Published in the November 6, 2015 edition

MELROSE — The City of Melrose will hold its Annual International Welcome Reception on Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Melrose Human Rights Commission and the Mayor’s Office.

“The International Welcome Reception is an occasion for Melrose residents to meet neighbors from different cultures, to celebrate diversity and to recognize all that we have in common,” said Commissioner Shawn MacMaster, vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission. “The reception is extremely impactful in how it highlights our similarities and promotes fellowship across the room, regardless of one’s cultural or religious identities.”

The annual event began 13 years ago as a way to welcome newcomers to the City. Over the last several years, event attendance has markedly increased as immigration and refugee resettlement rates have risen statewide. Last year’s event drew more than 100 attendees. According to data collected from the 2010 U.S. Census, 15 percent of the population in Massachusetts is foreign born; in Middlesex County, the number is even higher, with 20 percent of residents having been born in another country. In fact, the neighboring city of Malden has more immigrant residents as a percent of its population than any community in Massachusetts.

According to the Melrose Human Rights Commission, the largest immigrant groups in Melrose derive from Morocco, Turkey and Brazil.

Last year’s event drew individuals and families from over 20 countries, representing the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. “The reception really signifies what community is all about — camaraderie, solidarity and good will,” said MacMaster. “We’re looking forward to another wonderful event.”

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will include a potluck dinner. Attendees are invited to bring a food dish representing their culture or country of origin. Please list all cooking ingredients on a display card in case of food allergies. For more information about the reception, please contact Commissioner Adam LaFrance, the planning director of this year’s event, at 617-453-8814 or via e-mail at

To learn more about the Melrose Human Rights Commission, visit or