To the editor:

Bloomington has always, and will always, pride itself on being a welcoming community.

Walking our streets, shopping at our stores, visiting our schools, you get an impressive sense of the diversity of our city. And that diversity is itself increasingly diverse. This is why the Bloomington City Council has specifically adopted equity and inclusion as one of our six strategic priorities. People from all over the state, country and world are choosing to make Bloomington their home, and we are all beneficiaries of that.

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the tensions in St. Cloud due to the increasing number and diversity, particularly with regards to race, of refugees. This article featured quotes from local residents and a commentator from the Center for the American Experiment that were racist, demeaning and completely contrary to our values. In Bloomington, we know all too well how attitudes such as those can escalate and lead to dangerous results.

When we gathered in solidarity following the bombing of Dar Al-Farooq in 2017, we did so not because we wanted everyone to be the same, but because our differences make us stronger as a community. It’s in that spirit that we have established a dedicated Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, hosted welcome meals and adopted the Fair Housing Ordinance. An attack on a mosque is no less an assault on our community than an attack on a church or a synagogue. An attack on someone born in Somalia or Kenya is no less a tragedy for our community than an attack on someone born in Minneapolis or Moorhead.

As leaders in Bloomington, we want to state firmly and clearly that our city is a welcoming place for everyone and that we do not, and will not, tolerate hate, bigotry or prejudice. We may look, speak, worship, eat, dress and express beliefs differently, but we all deserve the chance to live our lives, raise our families and contribute to our communities. We hope you’ll join us in continuing to ensure that Bloomington is a place that anyone can call home.

Gene Winstead

Bloomington

Winstead, the mayor of Bloomington, submitted the letter on behalf of the entire city council.

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