Southern hospitality aside, Gainesville may become the first official Welcoming City in Florida.
Welcoming America is a national organization that gives cities a special designation based on how much they embrace immigrants and foster opportunities.
Advocates are hoping the Gainesville city commission will adopt an ordinance to make the city Florida’s first officially sanctioned “Welcoming City.”
City commissioner Randy Wells said that when immigrants come to town, they bring with them cultural connections and economic opportunities.
“Folks are welcome in this community,” he said. “They bring their talents and skills to this community, and we as a community want to speak out with a loud voice that Gainesville is a very welcoming city.”
Rev. Andy Bachman, of the United Church of Gainesville, said earning the title would be an honor.
“That would put Gainesville on the map as a town and a city that believes in working for the health and well being of all people,” he said.