Minnesota North College’s Rainy River Campus to Host Rotary’s Welcoming Community Initiative

by Annika Freiburger

International Falls, Mn – The Welcoming Community Initiative of the International Falls Rotary Club is inviting the public to attend a speaker series dedicated to preparing for the future vitality of the community. The club’s Welcoming Community Initiative is planning four speaker events this fall and winter with the first one being Wednesday, October 19.

According to a release from the organizing committee, the first presentations will focus on changes in demographics affecting the diversity of people living in Minnesota and how some communities have prepared to welcome this change. Later presenters will speak on their perspectives as members of under-represented groups in the northland.

The speaker series has received support from the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, Friends Against Abuse, and Minnesota North College – Rainy River Campus.

The general public is invited to attend early evening presentations. Events will be held at the Minnesota North’s Rainy River Campus theatre.

The first event, at 5 p.m. on October 19th, will feature Dr. Bradley Wolfe from Ridgewater College in Hutchinson, Minn., speaking on “Creating Inclusion While Preserving Our Identity.”

Other speakers include:

  • On December 7th 2022, Amber Lewis, the Lead for Minnesota/Americorp Fellow serving Northspan as their Welcoming Community Program Coordinator, speaking on successes of welcoming communities and related efforts currently taking place in northeastern Minnesota.
  • On January 11th 2023, Dr. Anton Treuer, Bemidji State University, will present on his perspective as an advocate for Ojibwe culture.
  • On February 15th 2023, Deacon Ross Murray, Vice President of the GLAAD Media Institute, will present on growing up gay in Borderland and becoming an LGBTQ2 advocate.

    To RSVP to programs go to – https://www.eventbrite.com/o/rotary-of-ifalls-welcoming-community-initiative- 53104043293.

    Registration is not required but is appreciated.

    According to the release, “As residents, we recognize our area has many positive benefits and attributes while we also recognize there are challenges we can work together to overcome. In recent years we’ve seen a decline in overall population which has led to the challenge of fulfilling jobs needed to support our businesses that serve residents and visitors. What can we do to encourage interest in our area, rebuild our population, and fulfill the staffing needs?

Organizers intend for the Welcoming Community Initiative to be an ongoing effort. For further information email ifallsrotary@gmail.com.