While it’s true that we are focused on making a compelling documentary about refugee resettlement in Utica, NY, the wider goal is to have an impact on the national conversation about resettlement. To that end, partnerships with organizations interested in refugee issues are coalescing around the project. Three key partners have stepped forward: Knology, Rain Barrel Communications, and John Zogby Strategies. Together with the The Center, featured in our film, we have been working to conceptualize a larger project. We will use the film and other communication tools to promote a more accurate representation of what refugees contribute to our country of immigrants.
Here are a few ideas we've been workshopping with our partners:
A targeted rollout of the film in select cities where we will solicit feedback and incite the creation of local refugee stories. For the latter, we will set up an audio recording booth, recording both refugee stories and the stories of those who welcome them.
The building of a long-term plan to disseminate honest information about what refugees bring to the US. The goal being to help the country re-establish itself as “Welcoming” and do its part to alleviate the largest refugee crisis since WWII.
Uses of social media, shorter films, and other communications to convey truths about refugee resettlement. Not only are they not a great security risk, they are also generators of local economic growth. Municipalities that have accepted significant refugee populations are reaping benefits.
Ways to identify change makers in the area of resettlement and means of empowering them to effectively disseminate information on the topic.
Knology is a collective of scientists, writers, and educators dedicated to studying and untangling complex social issues. They recognize that no issue exists in isolation from its social and environmental context. Basing their research on real-world applications to develop practical approaches to thorny problems, they are committed to serving the public good by sharing their data and clearly reporting their results.
Rain Barrel Communications is an international communications consulting firm that co-creates social good initiatives with partners. They achieve their goals by applying innovative, evidence-based methodologies and by creating culturally respectful alliances.
New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. What started as an idea has grown into a national movement fueled by groundbreaking research and grassroots advocacy. NAE has established a presence in every state, built lasting relationships across the political map, and generated significant buy-in from the media and other relevant influencers – in Washington, DC and well beyond.
One of nine VOLAGS (Volunteer Organizations) responsible for placing refugees in specific geographic areas, LIRS works with MVRCR to oversee resettlement in Utica. For 80 years, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has offered welcome and hope to more than half a million refugees. Since 1939, LIRS has transformed lives with the support of individuals, federal assistance, private sector partnerships and Lutheran congregations to welcome the most vulnerable to the United States.
John Zogby Strategies, led by nationally renowned pollster, author, trend-spotter, and local Utican John Zogby, the company helps organizations navigate a dramatically changing world. For four decades they have worked with governments, Fortune 500 companies, startups, small non-profits and the United Nations to use data to achieve social good.
The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers. Founded in 1991, FPI works to create a strong economy in which prosperity is broadly shared.
Argot Pictures, founded by Jim Browne in 2005, has distributed dozens of films, including Marshall Curry’s Academy Award®-nominated Street Fight, John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll, Throw Down Your Heart, a documentary about legendary banjo player Béla Fleck, Stacy Peralta’s Crips and Bloods: Made in America, and Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday’s Big Sonia.