The theme for Welcoming Week this year is creating home.  Please find this year’s event schedule attached and share with your friends and family.  More information and weather related updates will be posted on our Facebook page @austinhumanrightscommission

Voting is now open for the Immigrant Owned Business of the Year: Vote favorite business here
Hope you can find a way to participate in one or more of this year’s events and continue to stay safe!



September 10, 2020

Austin, MN & Mower County Celebrate Welcoming Week by “Creating Home Together”

Austin, MN, USA—This week Austin celebrates Welcoming Week by hosting several community events as a way of “creating home together” and fostering a sense of belonging in communities around the world.

Mayor Tom Stiehm has proclaimed September 12-20, 2020 to be Welcoming Week.  Craig Clark, Austin City Administrator, reflects “Welcoming Week is a great opportunity to highlight the ongoing and purposeful work that goes into building an inclusive community on a yearly basis.  Taking time to honor and highlight these efforts during this special period is appropriate and we can really demonstrate our progress when we give it our focused perspective and thank all those working so hard to make Austin a more accepting and prosperous community.”

In an exciting addition, Mower County has also taken steps to proclaim Welcoming Week and foster the spirit of welcoming and inclusivity throughout the county.  Jeff Baldus, Mower County Board Chair notes, “Immigrants in Mower County are just like the rest of us. They share the same values we do of hard work, responsibility, strong families and making a better life for their children. Nearly all of us have ancestors who were immigrants to this country, and just like the immigrants here now, we all strive for the American Dream. Welcoming immigrants into our community is just one more way to celebrate the differences that make us strong, and the values that we all share.”

Home is where you feel safe and accepted. This Welcoming Week, our community is leading the way to help diverse residents create home together and show what it means to be truly welcoming for all. Under the theme of “Creating Home Together”, the Austin Human Rights Commission, Riverland Community College, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Austin Public Library, Austin Area Arts, Welcome Center, and YMCA will host events during the week of September 12:

  • Ongoing – “Our Austin, Our America” portraits on display at Austin City Hall, tour the hall and City Council Chambers while the building is open and see photographer William Taufic’s project showing the many faces that make up our Austin community.
  • Saturday September 12, 9:00 AM, Community Service Project – Park Clean Up at Rotary Park, 299 8th Ave SE, Austin, MN 55912 (snacks and masks provided, and social distance observed).
  • Monday September 14, 7:00 PM Human Rights Commission hosts social justice book club discussion on Erika Lee’s America for Americans (book available free at City Hall, 500 4th Avenue NE) and e-audio for check out from Austin Public Library).
  • Austin Public Library, outdoor book discussion on racism issues Thursday evenings in September (September 10, 17 and 24 at 6:00 PM).  Click here for complete event details.
  • Riverland Community College, Tuesday September 15, at 12:30 Immigrant Voices, Immigrant Stories; the 5th annual signature welcoming week event will be held virtually this year. : Meeting ID: 997 4189 7293 Passcode: 947271
  • Wednesday, September 16, 4:30-7:30pm, YMCA & Austin Public Library host Kids Bike Rodeo: test your skills on an obstacle course and learn about basic bike maintenance (call 433-2391 for appointment).
  • Wednesday, September 16, Sumner Flag Walk (10:00am, Sumner Elementary School, weather permitting)
  • Wednesday, September 16, noon, Riverland Community College discussion groups “Justice, Equity and What it Means to be Welcoming” will be held outdoors on the east campus lawn, part of Racial Justice Day.
  • Ongoing- Business Award and Virtual Business Tours – Get a behind the scenes look at some of the many local minority owned businesses that let you tour the world right here in Austin, to be posted on the Human Rights Commission & Austin Area Minority Business Project’s Facebook pages, @austinhumanrightscommission and @AAMBPMN.
  • Human Rights Commission and Welcome Center host Story Stitch, a way to build connections with your neighbors through conversation, Saturday September 19 at 1:00 PM through Zoom.

“Welcoming Week is a time to not only celebrate the values of equality and belonging, but to bring our communities together to live them in practice,” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “In places large and small, rural and urban, thousands of local leaders remind us of what is possible when we make it our priority to create a sense of home for every member of our community, so that all of us can be healthy, participate, and thrive.”