If you’ve ever eaten lunch at Pho Thang Café, seen a doctor at MetroHealth Medical Center or gotten a haircut at The Irish Barber, you have to thank an immigrant.
Immigrants number about 88,000 in Cuyahoga County – just seven percent of the population. Yet as business owners, doctors, chefs, artists and more, immigrants have an outsized influence on Cleveland’s prosperity. According to a Cleveland State University study, 40 percent of the Cleveland area’s immigrants have received college educations; 21 percent have graduate or professional degrees. Both educated and uneducated immigrants “expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity,” a University of California, Davis economist found.
Immigrants don’t just help Cleveland’s economy. They also form the backbones of our communities: as parents, grandparents, cousins, neighbors and friends. And as Cuyahoga County’s population has slipped, international migration has helped sustain our numbers. Yet according to the Pew Research Center, 33 percent of Americans considered immigrants a burden in 2016, rather than the boon that they are.
At Global Cleveland, we want to change that false view of international newcomers. By connecting immigrants and refugees with economic and social opportunities in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, we aim to integrate those newcomers into their communities and help them contribute to the region’s economy.
That’s why we’re part of Common Ground, the Cleveland Foundation’s initiative to help people of different backgrounds connect, communicate and create a more united home. At 2 p.m. July 30, hundreds of Clevelanders will gather at Public Square to discuss how they can create a more united city. Global Cleveland and the YMCA of Greater Cleveland will host another conversation at 4 p.m., where we will discuss immigration and refugees in the hopes of sharing experiences, building relationships and strengthening our diverse community.
By bringing together immigrants and native Clevelanders, businessmen and baristas, doctors and their patients, we aim to show how Cleveland benefits from every person who lives here. If you want to join that conversation, we want to hear what you have to say.
Hosted by: Global Cleveland and YMCA of Greater Cleveland
West Park Family YMCA: 15501 Lorain Road Cleveland, OH 44111
Register today, we’re looking forward to seeing you and starting the conversation on supporting local immigrants and refugees!