We need to talk about racism in our community and how to make this community a more welcoming place for people of color. On the night of July 5th, unknown individuals burned three “Black Lives Matter” signs that were displayed in front of homes in Morris, including one in my yard. I appreciate that the Morris Police Department is actively investigating this incident, but this brings to the forefront a key issue.
We need to do better as a community to make Morris a safe place for Black people and all people of color. But safety is the bare minimum. We also need to make Morris a welcoming and inclusive place to all, particularly because we host a wonderfully diverse student body for much of the year. We need to make
a statement that racism is not acceptable in our community. We need to do more to support our Black community members so that they know they are safe, valued, and wanted in Morris.
We need to talk with our children, families, and friends about racism and how we can make Morris a safer place for people of color. People are scared by this act of hatred. I am a white woman and having someone come to my home in the middle of the night and burn a sign in my yard scared me. I cannot even imagine what our Black community members must be feeling. We need to make actionable changes. Please think about racism—racism in our country, in our state, in our little town of Morris—and work to make changes in yourself, your families, your businesses, and our government to make steps to change the structural and everyday racism that appears in many aspects of our lives. Check out some books on race from our amazing public library – there is something for every age. Join the Morris Public Library book discussion on A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota on August 27. Get to know the people in your neighborhood – we all have stories of fear and hope. Each small step makes a huge difference in combating hate. Thank you to those who are already working on making these changes in our community right now, and to those who have been supportive after this hateful act.
We need to take a stand against racism. One of the wonderful things about living in a rural community is our ability to come together and work for the betterment of our town. We do not want to push away our neighbors due to fear. I’m hopeful that we can grow as a community after this incident and make Morris a better place for all.
Naomi Skulan, Morris