This one's lengthy, but stick with me folks. It's important. Nearly two months ago, our newsletter titled 'For the Love of Humanity' asked for the community's support to be welcoming to new residents, students and visitors, and many of you reached out then asking how you could be supportive. Fast forward: I am sure by now many of you have heard about several recent hateful incidents on Grinnell College's campus that have made many people feel unwelcome and unsafe in our community, and perhaps even questioning their decision to come here.
As community members, I believe part of our role is to stand up for one another. In my work, I often have the pleasure of sharing all the wonderful things about our community, not only here, but across Iowa. Occasionally, that work also requires me to discuss incredibly difficult things as well - including the recent racial incidents that have occurred in our community.
You might be wondering why the Chamber cares? This is a humanitarian issue. And an economic one. And we care about both.
It is incredibly important that we are a welcoming community, not only to residents but visitors alike. Do you want to visit a community and spend time and money in it when you don't feel welcome? Does the message 'Grinnell is bad for business' impact each and every one of us here? Do recent events have the potential to discourage new residents and businesses, and drive current residents away? The short answer: you bet it does!
If our community is unwelcoming, everyone in our community suffers. We are not able to recruit business, industry, residents, or students. This gravely impacts the economic and social vitality of the Grinnell community. We hear daily from our business community that they are struggling to find workforce - as part of the approach to solve this challenge, we must look to bring in new residents to live and work here, and they need to feel welcome.
We are committed to working with our partners at the college, in the city and amongst our business community toward action; we must be a welcoming community in order to build and grow. While we are actively working with our partners to implement action items, we also recognize that there are incredible people in our community with great ideas to contribute. If you are a community member reading this message and would like to share ideas and/or get involved in solutions, please complete this quick form.
Please join me in coming together to stand up with those being impacted in our community. A Grinnell for All means building a safe and welcoming community, and encourages community members to share their ideas for action and solution.