Welcome Dayton” was proposed and chosen, following review by additional constituents.
14) October 5, 2011: The City Commission votes to adopt the Welcome Dayton plan.
- Mayor Gary Leitzell, City Commissioners and City Manager Tim Riordanhave publicly spoken in support of the initiative.
- One City Commissioner and a Major with the Dayton Police Department met with about 40 international students at Belmont High School and asked for input about how the community can become more immigrant friendly.
- City staff are assisting Pilipino Society of Greater Dayton to find a new home/location. This is one of several examples of how the City is already assisting existing immigrant communities.
- Mayor Leitzell, in his 2011 State of the City address, highlighted the immigrant friendly initiative.
- Interest has been shown by officials from the cities of Kettering, Springfield and Cincinnati.
- The list of interested residents and volunteers continues to grow as people hear of the initiative.
- A long-term Dayton-based employer, who has a specific interest in employing more immigrants, has asked to become more informed of the initiative and is considering writing their “story” of helping immigrants settle in Dayton.
(updated February 1, 2012)