During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sharing the stories and experiences of the Welcoming Network in responding to the crisis in their communities as well as the challenges facing immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations. This week, we hear from Ricardo Gambetta-Alvarado, Manager of the Office of International and Immigrant Affairs, City of Aurora, CO.
By Welcoming America
COVID-19 has disrupted daily life all over the world. How has your organization or local government been responding to this crisis while continuing to serve your community?
Aurora is the most diverse city in Colorado, with more than 23% of the total population being foreign-born. For the past five years, the City of Aurora has developed a comprehensive strategy to integrate immigrants and refugees into the mainstream community. We have been fortunate to develop strong relationships and partnerships between the city, the nonprofit sector, and newcomers.
One of the areas that we have been proactive in is citywide languages services. As COVID-19 cases began appearing in Colorado, the City of Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs started putting together a plan on how to get the information being released by federal, state, and local governments out to Aurora’s non-English speakers. During this time, one of the most important responsibilities is to ensure everyone in the city has access to critical health and safety information, including those whose native language is not English.
What have been some of the challenges and opportunities that you’ve faced since the onset of COVID-19? How prepared were you to handle emergency response and crises, particularly in assessing the impact on both immigrants and the broader community?
The Office of International and Immigrant Affairs has been developing a new Immigrant Integration Plan for the past 10 months.