City joins Welcoming Cities and Counties network

The City of Minneapolis has joined Welcoming America’s network of Welcoming Cities and Counties—a designation recognizing its commitment to inclusiveness toward immigrants and all its residents.

Nearly 100 local governments across the country belong to the network launched by Decatur, Georgia-based Welcoming America, a nonprofit founded in 2009. A Welcoming City understands that prosperity comes when everyone feels like they belong. It is the belief that all people, including immigrants, should be valued contributors and are vital to the success of both our communities and our shared future.

The City Council passed a resolution today affirming the City’s values as a welcoming city. “Fostering a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or place of origin, gender identity or religious affiliation enhances Minneapolis’ cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations,” the resolution noted.

The participation in the Welcoming Cities and Counties network is one of many activities City leaders have spearheaded to develop strategies and strengthen policies, programs and resources to support immigrant and refugee families.

Other initiatives include providing funding for legal advocates working directly with residents involved with immigration proceedings, providing a hotline to report hate crimes and a new public awareness campaign called #WeAreMpls, which will highlight the rich diversity of the city through interviews and photography of residents. The campaign will launch in September and be promoted through social media and other communication channels.

The City will also participate in Welcoming Week set for Sept. 15­-24. During this annual series of events, Welcoming Cities host community events to bring together immigrants, refugees and native-born residents to promote the benefits of inclusion. In 2016, there were nearly 400 events in 150 communities for Welcoming Week.

“It is not enough for us as individual citizens in Minneapolis to be welcoming and affirming, we have to take a stand together as a City,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “Becoming a Welcoming City provides us the opportunity as a City to affirm that Minneapolis is welcoming for everyone. And, it’s important that we network with other cities and counties throughout the country who have taken a similar stand. I look forward to that important work.”

“Advancing a truly fair, just and inclusive city will require something from all of us — government, business and each of us as citizens,” said City Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden. “Officially becoming part of the Welcoming Cities network highlights the City of Minneapolis’ commitment to standing up for all members of our community and condemning hate speech and actions. We encourage everyone to do their part to make the city a truly welcoming place for everyone.”