Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will be honored in Boston on Sunday with the Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award from the Latino Leaders Network, a national organization that each year recognizes a mayor who has exhibited an outstanding commitment to bringing diverse communities together.
The Latino Leaders Network (LLN), which works to highlight individuals who make a positive impact for Latinos in the United States, cited Mayor Fischer’s strong track record of making Louisville a city that embraces diversity and provides resources to help immigrant communities prosper.
“We are proud to honor Mayor Fischer for his commitment to making a positive impact on Louisville’s growing immigrant and refugee population,” said Mickey Ibarra, Founder and Chairman of the Latino Leaders Network. “He is a leader who celebrates diversity and inclusiveness, while recognizing the cultural and economic contributions of our community.”
Mayor Fischer, who will be in Boston attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 86th annual meeting, will receive the honor at the 29th Tribute to Mayors hosted at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 10 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The event will be attended by mayors, local elected officials, policy-makers, corporate executives, community leaders and industry experts.
“I am so appreciative of this great honor, which reflects the diligent work that people throughout Metro Government and in our community do each day to make Louisville a welcoming city full of opportunity for all,” Mayor Fischer said.
Past honorees set to attend the event Sunday include former mayors Doug Palmer of Trenton, N.J. and Wellington Webb of Denver, along with Mayor Jorge Elorza of Providence, R.I., Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, Mayor Ken Miyagishima of Las Cruces, N.M. and Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez of Doral, Fla.
The award is named for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a past president of the mayors’ conference.
While Louisville’s international community is still relatively small when compared to the 50 largest metros in the United States (4.9 percent vs. 18.4 percent of the total population), such residents have played a significant role in Louisville’s overall growth, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the metro’s population increase between 2010 and 2016, according to a 2016 study by the Partnership for a New American Economy.
Foreign-born residents also bring a significant economic impact to the local economy, with $1.2 billion in spending power, the study found.
Latino communities have remained one of the fastest growing demographics in Louisville at a rate of 183% since 1990, according to census data. This includes a surge of Cuban population that has been assisted by local resettlement agencies in the city, through the Cuban Haitian Entrant Program.
The LLN noted the Mayor’s goals of making Louisville a city of lifelong learning, a much healthier city and an even more compassionate community.
Mayor Fischer created the Office for Globalization in 2011 to help make Louisville an even more welcoming and inclusive city and to better engage with the global marketplace. He meets regularly with international community leaders to support education, health and employment initiatives such as Latin job fairs and scholarship fundraisers.
He has publicly supported Dreamers and signed an ordinance defining the role of local government in relation to federal immigration enforcement. The Mayor also sponsors such events as the annual World Fest showcase and last year’s rally to support immigrants, which drew more than 7,000 people.
Louisville was chosen to host the 2018 Welcoming Interactive and Welcoming Economies Convening later this month, the largest national conference focused on immigrant integration through community-based and economic strategies.
“Now more than ever, we need to recognize and celebrate that we are one community, with one future,” Mayor Fischer said.