Columbus is a city that has taken great strides to be more welcoming to newcomers, using a variety of initiatives to help people from other states and foreign countries connect to the community.

The highly popular Ethnic Expo festival each fall and the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization, made up of nine member associations, illustrate the variety of nationalities represented in Columbus — whether due to a temporary work assignment or a permanent move.

That means Columbus is home to many immigrants — a mini-melting pot, if you will.

But how do immigrants view Columbus? And what do their perspectives say about the community?

Two projects will reveal answers to those questions, and tell the stories of local immigrants in the Columbus area:

“Columbus in My Eyes,” led by Rev. Felipe Martinez of First Presbyterian Church

“Discovering Columbus: The Experience of Women Immigrants,” led by Aimee Zoeller, coordinator of sociology and women’s studies at IUPUC.

The projects — both funded by Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County — are intended to illustrate the experiences of immigrants from the community through images and written stories.

“Columbus in My Eyes” allows immigrants to express how they view life in the city by entering photographs to be displayed around Columbus.

“Discovering Columbus: The Experience of Women Immigrants” will involve workshops to help women put their stories into 250 to 500 words, and photo shoots.

Both efforts are welcome and will be helpful in documenting the histories of newcomers, but they also will provide a different perspective on the community. How newcomers view Columbus compared to longtime residents may be different, and knowing why is important.

Columbus has worked hard to promote diversity and inclusion. These projects, like previous initiatives, work toward that objective, and a greater understanding of the community.

Send comments to editorial@therepublic.com.

For more information

“Discovering Columbus: The Experience of Women Immigrants”

Contact: Aimee Zoeller at anzoelle@iupuc.edu or 812-348-7330.

“Columbus in My Eyes”

Contact: Felipe Martinez at felipem@fpccolumbus.org or 812-372-3783.