Editorial Roundup: Minnesota

Mankato Free Press. October 31, 2022.

Editorial: Area benefits from being rich in diversity

Diversity draws.

The large turnout at Mankato’s Day of the Dead celebration Saturday is one indicator of how the community embraces multiculturalism. The same could be said of the predictably large crowds at Minnesota State University’s International Festival, which this year is moving to November.

Some of the increase in event offerings and other multicultural opportunities comes from the region being home to people who arrived here from different countries.

Strong public support of events that celebrate people of a variety of ethnicities and cultures is important and a signal that acceptance is in many people’s hearts. Our community is richer because of those shared experiences.

Student abroad programs exist because they expand the boundaries of young minds. The same can be said for a visit here at home with others who have different backgrounds and viewpoints.

And those exchanges aren’t only happening at those public events. Our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our schools, our gyms, our stores and restaurants — all the places that make up our daily lives — reflect the changes in our community’s demographics. Nearly one in 10 Minnesotans was born in another country, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Some residents who don’t acknowledge the extra depth of a community that occurs because of diversity may be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. It’s time to become more familiar. Minnesota’s demographics are changing and need to continue to do so to fill all those area jobs now and in the future.

Just over 50% of Minnesota’s recent labor force growth has been driven by recent immigrants, according to DEED, with more than 80,000 foreign-born Minnesotans joining the workforce between 2010-2018.

People can grumble about how things aren’t the same as they used to be. Or they can acknowledge reality and embrace the opportunity to meet new faces who make life more interesting and vibrant as well as contribute to the area economy.

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