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Hundreds Coming Together In San Diego To Support Newcomers

A San Diego immigrant, Marina, shows a little girl the sky, Jan. 22, 2016.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: A San Diego immigrant, Marina, shows a little girl the sky, Jan. 22, 2016.

Hundreds of representatives from the region's business, education, civic and immigrant communities will convene Friday to evaluate how the San Diego's various sectors support newcomers and what improvements can be made. The day-long conference is one of the first events in a months-long effort to better integrate immigrants to San Diego.

The kick off for Welcoming San Diego, a grant-funded collaboration that includes local government and nonprofit groups, will feature remarks from elected officials, a panel of experts and a series of group discussions.

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Welcoming San Diego Kick Off

Welcoming San Diego Kick Off

A report published at the Welcoming San Diego Kickoff Summit.

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Co-organizer Samuel Tsoi, who expects 250 to 300 attendees, said the effort brings together immigrant-serving organizations with leaders in other sectors that may not traditionally be a part of the conversation.

"Obviously the nonprofit sector has been doing the work of welcoming, day-to-day, for many years — decades even — here in the region, but we want to make welcoming refugees and immigrants here everyone's business," said Tsoi, who emigrated from Hong Kong as a child.

He said a series of community forums will occur over the spring and a final strategic plan is expected in the fall. The report will include specific suggestions for both government officials and the nonprofit community and identify funding sources, he said.

Welcoming San Diego is funded in part by The California Endowment, which matched a Gateway to Growth grant awarded by Welcoming America and New American Economy. Tsoi helped apply for the grant while an Urban Leadership Fellow with RISE San Diego.

Scheduled speakers include Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, City Attorney Mara Elliott, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders and representatives from Welcoming America, New American Economy, Alliance San Diego, CAIR San Diego, UC San Diego and UC Riverside.

Hundreds of representatives from the region's business, education, civic and immigrant communities will convene Friday to evaluate how the San Diego's various sectors support newcomers and what improvements can be made.

Welcoming San Diego funders include The Cal Endowment which supports City Heights coverage. Reporter Tarryn Mento will also be moderating a panel at the free event.

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