Welcoming Long Island is a collaboration between Long Islanders from all walks of life – business, government, law enforcement, community and faith - who are proud that Long Island is made up of welcoming communities and want to continue that tradition by increasing understanding of how new Long Islanders share our values, contribute to our economy, enhance our combined culture, and strengthen our communities.
Many immigrant advocacy and service organizations on Long Island exist to do the important work of helping immigrants adjust to life here in the United States. What’s different about Welcoming Long Island is that we focus on the receiving community, on helping native-born Long Islanders understand and appreciate their new neighbors.
Long Islanders agree that we are and will continue to be hospitable, empathetic people. We have a responsibility to treat everyone - neighbors and newcomers alike - with respect and dignity.
We believe that just as fertile soil is needed for a seed to grow, receptive communities are critical if immigrants are to thrive. Welcoming Long Island focuses on the communities where new immigrants have made their homes, helping neighbors build relationships based on trust and understanding. Instead of focusing on the seed, we concentrate on preparing the soil in which it will flourish.
America is seen as a land of opportunity to those seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Our communities are strongest when everyone who lives in them feels welcome.
Hendel Leiva is organizer for Welcoming Long Island, an initiative of Long Island Wins. Hendel has previously worked in his hometown of Brentwood on various community related initiatives, including having served as the assistant campaign manager for the Brentwood Campaign for Quality Education. He graduated in 2010 from the University of Albany with a bachelor’s degree in English/Latin American studies. In 2012, he received his master’s degree in public administration from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
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