What is the Feasibility of a City-Supported Immigrant Welcoming Center in Hartford, Connecticut?
View the Policy Memo we prepared for Hartford City Council HERE.
The Immigrant Welcoming project team, in collaboration with the Connecticut Working Families Party, investigated the feasibility of a city-supported immigrant welcoming center in the city of Hartford. Hartford’s foreign-born population is high compared to most mid-sized cities, at over 21%. Of the city’s refugees and immigrants, the population is especially diverse. The immigrant community is an asset to Hartford because they make up a large percentage of the workforce. There is a significant need for a comprehensive welcoming center to serve this population in Hartford. A form of additional support would provide current and new immigrants with resources to support their adjustment to a new community.
Background Information on Community Partner
Our community partner, the Hartford Working Families Party, is represented by councilwoman Tiana Hercules and councilman Joshua Michtom. The Working Families Party is a progressive labor party, determined to reduce inequality and racism and promote equity and inclusion within all aspects of Hartford.
Tiana Hercules is a licensed criminal defense lawyer, living in Asylum Hill, who specializes in immigration, family law and civil prosecution. While she worked at the Public Defender’s office, Hercules had a very strong approach to anti-gun violence in Hartford. Previously, Tiana was employed as the Special Assistant to former Hartford Mayor, Pedro E. Segarra (2010-2015). Hercules is no stranger to working with non-profit organizations; she has worked closely with the Mutual Housing of Greater Hartford, NINA, Girls for Technology, and the Board of Deacons at Asylum Hill Congregational Church. She currently has her hands full, being the appointed Commissioner for the Connecticut Commission for Children, Women, Seniors, Equality and Opportunity. Tiana holds a firm belief that equitable access to quality, affordable housing, health care, education, food and wages is crucial to a prosperous Hartford.
Joshua Michtom, a Parkville resident, officially became a member of the Hartford City Council in the fall of 2019. In 2017, Michtom received recognition by the South Side Neighborhood Institute for his outstanding fundraising to obtain and maintain musical instruments for Hartford Public Schools. He was also distinguished for his work with displaced families as a result of Hurricane Maria. In addition to his job as a councilman, Josh is an Assistant Public Defender at the Connecticut Office of the Chief Public Defender. Michtom is no stranger to activism, being one of the co-founders of the Hartford Deportation Defense Group; he has organized and conducted numerous community-wide discussions concerning both public safety and human rights issues in Hartford. Michtom was also an attorney at the Law Office of Joshua Michtom, where he was committed to working towards meeting the needs of children, families, small businesses, and nonprofits in Hartford; he even defended families in child protection proceedings with the Office of the Chief Public Defender. At present, he is the councilman for Hartford’s Working Families Party, where his mission is to voice the needs of Hartford citizens, focusing on regulating and defunding the police, redefining housing standards and social services, and bringing clarity and transparency to the city government.