by Hannah Yang, September 6, 2019
A means of celebrating what makes Austin the diverse community it is, Welcome Week is almost here.
The 4th annual Welcome Week is set officially set for Sept. 13-22. Mayor Tom Stiehm made a proclamation during Tuesday’s city council meeting that was meant to help bring Austin together in embracing residents who are new to the area as well as the country.
“Immigrants are a vital part of our community and the vibrant diversity is something that we all value,” [Mayor Tom] Stiehm said. “We are renewing our commitment for the greater prosperity of Austin in making people feel valued, regardless of where we’re born or what we look like. We have the opportunity to create a prosperous community with several fun nights to ignite civic engagement.”
The goal of Welcome Week is to bring together residents in a spirit of unity to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone and acknowledging the important contributions that immigrants make in Austin. The city is one of Minnesota’s first cities to join the Welcoming America coalition of cities, and is nationally recognized as a leader in building an inclusive community where all residents can succeed and thrive.
“We are a stronger and better community when all residents feel welcome here, newcomers add value by contributing their time, talents and culture to our city,” Stiehm added.
A wide array of events are planned to celebrate and highlight diversity in Austin, said Sara Karki, chair of the Human Rights Commissioner, adding that “this is a great chance to connect with neighbors and learn more about the past, present and future of Austin.”
Here is this year’s lineup for Welcome Week:
- Friday Sept. 13: YMCA Family Fun Night (6 p.m. at the YMCA)
- Saturday Sept. 14: Park Clean Up Service Project (9 a.m., Todd Park Soccer Fields)
- Monday, Sept. 16: Ignite Civic Engagement Workshop ( 6 p.m. Town Center Conference Room)
- Austin Through the Lens of the Green Book, part of One Austin, Many Stories (6:30 p.m., Austin Public Library)
- Tuesday, Sept. 17: Explore your community, ethnic business tour (6 p.m., K’nyaw Grocery Market 404 1st St. NW)
- Wednesday, Sept. 18: Citizenship Day Celebration at Adult Education (11 a.m., Riverland East Room C129)
- Riverland Voices & Stories (noon, Riverland Community College Library)
- Sumner Flag Walk (1 p.m., Sumner Elementary School)
- Thursday, Sept. 19: Inviting Table Dinner (5:30 p.m., contact Welcome Center)
- Friday, Sept. 20: Hormel Institute Tour (10 a.m., The Hormel Institute)
- Austin Area Minority Business Project Luncheon, featuring keynote speaker Joel Mahon, outreach director at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hormel Historic Home)
- Saturday, Sept. 21: Harvest Fest Expo (9 a.m., Horace Park, near pool)
- Sunday, Sept. 22: New Immigrant and Refugee Visions documentary screening and facilitated conversation (2 p.m., Austin Public Library)