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Austin welcomes Welcoming America

The Austin Human Rights Commission and the city of Austin will play host to the Welcoming America’s Community Visit Program on Monday, March 16.

A reception will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Austin City Hall Chambers.

Welcoming America is a non-profit, non-partisan national organization that believes being an inclusive community contributes to prosperity and that all residents are vital contributors to their community, according to the Welcoming America website.

The group will meet with officials and the public to discuss what people from across the nation are doing to make their cities welcoming, as well as what initiatives are occurring in the community.

“Southern Minnesota is leading the way in rural Welcoming and is an area that is rich both in economic programming and cultural engagement,” its press release said. “Both (Austin and Winona) cities receive immigration legal services through the Immigrant Law Center … (and) Austin’s Welcome Center has been a leader in community-driven services and the annual Taste of Nations cultural celebration.”

The visit will highlight:

• The Austin Honorary City Council Member program to enhance civic engagement;

• The Austin Area Minority Business Project;

• The Hormel Cancer Institute research facility;

• The ArtWorks Center;

• And partnerships with the city of Winona, Minnesota Marine Art Museum and the Welcoming Table.

The visit, which will last a day and a half, will be one of four taken by the Welcoming America’s group. In addition to Austin and Winona, the group will visit the communities of Dallas, Texas and Portland, Maine.

The public is invited and coffee and cookies will be provided.