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Roanoke first on "Welcoming Communities" national list

Roanoke first on "Welcoming Communities" national list (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Roanoke is the first city in the state of Virginia to get the designation of a "Welcoming community" from the national "Welcoming Communities" initiative.

It's part of a nationwide effort to create more welcoming, immigrant-friendly environments.

Roanoke City received the honor because of efforts to support diversity.

Staff from Commonwealth Catholic Charities said some people were forced to flee their countries because of safety concerns or political conflict. They've found a safe place to live here in Roanoke.

City leaders say it's important to be inclusive and have events like "Local Colors" to honor Roanoke's diverse population.

"We have something really special going on when it comes to having a diverse culture and having that embracing of people with different backgrounds," Beth Lutjun of Local Colors of Western Virginia explained.

The "Welcoming Communities" initiative aims to improve the quality of life and economic potential for immigrants and the overall community.