DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The City of Dayton earned an historic designation, becoming the first certified “Welcome City” in the U.S.
The designation relates to the city’s inclusiveness and integration of immigrants.
The Dayton City Commission announced the certification at its meeting on Wednesday morning.
City officials say their immigrant-friendly initiative began in 2011.
“We are proud of the recognition Dayton has earned as being the first Certified Welcoming city in the country. This recognition affirms to the country what we have known in Dayton–our community is a welcoming place for everyone who chooses to make Dayton home,” said Mayor Nan Whaley.
The become certified, the city underwent a vetting process through Welcoming America, a non-partisan, national non-profit organization. Welcoming America evaluated local efforts to establish an inclusive community though government leadership, civic engagement, equitable access, education, economic development, and connected and safe communities.
“Since the inception of Welcome Dayton, Dayton has been a leader in the welcoming movement,” said City Commissioner Matt Joseph. “With the recognition as the first Certified Welcoming city, we are excited to continue to lead the country on creating more welcoming and inclusive cities that benefit all residents. We have received this recognition because everyone in the community has recognized that we all have a responsibility to make Dayton welcoming for everyone who makes Dayton home.”
Welcoming America launched the Certified Welcoming program in April 2017 to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard.
“Communities like Dayton offer an alternative to the divisive rhetoric around immigration and show how inclusion is good for our economy, neighborhoods and future,” added David Lubell, executive director of Welcoming America. “Certified Welcoming is the first of its kind initiative to identify the standard for other communities that want to follow this growing trend and show that they are welcoming not only in word, but in deed.”
The certification is for three years, after which Dayton will go through a recertification process to ensure it is continuing to meet the Welcoming Standard and has maintained its commitment to welcoming.