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Minneapolis "Welcoming Week" celebration puts emphasis on safety

Wednesday September 14, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis is part of Welcoming Week -- the national celebration that brings together immigrants, refugees and native-born residents to foster a sense of community.

The one common theme this year is safety.

"Minneapolis has a long history and tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees into our city," said Mayor Jacob Frey.

For decades, the City of Lakes has welcomed people looking for a better life. Immigrants from Russia, Laos, Somalia, and refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine and other countries now call the city home.

"They are a critical fabric of our workforce, of our economy and culture, and just who we are as Minneapolis," Frey said.

From Sept. 9 - Sept. 18, Minneapolis is showcasing its diversity, and making strides to include all in this community. But in order to do that, these communities must feel a sense of safety.

"We have been hearing loud and clear from our immigrant and refugee communities, hell, we've been hearing from everybody that the number-one priority, the priority, has to be safety," Frey said.

The mayor met with leaders of a mosque that was recently vandalized.

"We've heard yesterday from our East African community for instance, our Oromo community specifically, that there are issues that they're experiencing. That they want to see more of a police officer presence," Frey said.

He knows that in order to give them what they want, the city must tap into one of its most valuable resources.

"We headed over to Brian Coyle Center over in Cedar-Riverside to talk to our Somali, Oromo, East African community to say hey look, if you want to become a police officer, if you care deeply about this city and the safety of the people who live in it, this is an excellent opportunity to do so," Frey said.

Welcoming Week is also about accountability and making sure all communities stay law abiding.

"The law is the law. One of the beautiful pieces about a statue once its set up is that it applies across all categories, all demographics, all races," Frey said. "It's our job at the city to enforce those laws equally and fairly."

Minneapolis also hosts an in-person citizenship orientation event. Attendees can learn about how to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization and the benefit of US citizenship.


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