City leaders on Wednesday announced the beginning of a effort to study Tulsa’s immigrant population and develop a policy plan in support of “new Tulsans.”
“We are ready to listen,” said Christina Starzl Mendoza, community development and policy assistant in the Mayor’s Office. “If you’re a new Tulsan, we want to help you become part of our community in a way that is socially responsible.”
She said the New Tulsans Initiative is beginning with a grant from the New American Economy’s Gateways for Growth Cities program to use data in studying Tulsa’s specific immigrant population.
“We have a lot of different national origins,” Starzl Mendoza said. “Our largest one is Hispanic, but we also have a large Asian population that are coming and making our city better. One of the things I really hope is to bring folks together and find some commonalities.”
The city, along with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, plans to host a “New Tulsans Summit” in November to bring businesses, nonprofits and residents together to mold the direction of a strategic plan, which they hope will be developed in the next year.
“Right now we have over 2,200 immigrant entrepreneurs in our city,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “A lot of you know my family has been here for a long time, but I think about my Irish ancestors coming here 100 years ago and what it would have meant to them to come to a city that welcomes them with open arms, showed them the opportunities that were there and brought them into the economic and political leadership of that city.”