New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants & Refugees:
In 2007, a group of New Hampshire immigrant leaders gathered to discuss issues impacting the rapidly growing immigrant and refugee community. This group evolved into the New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants and Refugees (NHAIR), and successfully organized to defeat anti-immigrant state legislation, and to build leadership capacity among the states' immigrant and refugee community. The NHIP is the only initiative in NH that organizes and civically engages immigrants and refugees as voters and leaders advocating for public policy change that ensures the civil and human rights of all NH residents.
NHAIR works to build the power of low-income immigrants of color (regardless of immigration status); increase low-income immigrant leadership; and implement campaigns to protect employment and civil rights of NH immigrants and refugees, working closely with the labor and faith-based allies.
In its previous incarnation as the NH Immigrant Rights Task Force, the group defeated state level anti-immigrant measures (ranging from drivers license access to racial profiling). This effort included testifying at Committee hearings, organizing letter campaigns and developing alliances with faith, business and labor. The Alliance organizes to unite and ignite immigrant communities and alleviate the isolation of the newcomers. We provide trainings and presentation on Know Your Rights, Civic Engagement and Citizenship.
In spite of being a rather young organization operating in a volatile local and political environment, NHAIR sponsored and participated in several successful actions. In terms of our work fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, NHAIR held 2 actions: A rally at City Hall in Manchester (50 people) and another rally at Veteran's Park (30 people) targeting NH Senators' upcoming votes on immigration legislation. Additionally, NHAIR completed a post card campaign with approximately 250 cards signed and delivered by community leaders to Senator Sununu. Finally, for 8 weeks straight, immigrant youth and adults held a weekly standout at Senator Sununu's office demanding his supportive vote for comprehensive immigration reform. Finally, NHIP staff worked very closely with leadership of the Granite State Organizing Project to organize turnout of 350 from across the Northeast and logistics for their Presidential Primary Action held in September of 2007.
Welcoming New Hampshire
In the expansion of the Welcoming America project, NHAIR is also working on bringing the foreign born and the native born together to achieve a positive integration of immigrants and refugees into the social fabric of their receiving communities. Through education and cultural activities directed mainly to non-immigrant audiences, Welcoming New Hampshire intends to build a sensitive understanding of the immigrant community that will lead to acceptance and undermine the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been spread throughout the country by divisive parties.
Our goal in Manchester is to unite all the organizations and individuals that are currently working with immigrants or want to engage in immigrant and non-immigrant integration efforts to establish a diverse committee. With the support of Welcoming America and the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, we will work together to engage with frank and friendly conversation the multicultural and local groups in Manchester through venues such as: coffee hour events, lectures, media messages, multicultural fairs, block parties, interfaith talks, town endorsement, game nights, movie screenings, school presentations and /or by partnering with current events that promote tolerance and understanding towards diverse communities.
Most recently, on November 1, 2013, Welcoming New Hampshire's Ethnic Awareness Committee hosted a conference, "Embracing Integration," at Rivier University to help the receiving community of Nashua and to help service providers, community volunteers and faith organizations in the Nashua area increase their knowledge of and improve their delivery of services to the New American (Immigrants and Refugee) population in Nashua.