Approximately 100 or so people attended the conference, which was presented by the International Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC). About 20-30 agencies were on hand to help refugees, immigrants and others connect with basic services, such as schools, housing and getting a driver’s license.
Another goal of the gathering was to begin a dialogue aimed at making Cincinnati a more immigrant-friendly community.
“We want to hear what problems these groups are facing, what are their concerns,” says Natalie Fair-Albright, ICGC director. “Many times agencies are only hearing from case workers. We want to start a face-to-face dialogue.”
Fair-Albright estimates there are as many as 60,000 Hispanics now living in the area as well as 14,000-15,000 West Africans.
“Cincinnati is a lot more diverse than people realize,” says Fair-Albright. “There are also Koreans, Eastern Europeans, Indians, Japanese and more, and they bring a variety of talents and skills to Cincinnati.”
The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue is working with ICGC to get a better understanding of the various immigrant communities in Cincinnati. Three Xavier M.B.A. students are working on a survey to get a better picture of what countries are represented in the tri-state.
Nursing students from assistant professor Hilreth Lanig’s class are also working on the project. They are trying to raise awareness to provide timely health care for immigrant populations.
ICGC is a non-profit organization formed two years ago to help immigrants, refugees and asylees in the Cincinnati area develop the proper connections, communication links and access to social services to help them become active and productive citizens.