RALEIGH (Jan. 26, 2009) -- Uniting NC -- a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to promote understanding and respect between recent immigrants and their U.S.-born neighbors -- has launched an ambitious media campaign across the state.
With billboards viewed by thousands of North Carolinians daily in Asheville, Charlotte, Rocky Mount, Smithfield, and Washington, and with public service announcements running on several major radio stations, Uniting NC is making a significant impact in the immigration debate by highlighting the positive contributions that immigrants make in our society.
The president of Uniting NC's Board of Directors, Randy Jones, said: "We know that immigration policy is a hot political topic, but we're not here to debate policy. We don't do advocacy and we're completely non-partisan. We can all agree that we want North Carolina to be a state that shows respect for all people, especially who those who make there homes here, whether they are natives or new neighbors who came here from across the country or across the world.
Because of the heated rhetoric surrounding immigration issues, Uniting NC engages in two main activities in order to promote mutual understanding between immigrant and non-immigrant communities. First, they sponsor local conversations on these difficult issues. These dialogues take place at colleges, churches, libraries and community centers - anywhere people want to come together to discuss what's important in their community. Second, Uniting NC sponsors positive messaging around the theme of welcoming new North Carolinians to our state - promoting positive values that North Carolinians cherish, including mutual respect, intercultural understanding, and diversity.
Through its website, Uniting NC introduces people to some of their immigrant neighbors in order to learn their stories: what brought them to North Carolina, what their families are like, and what they're doing to contribute to our communities and make a better life for themselves.
George Alwon, director of the Raleigh Consulting Group and a Uniting NC board member, believes that North Carolina must continue to welcome newcomers in order to succeed in the 21st century. He said: "We're uniting to help revitalize declining communities through the contributions of immigrant families working in tandem with their native-born neighbors. We're working toward stronger communities with the ability to meet wide-ranging needs, enriching the social and cultural fabric of our society. And we're increasing our global competitiveness through a multi-lingual, multi-cultural workforce."
To date, Uniting NC's statewide campaign has been endorsed by a wide range of business, faith, education and community leaders. To learn more, visit: www.unitingnc.org.