NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The City of New Orleans has been designated as the first city in Louisiana to be a certified welcoming place.

The distinction came from the Welcoming America, a national non-profit organization that is said to lead a movement of inclusivity among communities so that they can be more prosperous in making sure everyone belongs.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell describes the city as a welcoming hub for visitors and a home to diverse immigrant population.

“The work to become ‘Certified Welcoming’ builds upon the resolution I passed as a City Councilmember in 2015 to make New Orleans a Welcoming City. Openly celebrating and embracing diversity has been a part of my mission, not only because everyone matters, but also because that is what makes up the beautiful fabric of our city. With the certification from Welcoming America, we are continuing the path to becoming a more inclusive city for immigrants and refugees, and we will further strengthen our goals of becoming a safe, equitable and welcoming community for all.” 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell

The certification is for local governments that have made the effort to create policies reflecting commitment to immigrant inclusion.

They assess local governments” efforts of including immigrants into areas of civic, social and economic life in their communities.

The certification process was headed by Cantrell’s Office of Human Rights and Equality in partnership with other community organizations.

“As a daughter of an immigrant mother, I am thrilled to be part of a city striving to be a welcoming city to all,” said OHRE Director Kahlida Lloyd. 

ElCentroLA Executive Director Lindsey Navarro said this certification means the city is where Latino-owned businesses are supported, encouraging owners to pursue the American dream.

On Saturday, Oct. 14, Cantrell will join students with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and community leaders to welcome Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet, also a Syrian refugee child, symbolizing global human rights.

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