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King County honors refugees, immigrants


King County joins municipalities across the country to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month and recognize generations of immigrants that build our country and region’s cultural and economic character.


IHM_webAt a time when the issue of immigration is dominating national and international headlines, the Metropolitan King County Council and Executive Dow Constantine have declared the month of June as Immigrant Heritage Month. The declaration occurred earlier today, following a celebration of King County’s rich diversity and immigrant stories of families, individuals, businesses, and communities. 

“Today we celebrate past and present generations of immigrants to the United States. The diversity of immigrant stories and experiences is what makes this region and our nation such a special place,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski. “As a nation, we should embrace and support today’s immigrant communities; they strengthen our Democracy.”

This is the first year that King County joins municipalities across the country to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month and recognize generations of immigrants that build our country and region’s cultural and economic character.

“Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month is an important step towards recognizing the contributions of immigrants to this county and the nation,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “As part of our commitment to equity and social justice, we must ensure that King County use our resources to identify and overcome barriers in the full participation of immigrant and refugee communities in the social, political, and cultural life of our society.”

King County is the second fastest growing county in the United States, with over half of that growth coming from immigrants and refugees.

“Immigrants and refugees make up the very fabric of our nation. I’m proud of the work King County has done to respectfully integrate and eliminate some of barriers these individuals face in accessing opportunities, but there is much work to be done,” said King County Chair Joe McDermott. “Immigrant Heritage Month serves as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the fight for equity.”


            WHEREAS, generations of immigrants from every corner of the globe helped to build and continue to contribute to America’s unique cultural and economic character; and

            WHEREAS, diversity is the lifeblood of our nation – the hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation that power our economy and improve our way of life flow from our multicultural and inclusive nature; and

            WHEREAS, immigrants grow, harvest, and serve our food; build and clean our buildings; and do every job imaginable around the clock, every single day; and

            WHEREAS, immigrants and their descendants have been tireless leaders in the ongoing struggles for social justice and civil rights, fighting for the rights of all Americans; and

            WHEREAS, immigrants and refugees account for more than half of King County’s growth over the past two decades; and

            WHEREAS, more than one in five of King County’s two million residents were born outside of the United States and speak over 170 different languages; and

            WHEREAS, despite these remarkable contributions to our communities, immigrants are too often overlooked and undervalued in our society; and

            WHEREAS, the County has taken specific steps in recent years to respectfully integrate and to bring down the barriers that immigrants face in accessing opportunities; and

            WHEREAS, the King County Immigrant and Refugee Task Force will issue a report with recommendations on the thoughtful creation of an Immigrant and Refugee Commission, in order to ensure fair and equitable access to services and improved opportunities and outcomes;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim June 2016 as


in King County and call on all county residents to celebrate King County’s rich diversity and share our collective stories. 

DATED this twenty-seventh day of June, 2016.

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