Multicultural Austin: Growing Together events slated for June 20 and July 4

Published 10:34 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

By Daniel Mueller

For the Herald

As someone who loves history, it is interesting to look back at the changes in Austin throughout the 160 years of Mower County’s history.

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The largest changes have come in the way of industry, transportation and immigration. Many businesses have come and gone, Austin has become linked to other areas through railways, highways and even an airport, and so it also is with immigration into Austin.

Most of the early immigrants into the Austin area came from European countries, with a wide variety of countries represented and several of these early families still living in the area. These families, with their hard work, have built a majority of what we see in Austin today: the churches, schools, houses and businesses. In recent years, the immigrants into Austin have started to come from other areas of the world such as Spanish speaking countries, including: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras; Asian countries such as Thailand, Burma, China, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam; and places in Africa such as Liberia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria and Eritrea. Austin has become a truly multicultural city.

The reasons people come to Austin throughout the years cross a spectrum of dreams, possibilities and opportunities. People have come to create businesses, get higher paying jobs, buy houses, raise their children in a safe community with excellent schools, live closer to family members and to grow up and grow old in a caring community.

These reasons have not changed for the newer immigrants into Austin. Many of them have purchased homes, they are starting businesses and raising families, and many of them are attracting other family and friends to move into the community.

Austin has a lot to be proud of as a community and there is little doubt why Austin has been named as one of the “Best Small Cities in America” and one of the “Top Ten Affordable Small Towns Where You’d Actually Want to Live.”

Austin has the great support of its businesses, schools, government leaders and its individuals, who are consistently searching for ways to improve life and help others. Out of all of the places I have lived or visited throughout the world, Austin is certainly one of my favorite places, because of its people.

It is for this reason, the community needs to celebrate its history and the multicultural landscape of Austin. Each one of our families moved into Austin from another place, possibly this year or maybe more than a hundred years ago.

We may have different ethnic identities, but we have a lot in common as an Austin community and part of the United States of America. In the spirit of contributing to this community feeling, I have been working with several community leaders to put together a few events this summer to celebrate Multi-Cultural Austin: Growing Together.

June 20 is World Refugee Day and as Austin has a wide variety of refugees from such areas as Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Thailand and Burma this is an opportunity to meet together to listen to why they came to America, their experiences in America, and what is currently happening in their countries. The gathering is open to the public and will take place at Lions Park at 7 p.m. on June 20.

The Annual July 4 Parade seems like an appropriate time to celebrate our Multicultural past as we celebrate our community and country. We would like to welcome Austin citizens from any ethnic background to come, dress up in cultural clothing if possible, carry your flag of ethnic background and walk together to celebrate Multi-Cultural Austin: Growing Together.

All people are welcome, recent immigrants and those whose families have been in America for generations from countries like Norway, Germany, Ireland, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Micronesia, the Philippines and any in between.

If you are interested, please contact me at or 651-955-3238 as I will need to order flags for your country and we will also be providing American flags for each individual to wave proudly as well.

Daniel Mueller has worked at Austin High School as an EL History Teacher, traveled to many countries and lived overseas for many years. He is passionate about learning about other cultures and bringing multicultural unity through understanding and education.