Dear Welcoming Anchorage Friends,
Home is a place that we should all feel safe and secure. Anchorage is our home. Whether we are from a village upstream from where our city now sits, or a war torn community half-way around the world – whether we came here for work or were born here of generations and ancestors from long ago. Anchorage is our home. Welcoming Anchorage builds upon the welcoming traditions of the Dena'ina people, who have been the stewards of these lands for thousands of years.
When Anchorage became part of “Welcoming America” in 2014, we became part of a movement to acknowledge and activate the diversity we have come to know so well. We know that being “welcoming” is a character and value that defines our city and all who call Anchorage home. We are welcoming because we understand that being far away, tucked up here in the northern corner of the U.S., we need each other. Especially when times are tough, and we face an uncertain future. As Alaskans, what matters is our willingness to extend a hand, not what color or political persuasion or sexual orientation may be on the other end of that hand. What counts is our promise to our state and to each other.
And so we recommit to being a welcoming community. We stand together in kindness and grace. We are grateful for being welcomed into this incredible land by those who came before us, and we are eager to welcome all who are committed to ensuring a safe and happy home for generations to come.
With warmest regards,
Dr. Mara Kimmel
Former First Lady of Anchorage
In 2014, the Anchorage Assembly signed Anchorage onto the Welcoming Cities project, a collection of cities from across the United States that recognizes the economic, cultural, and social contributions that immigrants and refugees make to our communities. Building on this network, Welcoming Anchorage is a collaboration between the Municipality of Anchorage, local businesses, and organizations, that strives to reinforce Anchorage as a place proud of our heritage and poised to position ourselves as a globally competitive, culturally vibrant 21st century community.
The Welcoming Anchorage initiative has five pillars: Employment and Entrepreneurship; Civic Engagement; Connected, Safe and Healthy Communities; Equitable Access; and Education.
Civic Engagement: Activities under this pillar include hosting annual Welcoming Week activities; hosting community wide diversity events, creating community partnerships, and designing and hosting civic engagement academies.
- Connected, Safe, & Healthy Communities: Activities under this pillar include promoting public safety, education about the law, and cultural awareness among service providers.
- Economic Development & Entrepreneurship: Activities under this pillar include ensuring engagement in all sectors of Anchorage’s economy by tearing down barriers to entry and minimizing “brain waste;” promoting entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Education: Activities under this pillar may include building cradle to career opportunities for newcomers including childhood and adult education and ESL opportunities.
- Equitable Access: Activities under this pillar include ensuring access for limited English proficient residents and eliminating barriers to community services..