[Adapted from March 10, 2013 No Rest Sunday]

Hi, my name is Heidi Dannecker Thorson, and I’m the Senior Lifestyle Editor at Metropolitan Midwest Magazine. I am honored to have been invited to write a guest column for this blog, whatever it is.

I was brought in because the owner of this blog realizes that by now you are all probably starving for some local, organic content.  You’re probably thinking, yeah, this blog is great and all, but what has it got to do with me, and this amazing town that I’ve chosen to live in, with its thriving local arts scene and groundbreaking selection of food and wine, not to mention all the cutting-edge local breweries and the vibrant system of bike paths?

And so I was brought in to bring some local integrity, not to mention pride, to this thing that you’re reading. Because it currently has none.

So let’s just get right to it.  This essay is called Celebrate Diversity.

I feel proud to live in a town that is so tolerant of the black population.  We have so many different kinds of black people here, and I know this because I see them all at the bus stop when I’m driving to work.  It looks like they’re all getting along so well, and having a really nice time, and after all, why shouldn’t they?  They live in Minnesota.

I went to that Prince concert at the Dakota a while back.  Actually I went to all three.  We are so lucky to live in a city where Prince can announce a small, intimate concert like this, and we can get right in because we went to high school with the person who owns the Dakota.  Actually I went to all three, and I sat in the front row and a couple of times Prince looked right at me.  He did.  It was like he was communicating with me silently.  He was saying, I am black, and you are white, and we both live in the same town, which is Minneapolis, a city unlike and better than any other, including Paris and especially including New York, and if I, Prince, choose to live here, then why would you want to live anywhere else?  I felt him say that to me.  And then I ordered four different kinds of local beer.  Harriet, Dangerous Man, Boom Island, and Pour Decisions.  I drank them all, but not before I took beautiful photos of them which I Instagrammed to my vibrant personal account, HeidiTwinCities.

People say that our Farmers Markets don’t have a lot of diversity, but I disagree.  Almost everybody who sells produce at the Farmers Market is Hmong.  And where else in America can you buy real Hmong vegetables from a real Hmong farmer at unbelievably low prices that make you wonder how they can survive at all?  Maybe they can’t.  Except they can, and they like it.  Because this is Minnesota.  And if you don’t like it, you can leave.  And in fact, you should.

Thank you and take care.

Heidi Dannecker Thorson

Senior Editor, Metropolitan Midwest Magazine