At Solas 2022, The Welcoming Center is celebrating three Philadelphia immigrant organizations that are working tirelessly to address important issues faced by immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia region. Through their dedication and hard work, each of these organizations have become anchors within immigrant communities. Our official hashtag at The Welcoming Center is #WelcomingWorks, and I Belong Philly is a perfect example of that.
I Belong Philly is a volunteer group dedicated to serving immigrant communities in the Greater Philadelphia area. They believe that raising the voices of immigrants and facilitating integration can make a better and more welcoming city. Their mission is to foster a space that creates opportunities, builds dialog and relationships, offers networking opportunities, and appreciates culture. Their ultimate goal is to help immigrants realize a better life in the U.S., which they have done since the group’s founding in 2019.
Members of I Belong Philly
The founding members of I Belong met as participants of the Immigrant Leadership Insitute at The Welcoming Center. Through the program, they utilized their developed skills and assessed the real needs of the community, which brought about the formation of the group. I Belong does not have one “leader” at its helm, but rather operates under the collective leadership of all of its members.
When asked what the term collective leadership means to her, Silvia Roldan, originally of Ecuador, said, “I think that when we are together working in a group, we do much better. We have many different ideas. We join all of these ideas and we work together to create new programs and projects for the immigrant community. I think all of us have incredible skills that we brought from our countries and others that we got here in the United States. So we take all of those skills from all our members and we create marvelous programs for the immigrant community.”
Ben Goebel, a founding member of the group and an immigrant from France, spoke about why the work of I Belong is important to Philadelphia:
“It’s important because there are not many groups that exist that are one hundred percent made of immigrants who are here to help [other] immigrants, and also to make sure that we can empower immigrants to take action, to create events, and to make sure that their cultures are represented in the city.”
As one of our honorees at Solas 2022, I Belong Philly is positioned to grow their reach exponentially, and we at The Welcoming Center are honored to provide any possible backing to allow them to achieve their goals. Please join us at Solas 2022 at Cherry Street Pier on April 27, 2022, to recognize and celebrate I Belong Philly!