In honor of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Week, we are featuring one of our member cities—Beaverton, OR—that has made supporting immigrant communities a priority. Welcoming Week is a time when a chorus of thousands—in communities large and small, rural and urban—celebrate the benefits of an inclusive society and deepen their commitment to creating places that are welcoming to everyone, including immigrants.
Member City Spotlight: Getting Bold in Beaverton, OR
Meaningfully engaging residents and fostering civic participation is a critical priority for cities across the country. With 1 in 5 residents in Beaverton, OR born outside of the country, engaging their newest residents and investing in representation is prioritized through their BOLD Program.
“I believe that local councils, boards, and committees need to look like the community they’re representing,” said Mayor Lacey Beaty.
“So it’s critical that we are empowering our residents to become more civically engaged.”
Open to both immigrant and refugee residents, as well as leaders of color, the BOLD program is developing the next generation of civic leaders through a series of training sessions. The content draws from each participant’s direct, lived experiences and knowledge with the goal of boosting engagement of underrepresented communities in city government.
BOLD trainings focus on:
- Understanding the City of Beaverton’s government structure, political landscape, and how to get involved;
- Building a shared understanding of our experiences and priority issues;
- Learning concrete leadership, community organizing, and advocacy skills to impact public policy;
- Building cross-cultural relationships with people from around the world;
- Helping to make Beaverton a thriving, multicultural city that is inclusive to everyone
“Knowing that the city wanted my voice was new to me, that was one of the biggest things I took away,” stated one participant, “don’t silence your own voice.”
Since 2012, the BOLD program has engaged 177 participants. Of those participants, there have been 37 appointments and reappointments of 22 individuals to city boards and commissions, like the Planning Commission, Visioning Advisory Committee, Arts Commission, Budget Committee, Library Committee, Human Rights Advisory Committee and more.
“Our community works at its best when more voices are at the table,” added Mayor Beaty. “The BOLD program helps provide us with a clear, intentional path forward to make that happen.”
Interested in implementing a similar program in your city? Contact us.