New #HamiltonForAll campaign aims to curb anti-immigration sentiments

Last year's U.S. presidential election led to an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric, two Hamilton agencies say. Now they've launched a campaign aimed at making Hamilton more welcoming to newcomers.
The new campaign #HamiltonForAll is aimed at making Hamilton more inclusive and welcoming to newcomers. (#HamiltonForAll)

Last year's U.S. presidential election led to an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric, two Hamilton agencies say. Now they've launched a campaign aimed at making Hamilton more welcoming to newcomers.

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) and the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council launched #HamiltonForAll today. The campaign involves handing out posters showing commonalities between longtime residents and new arrivals.

The goal is to make people realize we're all Hamiltonians, said Yohana Otite, HCCI program manager.

"The message is 'You don't just belong in Hamilton, you are Hamiltonian.'"

The idea came after the U.S. presidential election, when now-president Donald Trump focused on immigration in his campaign. In particular, Trump said he would ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries, and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The ensuing friction resulted in reports of anti-immigrant sentiments here, Otite said. In particular, resident Janice Floyd says a man approached her in the store and said "You all shouldn't even be here."

This campaign is focused on "myth busting," Otite said.

"When you read about immigration, you don't usually make the connection that these are people. When you see you have commonalities with them, that's when you make the connection."

The campaign includes eight posters, and ambassadors who talk about their favourite Hamilton places to visit, or what they like about the city, or their messages for other newcomers. Organizers also want ideas from the community on how to make the city more inclusive.

They encourage social media users to use the hashtag #HamiltonForAll.

"We want to encourage Hamiltonians to connect with and welcome newcomers," Otite said. 

About the Author

Samantha Craggs

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Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca