America is a nation of immigrants – it’s a sentiment that’s widely expressed yet somehow seems easily forgotten. Whether you prefer the metaphor of a melting pot or a tossed salad, the basic illustration remains the same: immigrants are the unique fabric of our country. As a young nation, America’s history is one shaped by stories of migration and entrepreneurship, of bravery and optimism.
On August 27, 2015, MAPC provided the public with an opportunity to directly experience the benefits of immigration in the City of Malden. Along with the City’s department of Strategy and Business Development and The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC), MAPC organized and hosted a dynamic walking tour of immigrant owned businesses in the downtown area, allowing participants from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to see how immigrant entrepreneurship is revitalizing the city and stimulating the local economy.
The day began in the Councilor’s Chamber of Malden City Hall. Participants enjoyed breakfast and heard remarks from the organizers and Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, as well as an impromptu speech by State Senator Jason Lewis, who shared his own personal story of migration from South Africa.
From there, attendees broke down into groups and started the walking tour, with each group visiting four different businesses in Malden’s downtown square. Business owners hailed from a number of different countries, including India, Lebanon, Vietnam, Korea, China, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, and Moldavia.
The tour concluded at the Immigrant Learning Center, where lunch was catered by Oppa’s Kitchen & Bar, a Korean restaurant visited as part of the tour. Over lunch, participants convened to discuss their experiences in small groups and then partook in a larger idea exchange. Just like the immigrant business owners, everyone had a unique experience, and everyone brought something different to the table.
This event was a part of MAPC’s Walks and Talks Program – which aims to bring people together to explore issues, projects, and places essential to creating a sustainable and equitable region. Our goal is to provide a dynamic space to learn, network, and connect around the critical issues facing Metropolitan Boston.