Philadelphia kicks off Immigrant Heritage Month in style

Palante Dance Company members perform Wednesday, June 2, in front of City Hall at an event marking the start of Immigrant Heritage Month.
PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

Traditional Korean drums mixed with Latin dancing Wednesday morning in front of City Hall to mark the start of Immigrant Heritage Month.

It’s the fifth time Philadelphia has commemorated its immigrant communities in June, and there’s a wide range of events planned, incorporating a multitude of nationalities.

Among the focuses will be business development, with the Mayor’s Office partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia to offer three virtual sessions aimed at helping entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

In addition, the Welcoming Center will be launching a toolkit for employers with tips about how to recruit and promote immigrants in the workplace.

“Philadelphia’s immigrants, regardless of their status, and I’ll say it again, regardless of their status, have always represented an important part of our community,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a news conference Wednesday kicking off the start of the activities.

“This past year has been difficult economically and mentally for all of our residents, but particularly for our immigrants,” he added. “I know many of you have lost businesses, jobs, had a hard time navigating testing and relief resources, and many of you have even lost family members and friends due to COVID-19.”

Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, a professor at La Salle University, was honored by the city Wednesday for his work translating COVID-19 press conferences. PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

Kenney went on to condemn the hate and violence faced by the Asian American community and said he hopes for healing.

City leaders, during Wednesday’s event, also honored Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, a La Salle University professor. He has provided Spanish translation for the city’s coronavirus press briefings, which, in the early days of the pandemic, were held daily and, until recently, were conducted weekly.

Palante Dance Company members perform in front of City Hall. PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

WXPN has been doing a year-long project that has been carried on public radio stations around the country examining the impact of Haitian immigrants on New Orleans music culture.

On June 23, the station will host a free screening of “Nou Lau,” a film that follows the stories of Haitian American artists in Philadelphia.

“The contribution of the Haitians in the United States is not well documented, unfortunately, and especially in Philadelphia,” said Josephys Dafils, executive director of Hatian American United for Change.

Josephys Dafils, executive director of Haitian American United for Change speaks at Wednesday’s event. PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

Other events include the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, which is ongoing and runs through June 6; “Korea in Queen Village,” a cultural event with performances that will take place at 3 p.m. June 13 at 8th and Catherine streets; and a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and resource fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at 101 E. Olney Ave.





Join the Celebration:

NCAHM Official Kick-Off — Caribbean Community in Philadelphia

The Caribbean Community in Philadelphia will host its kick-off event to promote National Caribbean American Heritage Month and Immigrant Heritage Month. The ceremony will be broadcasted live on Facebook.

June 5, 11 a.m. to noon, virtual

Philippine Flag Raising

To commemorate the 123rd Philippine Independence Week, the Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia will be raising their country’s flag.

June 12, noon to 1 p.m., Philadelphia City Hall, 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd. 

Tenth Annual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival

The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival will screen local and international films online from May 30 to June 6. More information about the films is available on the PHLAFF website.

Business Plan Toolkit series

In this three-part series, members of the public can learn how to use free library resources to research your business plan.

  • June 16: Elements of a business plan, business plan resources and examples, and industry codes.
  • June 23: Researching your industry and identifying competitors.
  • June 30: Using demographics to identify your target audience, getting started with financials, and finding free or low-cost assistance.

Register for these events online at

Engaging Immigrant Talent Toolkit Launch

Join The Welcoming Center for the virtual launch of the Engaging Immigrant Talent Toolkit on Thursday, June 17 at 1 p.m. The toolkit will share tips and tools on how to hire, retain, and promote immigrant talent. Register here.

June 17, 1 to 2 p.m., virtual  

Free Film Screening of Nou La: The Haitian Diaspora in Philly

XPN’s Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans presents a free virtual screening of its film series Nou La showcasing the Haitian Diaspora in Philly. Following the stories of several Philadelphia-based Haitian American artists, culinarians and cultural workers, Nou La vividly illustrates how the culture of Haiti thrives through their crafts and lives.

This event is free to the public and can be accessed via Zoom in both English and Haitian Creole. Register for this online event here.

June 23, 7 to 8 p.m., virtual 

Vaxx Up Philly! Philly Counts & PDPH pop-up clinic and resource fair

Residents can get their COVID-19 vaccine at this walk-up clinic. Individuals can also get their PHL City ID and learn more about Philly311. Multilingual interpreters, volunteers, and staff will be on site.

June 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Olney Shopping Center, 101 E Olney Ave.

A full list of events can be found online at