Richmond VA > Office of Multicultural Affairs > Multicultural Affairs

Last Updated: 2017-08-25

Mission

To improve the quality of life of diverse cultural communities by increasing their access to City and community based services/resources, promoting education and civic participation.

Vision

To be a model of a multicultural integrated City.

Our Team

Karla Ramos | Manager

Daniel Bustamante | Language Access Coordinator

Vivian Robles | Multicultural Outreach Specialist

Sandra Uhorchuk | Administrative Liaison

Wilken Fernandez | Interpreter / Translator

Vacant | Interpreter / Translator

History

Richmond is a global society with new communities enriching the City culturally and economically. The foreign-born population of the city is 7.1% of the population, and 9.6% of city residents speak languages other than English at home. The diversity of Richmond’s foreign-born population covers the entire world; however, the largest representation is from Latin America. Richmond's Latino population has grown over the last two decades and now accounts for more than 6 percent of the city's population around 13,500 people (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

Many families moving to Richmond are new arrivals to the country and initially have limited English language skills. The language barrier can be challenging for both the families and for the city of Richmond in regards to services. In response to the need for culturally appropriate services, a group of Latino residents presented the city of Richmond with a proposal describing the creation of a Hispanic Liaison Office. The city of Richmond Hispanic Liaison Office was subsequently established in 2004.

In April of 2006, the Hispanic Liaison Office moved to the city of Richmond's Southside Community Services Center. The new location offered additional space and renovated furnishings. The Hispanic Liaison Office transitioned at that time to the Human Services portfolio of the city of Richmond, under the Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services.

The move was strategic on various levels, including greater visibility within city structure, a higher profile by the inclusion within the Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services, and more support for the expansion of the Office’s initiatives - all allowing for closer collaboration with city departments.

In October 2010, the National League of Cities, issued their newest publication, “Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: 20 Cities, 20 Good Practices,” which featured Richmond as one of the top 20 Cities with the best innovative programs and initiatives in the area of Immigrant Integration in the country because of the work of the Hispanic Liaison Office.

In July 2012, the city transitioned the Hispanic Liaison Office to the Office of Multicultural Affairs. While the new OMA will continue to serve Spanish-speakers, the expanded office will be more inclusive in engaging Richmond’s immigrant and refugee communities through enhanced collaboration with community-based organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, and the private sector. The OMA works closely with all city departments to help create a more welcoming environment, and will continue to build an attractive and multicultural image for potential newcomers. This is an exciting time for the city of Richmond, and it is abundantly clear that the Office of Multicultural Affairs is an integral component to the city's core operation.

OMA Services & Initiatives

Since the Office of Multicultural Affairs opened in 2004 (previously the Hispanic Liaison Office), the office has offered a clear point of access for community resources and a welcoming front door for newcomers moving into or residing in the city of Richmond. The following are OMA services and initiatives:

  • Interpreting Assistance -- Office helps residents with oral interpretation for city departments and services. Current staff provides Spanish/English interpretation, and language line services are available for other languages.
  • Community Resource Referrals -- Office offers a contact network system of medical clinics, legal assistance, non profit organizations, educational organizations, cultural groups, etc.
  • Educational Resources -- Provides information on education classes, for example "English as a second language", "Spanish as a second language", Parenting classes, etc.
  • Tax Assistance Programs -- Office coordinates certified volunteers trained by the IRS that provide free tax assistance during the months of February, March and April.
  • Information for New Americans -- Support of consulate visits to Richmond that assist immigrants in obtaining passports and/or identification.
  • Imagine Festival -- Co-sponsor of the Imagine Festival, a yearly festival highlighting Richmond's diverse community and promoting safety.
  • Translation Assistance -- Assistance to city departments in translating written documents and forms. Current staff provides Spanish/English translation.
  • Community Outreach -- Two community radio shows in Spanish that focus on educating the Latino population about important topics, upcoming events, and opportunities to get involved.
  • Technical Assistance -- The OMA works with city departments to provide training, recommendations regarding serving the immigrant and refugee communities, and assistance in hiring multilingual staff.
  • Community Education -- Free seminars in Spanish are offered on a variety of topics to the public, in partnership with the Office of Minority Business Development, the Office of Emergency Management, the Early Childhood Development Initiative, Richmond Public Schools, and other agencies.
.. . . . .

Contact Information:

         
4100 Hull Street Road
Richmond, VA
23224 USA
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Phone: (804) 646-0145
Fax: (804) 646-8872
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If you have any questions, please call the City's Customer Care Center at 3-1-1 or (804) 646-7000

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