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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Nashua receives ‘welcoming city’ designation

By DAMIEN FISHER

Staff Writer

NASHUA – Mayor Jim Donchess introduced a resolution this week to make Nashua a “Welcoming City” as part of a national program to support and celebrate the immigrant population in Gate City.

Donchess said Nashua’s immigrant communities have been an important part of the city’s growth during the past several years, noting that newcomers help the community thrive and grow. ...

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NASHUA – Mayor Jim Donchess introduced a resolution this week to make Nashua a “Welcoming City” as part of a national program to support and celebrate the immigrant population in Gate City.

Donchess said Nashua’s immigrant communities have been an important part of the city’s growth during the past several years, noting that newcomers help the community thrive and grow.

“We live in a city where our public schoolchildren speak 50 different languages,” he said.

“We live in a state where the immigrant population grew 10½ percent from 2010 to 2014. And we live in a country where immigrants make up 13 percent of the population but start one-fourth of new businesses.

“It is crucial to Nashua’s social and economic success that we commit to policies that empower our immigrant population and support the many organizations who serve immigrant population,” Donchess said.

The Welcoming America initiative is a nonprofit organization that assists groups and local governments in supporting immigrant populations, making cities and towns into communities where newcomers are welcome.

The mayor’s effort has the backing of the United Way of Greater Manchester, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Nashua’s Community Conversation on Race and Justice, the Nashua Cultural Connections Committee, the Adult Learning Center, and the Nashua Area Interfaith Council.

Donchess said the resolution has already been adopted in Concord and Manchester. There was strong support from the public when Donchess introduced the resolution at Wednesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

Muhammad Akbar, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Nashua, applauded the resolution and his adopted home city.

“I feel welcome already,” he said.

The ISGN building on Pine Street Extension was hit by a rock thrown Sept. 11, leaving some congregants shanken and one window broken. Community leaders, like Ward 4 Alderman Tom Lopez, responded by holding a vigil for the ISGN.

Akbar came to the United States 29 years ago and has been living in Nashua for the past 15 years. He said the city has always treated him and members of his community well.

“I love our city, and I love all the support that we get,” he said.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-6531 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com.