The timeline for the New Tulsans Initiative reflects a community driven process that involved gathering information, data, and learning, as well as engaging immigrant and long-term residents throughout the process of developing the final Welcoming Plan that outlines pathways for Tulsa to welcome and become more inclusive for immigrants.
Phase 1 of the New Tulsans Initiative focused on gathering information and securing grant funds through the Gateways for Growth Grant.
- April 2017 – Tulsa delegation attended the Welcoming Interactive in Atlanta, GA where representatives from different sectors came to learn more aboutcutting edge policies that cities across the US were employing to embrace immigrant communities and becoming more prosperous.
- September 2017 –Tulsa was selected for the Gateways for Growth Challenge Grant, a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive direct technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants. On September 20th 2017, Mayor GT Bynum officially launched the New Tulsans Initiative, housed under the Mayor’s Office for Community Development and Policy. With the support of the Gateways for Growth Challenge Grant, the New Tulsans Initiative began a community driven strategic planning process to develop a city-wide welcoming plan that would promote immigrant inclusion.
Phase 2 focused on launching the Tulsa’s New American Economic Impact Report and hosting the first New Tulsans Summit
- October 2017 – Collaborating with the Partnership for the New American Economy and the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New Tulsans Initiative prepared an economic impact report of immigrants in the Tulsa metropolitan area.
- November 2017 –The New Tulsans Initiative Summit at the Tulsa City-County Central Library convenes leaders to discuss the report results and participate in group breakout sessions regarding immigration integration as it relates to civic engagement, economic development, education, equitable access, health and law enforcement. Over120 stakeholders attended, each representing a broad spectrum of expertise, including business, health, education, nonprofit, and government services, in addition to immigrants from diverse origins
Phase 3 focused on gathering draft recommendations from community organizations, faith-based groups, schools, businesses, clinics, and other formal institutions
- Aligning the New Tulsans Initiative with best practices, subcommittees were established to focus on key areas, including: policing/first response, health, education, economic development and civic engagement. Chairs for each of the committee were chosen based on experience in partnering with immigrant communities and social service organizations, proven leadership and influence as well as strong connections to resources. In January 2018, the chairs were invited to lead and all accepted:
- Civic Engagement: Mana Tahaie, local independent consultant on immigrant issues, and Jose Vega, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator for Oklahoma Equality Center
- Economic Development: Brett Campbell, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce of Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce and Elian Hurtado, Loan Officer at Arvest Bank
- Education: Diane Eason Contreras, Director of YWCA Immigrant and Refugee Center, and John Thao, TRiO Academic Advisor
- Health: Jessica Lozano, Blue Cross Blue Shield Bilingual Outreach Coordinator and Alison Anthony, CEO of Tulsa Area United Way
- Public Safety: Elizabeth McCormick, director of the Boesche Legal Clinic and Sheriff Vic Regalado, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office
- February 2018 – Chairs met with representatives from diverse organizations, businesses, and institutions to review data collected at the New Tulsans Summit and to establish communication methods and meeting schedules through April in order to develop draft recommendations
- March 2018 – New Tulsans Initiative subcommittees reviewed best practices and strategic plans for immigrant integration from other cities. By learning from best practices and taking into account Tulsa’s challenges and assets, committees began drafting recommendations for the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan
- April 2018 – Subcommittees completed drafting recommendations with committee members for the New Tulsans Welcoming Plan, which are presented at chair meeting with the Mayor on April 30th
Phase 4 focused on engaging immigrant residents of Tulsa to review and provide feedback on draft recommendations and developing scales for measuring success
- May 2018 – Collaborating with the Partnership for a New American Economy and Mayor’s Office of Performance Strategy and Innovation, the New Tulsans Initiative developed methods to asses immigrant integration, compiling indicator outcomes that focused on civic engagement, economic empowerment, education, health, and equitable access.
- May through July 2018–Community focus groups consisting of representative immigrant populations reviewed recommendations and provided feedback for the draft vision and goal statements
Phase 5 focused on publishing the final Welcoming Plan and hosting the New Tulsans Conference
- August 2018 – On 08/27, chairs met once more to review feedback from community focus group sessions and integrate the recommendations into a final strategic plan
- September 2018 – The City of Tulsa with the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, Schusterman Foundation, Tulsa Area United Way and YWCA host the first New Tulsans Conference at the Martin Regional Library from September 20th- September 21st. The New Tulsans Welcoming Plan is formally announced at the conference.
- September 2018-September 2020 Implementation of the New Tulsans Initiative Welcoming Plan