I read with interest the West Central Tribune’s Jan. 21 editorial defending Willmar’s immigrant community. I commend the editorial board for speaking out against hateful speech that demeans Willmar’s East-African residents. I thank you for celebrating the invaluable economic and cultural contributions of these hard-working Minnesotans.

Minnesota was built by immigrants and pioneers. Today’s immigrants may look and sound different than the Germans and Scandinavians of generations past. But their hard work, and the dreams and aspirations they hold for their children, themselves, and our communities are no different.

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Willmar is stronger because of our immigrant neighbors. So is Minnesota.

Willmar and the West Central Tribune have taken an important stand. I applaud your courage. And I stand with you as a partner as we resolve to make our state a welcoming place for all Minnesotans.

Mark Dayton