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Embrace Our Immigrant Communities

When we stop to take a look around our city and local neighborhoods we begin to see a new face emerging. As we drive along local streets we notice a difference in what was once familiar surroundings.

Perhaps a store front catches our attention but then we don't recognize the words on the sign. We visit our favorite local shops and restaurants and suddenly we detect a dialect foreign to our ears. These sights and sounds are the reflection of the rapidly growing immigrant populations making Columbus their home.

Who are they? Why are they here? Those could be the first questions of someone who encounters this reality. The answer is very simple: the immigrants coming to Columbus are looking for better opportunities for their families. The immigrant communities are drawn to our city to live in affordable housing and work decent jobs. They even have the greater desire of taking advantage of opportunities to educate themselves and their children.

Over the last several years population growth in Columbus has increased by the thousands partly because of new immigrant populations moving to the city's neighborhoods.

It is imperative that as a community we begin to really notice the impact this changing face has on our community. We need to educate ourselves about whom our newly arrived neighbors are, and what they have to offer to our communities.

Embracing diversity is a challenging task that does not come easily. However as our community evolves OUR views need to evolve in order to adapt to our new neighbors .

Let US look for opportunities for growth culturally and educationally. Author Margaret Wheatley writes: When we seek for connection; we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.

Diversity has adorned the streets of Columbus for many years. We are now seeing it on a larger scale. The immigrant communities bring with them great histories along with rich cultural traditions, foods and music.

Once we learn to embrace the unfamiliar storefront signs and dialects, we'll find we have more similarities than differences. We all have something to learn from one another.

If we cease to see the enrichment of the collaboration then we truly miss out on the opportunity to create a community where we all enjoy living and raising our children.