Welcome Week Press Release

The FM Area Joins Welcoming America, Communities across the Country, to Celebrate Immigrants during National Welcoming Week, Sept. 12–20, 2015

Contacts: Christian Harris, Executive Director of The New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, or The WE Center: 701-491-0628

Dr. Kevin Brooks, Professor of English and Bush Foundation Fellow: 701-231-7147

September 12-20, 2015, the Fargo-Moorhead area joins Welcoming America for the first time to celebrate National Welcoming Week. Eighteen different organizations are collaborating to host 13 events that will recognize immigrants contributions to the local community, connect neighbors, and further the social and economic integration of newcomers. Flags from 50 nations will fly in downtown Fargo starting on September 12th, and for every day of National Welcoming Week, there is at least one event scheduled.

Welcome Week Poster of Events

Welcome Week Poster of Events

Some of the already scheduled events include a community meal to kick off the week, a family movie night at a local elementary school, a volunteer orientation for those interested in supporting English language learning, a soccer tournament, a community garden event and a small-business workshop. Additional events are being added as local organizations find out about this exciting week of programming. “These celebrations are part of a powerful and growing movement in our country,” said David Lubell, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Communities recognize that they are more vibrant and prosperous when everyone feels welcomed. Across the United States this week, new and long-time residents are building bridges and making their communities stronger, together.” The week will be capped by a celebration of International Peace Day on Sunday September 20th at 4 pm, Carlson Library.

“We are proud to join this national effort to show that in our local community, New Americans are valued and are part of what makes Fargo-Moorhead a great place to call home,” said Christian Harris, Executive Director of The New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment and catalyst for the local efforts. Co-chair for the WelcomingFMarea committee, Kevin Brooks, said: “We are stronger together, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate National Welcoming Week. These events show that in Fargo-Moorhead, we are working to make our community the kind of place where diverse people from around the world feel valued and want to put down roots.”

Welcoming America helps communities across the country reach their full economic and social potential by becoming more welcoming toward immigrants. Welcoming America brings together a broad network of nonprofits and local governments from across the U.S. and strengthens their work with the know-how, tools, and incentives they need to transform their communities in to vibrant, prosperous places where all residents can contribute. To find out more, visit www.welcomingamerica.org

Each year in September, Welcoming America and its partners across the country host events that celebrate the benefits of building welcoming communities and bring together immigrants and U.S.-born community members in a spirit of unity through service projects and other events. For more about Fargo-Moorhead’s Welcoming Week events, visit https://www.facebook.com/WelcomingFMarea

Posted in Press Releases, Welcome Week

Welcome Week 2015: Sept. 12-20

National Welcome Week is gaining traction in its third year; the FM area is expanding from one event in 2014 to a week of events in 2015.  The tentative FM Area schedule is as follows:


Saturday the 12th

  • Flags from 50 nations will be flown in downtown Fargo all week (all month?)

Sunday the 13th

  • Growing Together, the Cultural Diversity Resource Center, and the Refugee Consortium of North Dakota will host a Community Meal at Rabanus Park, starting at 11:30 am with garden tours and food stories. Official program at 12:30, followed by meal and visiting until 2:00 pm. Other details still being considered.

Monday the 14th: The Refugee Consortium of North Dakota will offer a Language Exchange information session. Come learn a little Somali, Nepali, Arabic or other languages, and sign up for Language Exchange classes that will start in October. Location: Fargo Public Library, downtown.

Tuesday the 15th

  • CHARISM Family Movie Night, with Fargo Police Department cooperation. 6:00 pm start.

Wednesday the 16th

  • Job Services of North Dakota will offer a tour of their facility and services, 3 pm.
  • The Refugee Consortium of ND will host a volunteer recruitment at the Fargo Public Library. 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Volunteers can sign up for in-home English language tutoring, high school tutoring, Fargo Adult Learning Center tutoring, or Project English tutoring.

Thursday the 17th

  • Constitution Day: NDSU event TBD. (12:30-1:45 pm).
  • Growing Together will welcome all visitors to the The Gathering Garden (25th Street and 40th Ave) for fun and games. Early evening; exact time TBD.

Friday the 18th is still open.

  • Refugee Consortium of North Dakota is working on an event.
  • A WEST FEST collaboration might be possible in West Fargo.

Saturday the 19th

  • The Fargo Social Outreach Development organization is hosting a World Cup soccer tournament at Johnson Park, just south of NDSU. All day: 9 am to 6 pm. Free and open; bring a lawn chair, cheer on the teams.

Sunday the 20th

  • Somali Cultural Celebration, Fargo Public Library. 2 -3 PM.
  • International Day of Peace Observance. 4PM. Clapp Senior Center at Carlson Library on 32nd. Ave. South, Fargo. Handicapped Accessible. The event will focus on the theme of Peace through music and readings honoring the family of humankind.  Sponsors are the Baha’i Faith Community, Presentation Sisters, Center for Interfaith Projects, and the F/M Unitarian Universalist Church.



September 24th, just after Welcome Week, Job Services North Dakota will have a city-wide Job Fair and offer support services for New Americans searching for employment.

Posted in Welcome Week

Press Release: Launching the Refugee Consortium of North Dakota

May 6, 2015. Fargo ND.

Today during the NDSU Award of Excellence ceremony, 2015 Chamber of Commerce Faculty Service Award Winner, Dr. Kevin Brooks, will offer his award stipend as a fundraising match to launch the Refugee Consortium of North Dakota. Friends and supporters have added to the match: Brooks and the Consortium hope to raise $20,000 by May 22nd to fund The Consortium’s operations and programming for the rest of 2015.

Brooks, a Professor of English and Bush Foundation Fellow for 2013-15, has spent the last two years reviving Giving + Learning, an in-home English Language Learning program that served the FM area from 2001-2011. He has matched approximately 60 tutors and 75 learners over the past 18 months and has personally put in over 100 hours of tutoring at the Fargo Adult Learning Center and Kennedy Elementary’s International Family Night.

Giving + Learning will continue as an education program within the Refugee Consortium of North Dakota. The Consortium currently has three members—African Initiative for Progress, Somali Community Develop of North Dakota, and the Bhutanese Community Association of Fargo—and will continue to add membership in order to build a united and resourceful coalition. The Consortium’s work is being enthusiastically received in the area by educational, governmental, and the social service sector agencies. Rather than having services provided for refugees, the Consortium is taking the initiative to have refugees support refugees in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The Consortium envisions developing The WE Center: Where WELLNESS and EMPOWERMENT Happen. The WE Center will continue to offer English and Citizenship classes, but also host a women’s empowerment group, a language exchange program where host community members can learn Arabic, Somali, or Nepalese, summer programming for kids, and community conversations about multiple ways of knowing and healing. The WE Center will bring together the refugee community and the host community to build social bridges, bonds, and links that have not fully developed in the FM Area.

For more information about The Consortium: http://www.refugeesconsortium-nd.org/

For more information about the fundraiser: http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/launching-the-refugee-consortium-of-north-dakota/344784

To schedule an interview, please contact
Kevin Brooks: kabbie@mac.com or 205-2709
Christian Harris: christianforprogress@aol.com or 491-0628

Posted in Press Releases Tagged with:

The WE Center Vision

Since January of 2015, The Consortium has been developing and refining a vision for The WE Center: Where WELLNESS and EMPOWERMENT Happen. The WE Center will be a resource for the New American and immigrant communities, but it will also be a gathering spot where newcomers and host community members can come together.

The idea was first sketched out in response to a Request for Proposals issued by the City of Fargo. The proposed building has since been condemned,so The Consortium is considering other locations while still offering English classes at the 28th Street Mosque and the CHARISM Community Center, and developing additional programming like a women’s empowerment group and a language exchange program.

The WE Center will fill a gap that is typical of resettlement efforts. The WE Center aims to build the social bridges, form the social bonds, and make the social links that are so often hardest to establish when resettlement efforts focus on employment and self-sufficiency first.


Posted in Uncategorized