August 12, 2020

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Letter: City Leaders: Denounce Intolerance

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Dear Mayor Giese, City Manager Hill, and Chief Welle, 

I am writing to you today disheartened by actions that took place overnight in Morris. As you know, multiple Black Lives Matter yard signs were defaced, burned, and vandalized in the lawns of homes. 

A strong message must be sent from all of us that this kind of hate is absolutely not tolerable in any way, shape, or form in our community. As the student body president of the University of Minnesota Morris, with students coming back on campus this fall it is my responsibility to ensure that every student feels welcomed and included not only on campus but throughout the Morris community. I am confident each of you share this vital belief. 

This is especially important in regard to Black students, students of color, and Indigenous students. Every student of color deserves to be a part of and warmly welcomed in our inclusive community. We must all collectively support our students and community members of color and take urgent and decisive action to publicly denounce these disgraceful and hateful acts. Property damage, vandalism, and arson are not okay. Race-based property damage, vandalism, and arson are especially heinous. 

A public statement denouncing these actions must be made and a full, transparent investigation must be conducted by the appropriate authorities. We need to start having ongoing and productive conversations about racism in our community. Trust is essential in community. I look forward to future meetings and discussions on how we proactively create a safe, respectful, inclusive and trustworthy community we all take enormous pride in. 

We must demonstrate that our Morris community truly believes and lives out the core values of kindness to all our neighbors, that Black lives matter, and racism has no home here. 

Being specific, creating solutions, being action-oriented, and taking proactive action is our path forward. We must be both passionate and compassionate while being unified and dignified. I look forward to hearing from you to keep this crucial conversation going. 

Samuel Rosemark, Student Body President University of Minnesota Morris