Neighbors Abroad is proud to be on the forefront of a new vision for how cities within the United States can cooperate, learn from each other, and promote understanding and respect among our fellow Americans. In partnership with the non-profit Sibling Cities USA, Palo Alto and Bloomington, Indiana officially established a first-of-its-kind Sibling City relationship in early 2022.
A Groundbreaking Initiative
Utilizing Sibling Cities’ Three Pillars of Connection—Community, Commerce and Civil Discourse—our two university towns have embarked on what we anticipate will be a model for building bridges across our country’s regional and political divides.
Programs envisaged for this groundbreaking relationship include:
I commend Mayor Tom DuBois of Palo Alto, California, Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington, Indiana, and Sibling Cities USA Founder Vicki Veenker for coming together for this historic launch of our nation’s first-ever Sibling Cities USA relationship to build unity in America. The need for unity is now. I applaud this inaugural effort to build community and understanding across the miles in our great country and hope it leads to many future Sibling City relationships that connect and unite us as a nation."
Bloomington is located in Monroe County in southern Indiana. It is Indiana’s sixth-largest city, with a population of 85,000. The demographics of the Bloomington population are non-Hispanic White/Caucasian (82%), Asian (10%). African American (4%) and Hispanic (4%). Bloomington’s population is highly educated: over 90% have high school diplomas, and Monroe County ranks in the top 2.2% of counties nationwide in terms of education. Like Palo Alto, Bloomington is a university town and home to many young people, with the media age being 28 years. Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College call Bloomington home.
The largest employers in Bloomington are Indiana University and Crane Naval Base. Tourism is an additional prominent industry in Bloomington, which boasts a variety of art galleries, museums, and cultural centers. Downtown Bloomington has an active nightlife, sophisticated restaurants, shopping, and many family-friendly activities. One beloved Bloomington event is Food Truck Friday, where a variety of food trucks park at Switchyard Park every Friday from June to October, allowing participants to enjoy food, live music, and other events.
About Sibling Cities USA
With the goal of fostering national unity, Sibling Cities USA facilitates cross-regional pairing of cities or metropolitan areas. A city or metropolitan area from “the Coasts” might pair with one from “the Heartland,” or a city from a “blue state” with a city from a “red state.” Palo Alto and Bloomington form the first pairing for Sibling Cities USA and America! Coordinators in each city facilitate connections between groups with counterparts in the other city, to build relationships, explore commonalities and distinctions, share successes and challenges, and organically create an opportunity for collaboration. Palo Alto groups interested in exploring their counterparts and starting connections with Bloomington: MidPen Media, Canopy, League of Women Voters, Chamber of Commerce, Gamble Garden Center, Kiwanis, and Rotary.