Since 2014, the organization I Am An Immigrant has encouraged the celebration of immigrants and culture sharing through the celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month. Every June, Immigrant Heritage Month reminds us to celebrate immigrants and their contributions to America and American culture.

Immigrant Heritage Month encourages all Americans to celebrate the contributions immigrants make to our society. It creates new avenues for individuals, communities, organizations, and leaders to support the immigrants around them. In this month, we come together to celebrate immigrants for who they are and work to increase our ability to support them.

Why we celebrate immigrants

At Avantpage, our mission is simple: to empower immigrants to achieve their American dream through trusted language translation. We work tirelessly to provide opportunity to all people by ensuring they can understand the new world they’ve entered into.

This mission is deeply seated in our organization for many reasons. At our core, we are an immigrant-founded language service provider. Luis Miguel, our CEO, came to the United States as a teen in 1973 for a summer camp and set his mind to emigrate and chase his own American dream. When he started as a college freshman in January 1978, he was faced with the very real need for language support and access to connect with the people around him.

Many of our employees have seen first-hand how language services and support can improve the lives of immigrants because many of our employees are immigrants. Regardless of where they’ve come from, what country they’ve chosen to move to, the common thread among their stories is decreased access or accessibility in language.

Language is one of the many ways we connect with other people; in fact, it’s likely the most common way we connect with others. Immigrants who have imperfect control of the language in their new country can face discrimination, isolation, and other adaptation challenges. At the same time, immigrants have done incredible things to support the countries they are now a part of. We celebrate the immigrants that work with us to create greater language access, the immigrants that had to fight to escape persecution and bring their culture to their new home, and every immigrant in between.

To celebrate immigrants is to celebrate the contributions they make, both tangible and intangible, to their new country. Without immigrants in the United States, our melting pot culture would not exist, nor would some of the most incredible achievements we’ve seen in our history.

To celebrate immigrants is not enough

If you support immigrants, and you value creating opportunity for all in the way that we do as an organization, action is necessary. No action is too small, especially in our current political climate, to show your direct support to the immigrants that mean so much to our nation. Reach out to your elected officials and tell them how important it is that the United States remain an open and welcoming place to all. Thank those officials in your local area that are supporting and standing up for immigrants. Offer monetary donations to organizations that are directly taking action to ensure immigrants are safe and cared for before, during, and after they cross our border.

If nothing else, start talking. Host a supper club in your community where all are welcome. Write about the positive impact immigration has had on your community; change the narrative. Living under a “zero-tolerance” policy should mean zero-tolerance for hate, discrimination, and prejudice – not zero-tolerance for the immigrants who need our support.

Join us this month, and every month, in celebrating the immigrants around us. Do what you can, no matter how small it seems, to support the United States as a land of the free, where anyone can chase their American dream.