ROCHESTER, Minn. - This week is 'Welcoming Week' through the organization Welcoming America, and it's designed to bring together people from all backgrounds to help create a more inclusive community.
The theme this year is "Creating Home Together." Many organizations participating in this initiative have the same goal, help communities start conversations about how they can make people feel more welcome. Jennifer Hawkins is a member of Southeast Minnesota Together and the Extension Educator, Community Economics with University of Minnesota Extension. She explained becoming more inclusive can result in a better economy and life for everyone. "I think it will just support our regional quality of life for all of us and our regional economy," said Hawkins. "I think it's just incumbent on all of us to make sure that we're welcoming and inclusive."
Hawkins said it''s up to each individual person and their community to decide what and how becoming more inclusive looks for them. "So we're not saying this is how you be more welcoming, but just think about ways that you as an individual could be more welcoming to newcomers," said Hawkins. "How you can open doors, create spaces for people to feel like they're part of the community, whether they've lived there for 2 years or 20 years. Sometimes if you weren't born in a town, it can be difficult to feel part of the community."
There are many events that you can take part in this week if you're interested. For more information, click here.