Welcome, Neighbor Snapshot: January 2019

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At a Glance:

The 10 neighborhood councils for voted yes to pilot Welcome, Neighbor to make LA more welcoming for resettling Angelenos

  • 58,572 Angelenos engaged to date through in-person events and council meetings, marketing, and social media.

  • 10 Neighborhood Councils enrolled in pilot

  • 8 Welcoming Liaisons appointed

  • 1st Welcoming Committee formed in Historic Highland Park of 5 board members and 1 stake holder

  • 45 more applications submitted, representing 30 Neighborhood Councils across LA

How Welcome, Neighbor Started

We believe that a welcoming city starts with welcoming neighbors and neighborhoods. The idea for Welcome, Neighbor came about in March, 2017 and it had a big goal: Make Los Angeles the most welcoming city in America for refugees. To get there, we created a framework to make it easy and enjoyable for anyone in Los Angeles to get involved with the families resettling in our city. We approached the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) at City Hall saying we wanted to make neighborhood councils the leaders for welcoming their resettling neighbors and board meetings a destination for Angelenos anywhere in our city to get involved welcoming new arrivals.

In June 2017 we led a successful campaign for the LA 2050 Activation Challenge using a charmingly DIYed campaign video shot on an iPhone, winning $200,000 to bring Welcome, Neighbor to life. We won LA2050 through public vote, and our success is thanks to thousands of Angelenos who campaigned and voted for Miry’s List to win. We discovered that we won 2 days before our 2nd birthday and celebrated with a party at WeWork on Vine and gave awards to our most impactful leaders, including Jenna Fischer, whose Instagram stories about Miry’s List reach tens of thousands of people.

The Welcome, Neighbor campaign video

We did it! The Ana Huna award recipients. Awardees from left: Lee Kirk, Jenna Fischer, Christy Anderson, Suzanne Smith, Mahin Bazrafshan. Top row: Founder Miry Whitehill and Rafid Albawi, director of dispatch

A Movement Ignited

We announced Welcome, Neighbor at an open to the public event in downtown LA, New Arrival Festival at the historic El Pueblo. City Controller Ron Galperin gave opening remarks and over 100 people learned about what it feels like to resettle as a refugee in Los Angeles through a panel of new Angelenos moderated by Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani. The evening concluded with a live hummus making demonstration by a Abeer, a resettling mom from Syria, hosted by LA’s “voice of food” Evan Kleiman . Welcome, Neighbor was subsequently covered on NBC, ABC, PRI’s The World, podcasts like School For Humanity, The Dave Chang show, and That Moment with Doree Shafrir, and in print in The Jewish Journal and more. Our social media campaign became a movement igniting Angelenos across the city, including celebrities and elected officials to support Miry’s List in launching Welcome, Neighbor in Los Angeles.

Our new arrival under 30 panel, moderated by Maz Jobrani, Iranian-American comedian and Angeleno

LA2050 Turned the Lights On

LA2050 is a community-guided initiative driving and tracking progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles. LA2050 was launched in 2011 by the Goldhirsh Foundation to inspire an outbreak of civic activism and to develop a roadmap for the future of the Los Angeles region.

With the LA2050 win, Welcome, Neighbor’s lights we turned on! We jumped into program development and rollout, building out “under the hood” of our big idea alongside our partners at DONE.

Welcome, Neighbor is Born

By October, the infrastructure for Welcome, Neighbor was in place. We had a website, with enrollment for neighborhood councils, a Welcoming Resolution, and an a’la carte menu of activations that councils could select to make impact for resettling Angelenos. Our goal was to enroll 10 neighborhood councils in the pilot starting in 2019.

Neighborhood councils select Welcoming Actions to make tangible impact for resettling families in LA

10 Piloting Councils

We needed 10 councils to agendize and vote to enroll in Welcome, Neighbor appoint a volunteer board member or stakeholder as a welcoming liaison to lead the efforts in their neighborhood. Our We got the word out to board members about Welcome, Neighbor through digital media and events with partners and ambassadors. And the strategy worked! By November, 24 enrollment applications had been submitted representing 18 Neighborhood Councils.

There are 99 neighborhood councils in Los Angeles

Promotional strategy for Welcome, Neighbor

Nailed it!

By January, we hit our goal and enrolled 10 councils, many of whom voted unanimously to support Welcome, Neighbor. The support from neighborhood councils was enthusiastic, positive. and passionate! We encountered sweeping approval as we spoke at neighborhood council meetings all over Los Angeles.

The first 10 neighborhoods enrolled in Welcome, Neighbor

Video: LA Neighborhood Councils Voting for Welcome, Neighbor

November, 2018 - January 2019

A Natural Fit

Welcome, Neighbor is a program offered to Miry’s List resettling families in LA in the 2nd phase of resettlement, Hive. The goal in this phase of their resettlement is to give access to neighbors and our community to help them get the people, services, and things they need to rebuild their lives.

We’ve successful integrated Welcome, Neighbor with our existing activities and programming, like Friendsgiving and New Arrival Supper Club, spreading opportunities to make human connections and just being really good neighbors.

A Look Ahead

February begins the Activation phase of Welcome, Neighbor for our piloting councils, including:

  • Appoint a volunteer board member or stakeholder as a welcoming liaison or form a welcoming committee on the board.

  • Adopt the Neighborhood Welcoming Resolution

  • Participate in Welcoming Activations, facilitated by Miry’s List

In March we will offer Welcoming Liaison training at a big event at Grand Park in downtown LA, giving these important volunteers the opportunity to learn, meet each other and proud and excited to lead this endeavor in our city.

How we plan to evaluate Welcome, Neighbor’s success:

  • Activate  100,000 Angelenos with Welcome, Neighbor

  • Make it easy and enjoyable for Angelenos to get directly involved supporting their resettling neighbors

  • Boost participation in Neighborhood Councils and voter turnout for June, 2019 NC elections