After witnessing the violence perpetrated in our nation’s capital, I’m filled with the urgent need to confront the troubling facts emerging in the aftermath. Members of white supremacy groups took advantage of the moment to spew their hateful message, hiding behind those exercising their right to protest.
Hate hides in southwest Minnesota too, and the worst thing we could do is ignore it and allow it to thrive. Instead, we courageously move more deeply into difficult conversations in our region, embracing the human dignity of each person even as we hold their actions up to the light. Hate has no home here.
As I have in so many difficult days before, I look to our foundation’s values. I believe this moment calls us to double down on our commitment to equity. We must remove barriers that prevent full participation in southwest Minnesota’s abundant opportunities and use our resources to create opportunities for all people to thrive in the communities they call home.
We are also called to be curious, to seek out multiple and reliable sources of information for a balanced perspective that informs critical thinking. One resource I want to share is our virtual forum “Building Vibrant and Welcoming Communities: Anti-hate Awareness and Action” in December featuring historian Kathleen Belew, author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.”
Recordings from the forum are available online, including Dr. Belew’s keynote about the white power movement in the U.S. and its presence in southwest Minnesota. Deep-seated hatred, born of racism, was on display at our nation’s capital, and the background Dr. Belew provides is insightful. Our forum also highlighted what we can do to take positive action in our communities; you can access the event recordings on our website now.
This is not about politics. Good, decent people across the spectrum are taking stock of what hate wrought on the capital and realizing that common decency is more fragile than they thought. They are drawing upon their deep faith and personal values to speak out against ideologies that place white people above all others. I believe this moment can draw us toward our shared humanity if we stand up to hate in all its forms.
As we mark the culmination of our democratic process and a free and fair election, it is a time for new beginnings. Without losing sight of the need to hold those responsible for injustice accountable, I remain optimistic that together, we can focus on the shared values that unite us as we work toward healing and our vision of a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive.