Editorial: Residents should embrace the growth in diversity

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Last week’s 2020 census numbers showed a lot of changes for Albert Lea and Freeborn County.

The census showed that not only did Albert Lea see a population increase for the first time in more than 30 years, but the racial makeup of the city is also evolving.

According to the data, 14.7%, or 2,719 people, were of Hispanic origin in the census for the city; 2.2%, or 408 people, were Black or African American; and about 5.3%, or 974 people, were Asian.  Smaller numbers were also reported amongst American Indian or Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

The overall increase in diversity reported in Albert Lea has also been reported throughout the region and the state.

Reviewing all of these numbers this week and last brings to mind the question: “What are Albert Lea and Minnesota doing to embrace this diversity?”

With growing diversity comes varying backgrounds and cultures. We have more languages that are spoken in the city now than there have been in the past, and there are new customs. There may be differing viewpoints on how to approach some issues, as well.

Despite the differences, however, we hope we can all come together to grow a stronger community and take the time to understand and get to know our neighbors and respect their differences.

There is much that can be learned from each other that we think can make Albert Lea an even better place to live.

And we might find we have much more in common than we think.