Friday, April 12, 2013

Taking Advantage of Diversity

This morning on the Today Show there was a segment on Ottumwa, Iowa (roughly 175 miles south-east from me) that caught my attention.  The Immigration Nation segment talked about how the Hispanic population in Ottumwa has helped revive the town.

This news piece made me think of my own community of Franklin County.  I think our Hispanic population makes our community unique, and I'd like to see the citizens of Franklin County to take pride and ownership of this diversity advantage.

Franklin County's Hispanic population started in the 1940's, as Ferris Nursery in Hampton hired a migrant workforce.  Eventually this migrant workforce decided to make Franklin County their home.  Over the decades through present day, more family members have come to the area and have established roots due to the availability of shelter, food and employment (reasons why anyone comes and stays in a place).  
  • Franklin County has affordable housing; many Hispanic families have bought and fixed up houses in the community to create homes for their families.  
  • Franklin County also is home to traditional and Hispanic restaurants and grocery stores.  
  • Franklin County has a rich agriculture sector and strong entrepreneurship spirit that have created many job opportunities.
So what does Franklin County, 
and other areas of the Heartland with similar demographics, 
need to do to continue to benefit from our community's diversity? 

I know that our small community is surviving and thriving due to our Hispanic population.  Because of this diversity, I have amenities locally that you wouldn't see in other areas of similar population, and I want to keep and further develop those services.  

I'd like to create something to create awareness or understanding within the community to enhance cooperation and support between all of the community's members.

This has been something on my mind for a long time (and who would of thought that the Today Show would of encouraged me to take some action....).  As you can probably see, I don't know exactly what I should do but I want to do something.  What are your thoughts and ideas?  Do you live in a community with a similar make-up?


  1. Great thoughts! There is a need to embrace those who make up our communities no matter there heritage. I wish you luck! Laurie

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