Immigration reform is a hot-button topic, one that’s complicated, far-reaching, and divisive. Unfortunately, the conversation about immigration often gets rendered down to a simplistic “us and them” continuum. But pulling back focus on the topic reminds us that almost all Americans are descended from immigrants; that in its early days, the country was built by the dreams and hard work of people who came from somewhere else.
A new campaign from Welcome.us–a new nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating U.S. immigration–aims to change the dialogue around immigration by placing attention on the country’s diverse immigrant heritage. The campaign is intended to support and raise awareness for the inaugural Immigration Heritage Month this June, which was initiated by Welcome.us and is now officially recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The campaign’s national spot, “Welcome.us” celebrates the diversity of immigrant heritages across America. It was conceived from script to screen by upstart director studio Everdream, the company that recently earned kudos from Elon Musk for a spec spot for Tesla called “Modern Spaceship.” “We were given a one-sheet about what Welcome.us stands for–which is that we’ve all been welcomed here before so we have to keep that tradition going–and then it was up to us,” says James Khabushani, co-CEO of Everdream. The result is poetic reminder that, no matter where people came from or what their motivations might have been, every American has had a hand in building the country. “You’ll see that no one’s face is shown. That’s very intentional and deliberate. We wanted to show that we’re all unified and we’re all after the same things in making this country great.”
Throughout Immigration Heritage Month, Welcome.us will sponsor and participate in events across the country, including the Grand Opening of the Baltimore Latino Economic Development Center on June 4; a naturalization ceremony for more than 50 new Americans in Miami’s Little Havana on June 5; and on June 7 a naturalization clinic in San Francisco, and a screening of “CUBAMERICAN” in Washington, D.C. Visitors to www.Welcome.us can also share their own immigrant heritage by entering the date their ancestors first came to America, which then generates a social media profile picture with the year their family was established.
Welcome.us is supported by FWD.us, an organization dedicated to immigration and education reform that was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Padmasree Warrior, and other tech leaders.