Chinatown: Navigating Change, Growth And Development

Chinatown: Navigating Change, Growth And Development

Crafted by artists from Tianjin, China and coated with tiles manufactured in Philadelphia, the Friendship Gate on 10th and Arch streets symbolizes a kinship between two cities that are nearly 7,000 miles apart. In 1984, the 40-foot arch was erected at the border of Chinatown. Since then, massive development projects — like the Vine Street […]

 

Immigration: With Limited Options For Employment, Many Immigrants Become Entrepreneurs

Immigration: With Limited Options For Employment, Many Immigrants Become Entrepreneurs

Teresa Herrera’s dream began with a shopping cart, which she pushed around North Philadelphia and sold her homemade recipes out of. Hector Hernandez’s began in the driver seat of a limousine. Xu Lin’s was an abandoned shoe store. Despite their varied experiences and industries, Herrera, Hernandez and Lin have all supported their families and themselves […]

 

Immigration: Symbol Lai Helps Direct The City Of Philadelphia’s Position On Immigration

Immigration: Symbol Lai Helps Direct The City Of Philadelphia’s Position On Immigration

Symbol Lai (above, far left) is the deputy director in the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), which was formerly known under Mayor Michael Nutter as the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs. OIA — which adopted its name when Mayor Jim Kenney was elected in 2016 — is designed to provide immigrants support […]

 

Immigration: Jewish Immigration Through A Philadelphia Native’s Family Eyes

Immigration: Jewish Immigration Through A Philadelphia Native’s Family Eyes

Russian teenagers immigrating to the United States in the early-1900s experienced American freedom even before docking at Ellis Island. For the first time in their lives, these boys and girls spent unsupervised alone time together. The adolescent freedom symbolized more pertinent benefits of living in America, Leon Boonin wrote in his 1940 memoir, “Experiences in […]

 

Immigration: When English Isn’t The Native Language, Difficulties Arise

Immigration: When English Isn’t The Native Language, Difficulties Arise

Viral incidents of people berating others for not speaking English have gripped the internet. In one case, a New Jersey teacher insisted students “speak American.” In another, a New York lawyer threatened to call Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers after hearing employees and customers speaking Spanish at a lunch spot. “It’s America,” he cried. For […]

 

Housing: How Ceiba Guides Immigrants Seeking A Home

Housing: How Ceiba Guides Immigrants Seeking A Home

As a product of collaboration between four other Latino-focused groups (Esperanza, Norris Square Community Alliance, Concilio de Organizaciones Hispanas de Filadelfia and Finanta), Ceiba is an organization which offers a range of services, including advocacy work and financial literacy programs. Another Ceiba program assists immigrants with a fundamental need: housing. It connects a variety of people […]

 

Immigration: Saida Harpi Uses ESL Classes To Find Common Ground And Unite Communities

Immigration: Saida Harpi Uses ESL Classes To Find Common Ground And Unite Communities

In Saida Harpi’s English language classroom, immigrants from any country are welcome. The blanket offering means the students in Harpi and her coworkers’ classes often come from a variety of countries — including Vietnam, Russia and Algeria — with an equally staggered set of native languages and English skills. Since becoming the lead English teacher […]

 

Housing: Octavia Hill Association’s History Of Offering Immigrant Housing

Housing: Octavia Hill Association’s History Of Offering Immigrant Housing

As waves of immigrants from European countries poured into a crowded Philadelphia, the Octavia Hill Association (OHA) was founded in 1896 to help them find housing. Now, 122 years later, OHA is still around and still manages some of the same properties. In 19th century London, England, Octavia Hill — displeased with her city’s housing situation […]

 

Immigration: Akbar Ahmadzai Helps Non-English Speakers Receive City Services

Immigration: Akbar Ahmadzai Helps Non-English Speakers Receive City Services

At the Nationalities Services Center, Akbar Ahmadzai can help native speakers of 150 languages better understand English. Ahmadzai, the director of language access and proficiency, oversees two programs: NSC’s year-round ESL classes and its interpretation and translation program. Annually, he said NSC helps more than 5,000 people with English proficiency. NSC project managers and independent […]

 

Immigration: How Philadelphia’s Public Libraries Can Benefit Foreign Born Residents

Immigration: How Philadelphia’s Public Libraries Can Benefit Foreign Born Residents

Philadelphia has had a long history when it comes to libraries. Benjamin Franklin started the country’s first library, The Library Company, which remains open today, 287 years later. Today, the Free Library of Philadelphia finds itself in a unique position. While most public libraries are operated by local governments, FLP is managed by an independent […]