When Samuel Tsoi first emigrated from Hong Kong, the then-8-year-old focused on learning English to assimilate into his new country.
“And yet, I wasn’t given an opportunity to retain my Chinese language, so I had to learn that later on,” Tsoi said.
Because in today’s globalized world, he said, bilingualism is an asset. That is one example he hopes representatives from the education, business, government and nonprofit sectors will consider as part of a new committee focused on improving immigrant integration. Tsoi, named an Urban Leadership Fellow with RISE San Diego, said the effort with the city of San Diego and other partners will examine how systems currently work and what can make them better.
“What is it like to advance more dual-language immersion programs? What does it look like for us to have parents engaged in the parent-teacher association?” he said. “How do we make sure there’s language access so parents don’t feel like, ‘Oh if I don’t know English, I can’t participate in my child’s education’?”
The proposal to establish the committee and draft a strategic plan earned $25,000 in funding, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office announced Wednesday. A Gateways For Growth grant from Welcoming America and New American Economy is providing half of the support and the rest will come from The California Endowment.
Read the full story from KPBS: “San Diego Wants To Be An Even More Welcoming City To Newcomers”