One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Irish Immigration Center, Boston, MA
Contact(s): Lena Deevy, Executive Director: (617) 783-9122
Purpose: To educate recent immigrants on ways to combat racism and to build collaborative partnerships between different ethnic groups

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Irish Immigration Center (IIC), in Boston, Mass., has developed both its Cultural Awareness Program and the Anti-Racism Immigrant Outreach Program (ARIOP) because it saw that issues facing recent Irish immigrants were shared by immigrants of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Developed by IIC Executive Director Leena Deevy in 1994, the cross-cultural programs counter racism, advocate for immigrant rights and combat discrimination of all types. This is done by helping immigrants learn about themselves and others, and by promoting multicultural partnerships.

Program Operations

The IIC works with the Irish immigrant community, including those people of Irish ancestry. The organization and its programs are volunteer run and supported by a multiethnic staff. Its cross-cultural programs identify issues that affect immigrants of all races and ethnicities to give each group a common goal. During Black History Month, the organization has sought to develop better understanding between the Irish-American and black communities in Boston with its annual Black and Green Day. Black and Green Day brings together the two cultures to share music, food, song and dance. It has also been a forum to explore the similarities between the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and the United States. The ARIOP program combats racism at a systemic level by working with other ethnic and racial groups. ARIOP brings together people of different racial and ethnic groups to examine their histories and daily lives as members of the same community. The IIC hosts an ongoing Inter-generational Dialog on Racism bringing together veteran activists involved in anti-racism work in the Boston area who mentor younger activists, and an ongoing Anti-Racism Training that works with Haitian and black communities in Boston.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

The IIC has been honored by the city of Boston during Black History Month for its support of better race relations. Over the last four years, the Black and Green Day has grown to include more than 200 participants. The Inter-generational Dialog on Racism has 30 members of its organization attending on a regular basis, and the Anti-Racism Training is currently training 30 people from its organization and representatives of the black communities in Boston. Both of these programs use the participants to promote the goal of multiculturalism in different organizations throughout Boston, and to recruit new members. In March 1998, the IIC coordinated an observation of International Women's Day that had approximately 250 participants. The event hosted a black youth group, the Uprising Dance Theater Group and the South Boston Neighborhood House, another Irish-American organization, to celebrate both women and multiculturalism. Some of the groups the ARIOP has worked with recently include: Community Change, Immigrant Solidarity and Action Alliance, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Alliance, and the Brazilian Immigrant Center.

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