RWHP Logo
RWHP Logo
Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative

Message from Lead Community Liaison

The GINI Blueprint outlines a vision for a safer, vibrant, and more inclusive Gainesville and Alachua County. Thanks to support from the Gateways for Growth initiative, the GINI Blueprint reflects a 15-month collaboration between the City of Gainesville and community members. It is a plan devised by 60 community members, 8 organizations and the voices of 182 foreign-born respondents to the 2022 GINI Immigrant Welcoming Survey. This is a living document which will shift as goals are attained and as new voices come to the table.

The GINI Steering Committee has reviewed data, developed the 2021/22 GINI Immigrant Welcome Survey, and held workshops and listening sessions. We have learned that one in ten neighbors is foreign-born. Immigrant residents represent one quarter of Gainesville and Alachua’s growth, and almost one in five new businesses is attributable to this community. Immigrants represent about 14% of spending power in the County ($696 million) and contribute $57 million to state and local taxes.

Building a comprehensive plan requires that we identify opportunities for progress. The Blueprint elaborates on five goals to overcome past inequities: Engaged Communities, Equitable Access, Healthy Communities, Safe Communities and Equitable Education. The goals are in recognition of the different realities faced by immigrant neighbors, acknowledging the roles that race, culture, and economic status play in both perception and treatment. Therefore, these goals include actionable steps intended to strengthen our area Robin Lewy, GINI Initiative Co-Lead with culturally competent, linguistically accessible services, as well as non-bias policies to enhance the safety and inclusion of immigrants and refugees who call Gainesville/Alachua County their home.

Such a plan affirms City and County efforts to support sustainable, innovative, and prosperous communities. We know this work will require adjustments, additions, monitoring, and, most importantly, support from the community. The Steering Committee calls on social service providers, nonprofit organizations, government entities and immigrant community members to engage in this work.

Won’t you join us?

—Robin Lewy, GINI Initiative Co-Lead

GINI Timeline

*SCOART is a blended application of a SWOT and SOAR strategic planning tool
**Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County

GINI Immigrant
Welcoming Survey

If you are an immigrant neighbor, please select your language to complete our community-inclusion survey.

Building a Welcoming Community

Welcoming America, the national organization that provides guidance, resources and standards for creating inclusive communities has established the following seven categories that define welcoming places:

  • Government Leadership: In welcoming places, local governments implement systems and programs that strengthen community efforts and embed inclusion within government agencies.
  • Equitable Access: Welcoming places work to ensure community services and opportunities are available to all residents, including newcomers. This includes improving access to healthcare, childcare, transportation, and more.
  • Civic Engagement: Welcoming communities actively ensure that residents, including newcomers, fully participate in civic life by increasing access to leadership and democratic spaces.
  • Connected Communities: Welcoming communities build connections between newcomers and long-term residents by strengthening relationships, communicating shared values, and promoting a welcoming culture through institutional communications.
  • Education: Welcoming communities strive for an educational system that ensures all students have the support they need to succeed in school and at work.
  • Economic Development: Welcoming communities harness the potential of all residents by developing economies that leverage the talents of all people.
  • Safe Communities: Welcoming communities foster trust and build relationships between residents and law enforcement and other public safety agencies.
11.3%
Immigrants made up 11.3% of the total population in Gainesville in 2019*

14,800

immigrants lived in
Gainesville, Florida, in 2019*

24.4%
24.4% of the total population growth in the city was attributable to immigrants*

*Data comes from 5-year samples of the American Community Survey from 2014 and 2019 and figures refer to Gainesville, Florida.

The Blueprint Goals

The GINI Blueprint provides an action plan with goals and recommendations towards creating an inclusive and safe community for immigrants. We believe the steps outlined in this plan should serve as a foundation for future policies coming from the City and County. Specific metrics for the recommendations, as well as best practices and flow charts are available as part of the GINI Blueprint Tool Box.

Click on each of the goals to read more about them.

  • Safe Communities
    Improve the relationship between immigrants and law enforcement and increase knowledge of rights.
  • Engaged Communities
    Create an environment that prioritizes inclusion and a sense of belonging for all residents.
  • Healthy Communities
    Ensure health services throughout Gainesville and Alachua County are accessible and responsive to the needs of all.
  • Equitable Education Ensure schools throughout Gainesville and Alachua County are responsive to the barriers immigrant families face.
  • Equitable Access Implement language access policies across City and County government, educational institutions and health services.
ribbon

GINI Successes to Date:

October 2021: Gainesville’s Immigrants Day Proclamation Mayor Lauren Poe acknowledges the economic impact of immigrant communities and the many struggles they encounter

October 2021: GPD adopts “anti-bias” policy Prevents officers from inquiring about legal status

Nov. 2021- Feb. 2022: GINI Community Survey Distributed 182 responses representing residents from 35 countries and 8 regions. Offers recommendations and reflections on community inclusion and safety

December 2021: Gainesville City Commission motion on ARPA funding
Adopted a motion requiring the translation of any City initiatives or policies approved for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and the use of the same grant’s money to help pay for language access initiatives across all core services.

March 2022: GPD launches multilingual community resource videos Video series highlights recently adopted anti-bias policies

Community Spotlights

Saeed Khan

Saeed Khan

Retired Professor from University of Florida, past President of the Muslim Association of North Central Florida, the local chapter of the United Nations Association and RAHMA Mercy Clinic
ribbon

Yennifer Molina

Madres Sin Fronteras, Vice President of the Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County
Jyoti Parmar

Jyoti Parmar

Executive Director, North Central Florida Indivisible

Next Steps

GINI group

The GINI Blueprint is a living document. The Steering Committee has already seen proof of the group’s influence taking root within the community in the areas of safety and inclusion. As such, the Steering Committee recognizes that, while we expect some recommendations outlined in the GINI Blueprint will take time to implement, many are actionable strategies that can and should be taken promptly by the City of Gainesville, Alachua County, and our school board. These steps will serve to solidify their commitment to the inclusion of immigrants and advance efforts towards becoming a more Welcoming City.

We urge swift action by the Gainesville City Commission, Alachua Board of County Commissioners and the Alachua County School Board on the following two recommendations:

1. Implementation of telephone-based language services
This includes contracting, training and comprehensive use of this service across the organizations.

2. Hiring of Immigrant Liaisons
Will be tasked with operationalizing language access and spearheading the implementation of practices that increase immigrant safety and civic engagement.

To date, the staff and leadership at the city and county have been instrumental to GINI’s work. It is the hope of the GINI Steering Committee that these key players will continue to work with immigrants, their allies and community organizations as we move toward the implementation of the Blueprint recommendations.

To this end, we have created the GINI Toolbox74 Steps, which includes metrics for success, essential resources, and examples of best practices from across the nation. This resource will provide a step-bystep guide for each action step outlined. The City and the GINI Steering Committee will continue to work together to inform the community about our progress as our important work continues.

We understand that several key elements are likely missing from this blueprint but our work is not done. As the Steering Committee charges ahead, we anticipate deep discussions on entrepreneurship, job training, affordable housing and the creation of a welcoming center, just to name a few. The GINI Steering Committee will serve as a sustainable resource of guidance for the city, county, school board, and other community agencies seeking to adopt new inclusion practices and policies.

Becoming a Welcoming Community requires a united effort by all of us, for all of us. Let’s work together to ensure everyone living in Gainesville and Alachua County is welcomed and feels a sense of belonging!

Upcoming Opportunities

In April of 2022, the RWHP received an Implementation Grant from the Gateways for Growth, in order to play a guiding role on three GINI strategies over the Summer of 2022:
Education Assemblies:
FREE

Aimed at bridging the information gap between Alachua County’s education system and immigrant families, providing guidance on how to navigate the requirements and expectations for both students and parents.

Language Access Institute:
FREE

Language Access Institutes will be free workshops available for agencies and government services on how to build a language access plan and integrate a language line.

“Day of the Immigrant:”
FREE

Event will be a celebration of all the contributions and different cultures our immigrant neighbors bring to our community.

As these projects move forward and GINI continues to evolve, it is the hope of the Rural Women’s Health Project that our community becomes more aware of the barriers immigrants face and join our effort to build a truly Welcoming Community.

Learn more at the City of Gainesville's GINI website here

If you are interested in joining GINI, please send an email to GINI@rwhp.org

* Formerly known as New American Economy

Acknowledgments

GINI Core Team:

Core Team

Deborah Bowie - Former Assistant City Manager, grant co-lead
Sophia Corugedo – Fellow, Office of the City Manager / City of Gainesville
Chief Inspector Jaime Kurnick - Gainesville Police Department
Robin Lewy - Rural Women’s Health Project, grant co-lead
Ethan Maia de Needell - Rural Women’s Health Project

There are so many people and organizations involved in the GINI Project.
Click here to see everyone that has helped bring GINI to the community.