Bellevue celebrates Welcoming Week

The city of Bellevue, Bellevue College and even the Bellevue Family YMCA want the community to know Bellevue welcomes all in a series of events occurring Sept. 15-24.

Welcoming Week 2017

In collaboration with other Eastside cities, nonprofit partners, faith organizations and community groups, the city of Bellevue will host a variety of activities in celebration of Welcoming Week 2017, Sept. 15-24. The events will highlight the city’s ongoing commitment to diversity while also recognizing the importance of engaging immigrants, refugees and residents from all cultural backgrounds.

The festivities will kick off on Friday, Sept. 15, with a presentation called “Welcoming 101: Walking Our Talk” at the Redmond Library. On Monday, Sept. 18, Bellevue Mayor John Stokes will present a Welcome Week proclamation also signed by the mayors of Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish. The events are hosted by an array of local partners and have been coordinated by the Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition (ERIC). A full list, broken down by city, can been found online at:

“Welcoming Week is a special event that we’re proud to be a part of,” said Mark Manuel, diversity outreach and engagement administrator for the city. “It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together and for all residents to be part of something positive that influences the way we relate to each other.”

In 2014, the Bellevue City Council adopted the vision statement, “Bellevue welcomes the world. Our diversity is our strength. We embrace the future while respecting our past.”

Since then, the city has led a strategic effort to engage residents through a number of programs including the Diversity Advantage Initiative. The U.S. Census Bureau found, that as of 2015, Bellevue became the largest city in Washington state to have a majority population of people of color.

Welcoming Week is sponsored by Welcoming America, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that supports local outreach efforts to “build bridges between newcomers and long-time residents.”

Cultural Conversations

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Cultural Conversations, Bellevue’s popular women’s discussion group aimed at increasing cultural understanding and connection, will begin its seventh season as part of “Welcoming Week.” The anticipated debut will explore the role culture plays in communication styles and how we can better engage with others. The event will take place from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Crossroads Community Center, 16000 NE 10th St.

The program will feature Spring Cheng, founder of Resonance Path Institute, who will share her story of cultural awakening during her immigration from China. Cheng will discuss how she embraces the value and gifts of both individualized “I” (focused on self) cultures and collective “We” (focused on the group) cultures to build relationships.

The event is free, refreshments will be served and women of all ages, faiths and cultures are welcome to attend. To RSVP, contact Carol Ross at 425-452-7917 or; or Barb Tuininga at 425-452-7654 or

Bellevue College

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Bellevue College will host a “Carnival Welcome Fair” for Bellevue College students. The event will have “Brutus” hot dogs, chips, cotton candy, popcorn and giant games such as a giant slide and giant Pacman. There will also be fortune telling, henna painting and other activities to engage students.

The welcome fair’s goal is to encourage students to get to know some of the 70 clubs on campus, connect with valuable resources and find ways to enjoy the campus and have fun. For more information, visit

Bellevue Family YMCA

The Bellevue Family YMCA will host a free Health and Resource Fair to celebrate Welcome America Week on Saturday, Sept. 23.

The purpose of the event is to connect international communities to one another and to provide resources available. The YMCA is partnering with International Community Health Services, the Eastside Legal Assistance Program and many other community partners to provide free health screenings. A Know Your Rights Immigration Workshop and free legal clinic as well as food, music and games will also be available.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.