Editorial: Willmar is recognized for success of diversity
Willmar will be getting some more positive news this week due to the city's diversity and its embracement of new immigrants. An NBC Nightly News crew visited Willmar on Monday and Tuesday interviewing and filming for a segment on a city successfu...
Willmar will be getting some more positive news this week due to the city's diversity and its embracement of new immigrants.
An NBC Nightly News crew visited Willmar on Monday and Tuesday interviewing and filming for a segment on a city successfully dealing with diversity and new immigrants.
The news story is tentatively scheduled to be broadcast this evening on NBC Nightly News, carried locally at 5:30 p.m. on channel 11.
Willmar has come a long way from the mid-1990s when the challenges of the Elm Lane trailer park and other new immigrant problems brought negative publicity to the city.
Fortunately, city, education, business, private and immigrant leaders chose to find new ways to work together and find solutions.
There are many success stories in the past decade, including:
* Native-born Africans help Willmar High School capture back-to-back state cross country championships.
* The city's diversity and the West Central Integration Collaborative play a major role in Willmar being named an All-America City in 2005.
* Hispanic, Somalian and other immigrants becoming integral parts of the Willmar work force at Jennie-O Turkey Store plants and other businesses.
* Government, private and business organizations learning to work together to help solve community challenges, such as the relocation of Elm Lane residents within the community.
* The Willmar School District embracing diversity and serving the needs of all its students. This in turn helped the district maintain higher enrollment totals.
* More than 15 minority-owned businesses operating in downtown Willmar.
* Today Willmar often being used as a good example of diversity and new immigrants being successfully integrated into a community.
Certainly, there are always new challenges as our community evolves. Yet Willmar has found many ways to make diversity work. The city cannot and should not rest on its laurels.
However, we should all sit back tonight and watch as the success story of Willmar, diversity and new immigrants is told to a national audience.