Time For Change

June 11

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.  ~  Bertrand Russell

PRESS RELEASE For immediate release:
Alexandria, MN

Alexandria citizens, Inclusion Network, and other civic leaders join forces and plan peaceful Time for Change event to promote creating a community of equality.
Time for Change event is Thursday evening, June 11, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. The peaceful, family friendly event is at 1401 Jefferson St, adjacent to Alexandria Technical & Community College.

All who are in support of creating a community of equality are welcome. Attendees are asked to wear masks and support Stay Safe Order guidelines.

Event will be livestreamed: https://www.facebook.com/InclusionNetworkMN/

Objective is community awareness of the importance of creating a culture of equality (specifically racial justice) and inspire people to take positive actions going forward.

The event will bring attention to the objective of equality by coordinating a peaceful, family friendly event which includes speakers who stand for equality and/or have experienced and witnessed inequality in our community.

The event is being planned by a number of local citizens with input from several community stakeholders and in cooperation with key civic leaders.
Speakers to include: Pastor Hans Dahl, Mattie Bogart, Niki Botzet, Jay Sieling, Kevin Taylor and Josette Ciceron. Welcome by Mayor Sara Carlson.

The Inclusion Network (IN) is a group of dedicated, passionate people with a common goal: to make Central Minnesota an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds to live and work. Our goal is to strengthen the region through an appreciation and understanding of diversity and cultural differences.

Kelli Minnerath
Director of Development, West Central Community Action Inclusion Network, committee member kellim@wcmca.org

[The Super prepares for the event . . . ]

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[We arrive on the footprint of our old Jefferson High School . . . ]

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[Trying to maintain proper distancing and have shade . . . ]

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[Our next door neighbor, Dave, standing on the left . . . ]

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[You may recall Jon and Rita from our 3rd Avenue vigil of a week and a half ago . . . ]

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[The stage, featuring an Alexandria water tower as a backdrop . . . ]

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[A turn of 180 degrees, the Alexandria Technical and Community College . . . ]

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[And the five person foreground just happened to be friends Dave (yes, the same one), Harvey, Susan, Judy, and Dwaine.  It took me a while to figure out how easy it was for people to recognize a masked me – I wasn’t wearing a hat . . . ]

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[Alexandria mayor Sara Carlson led off the program.  She is stepping down from her mayoral duties after a successful 8 years on the throne . . . ]

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[Next up was Calvary Lutheran pastor Hans Dahl, always a hoot . . . ]

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[Then the multi-talented and ATCC educator, Jay Sieling . . . ]

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[Some of you may recall that Jay and I are identical twins.  We are unique in twindom in that I am 16 years older than he is . . . ]

jay sieling squared

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[Friends Ken (“The Crane”) and Jeanne were spotted seated in the crowd . . . ]

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[Then the 526 second moment of silence to honor George Floyd . . . ]

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[Jay and company helped spread flowers . . . ]

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[To 526 drum beats . . . ]

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[The crowd estimate was around 300 . . . ]

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[Next up were 2019 graduates of Alexandria Area High School . . . ]

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[They were incredibly impressive . . . ]

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[Polished performances by Mattie Bogart . . . ]

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[And Niki Botzet, who I watched play basketball for the Cardinals . . . ]

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[Then Kevin Taylor . . . ]

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[Who as he noted the only black minister in town and the difficulties therein . . . ]

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[Then the main speaker, Josette Ciceron, who received a standing ovation . . . ]

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[Originally from Haiti, Jo came to Alex 5 years ago and is now involved in such as her own podcast, Definitive Woman magazine, and the Inclusion Network . . . ]

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[Alexandria Police Captain Scott Kent closed the program serializing tipping points in U.S. history . . . ]

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In full disclosure, where I’m coming from (with yet another rejected letter by the Strib):

June 2, 2020

I am a 72-year old white man. I grew up in all-white Alexandria. I spent most of my working career in majority black Washington, D.C. My extended family is multi-color and multi-religion. I have lived through many and participated in some demonstrations concerning law enforcement’s treatment of people of color. We cannot continue like this. I am prone to remind people that nine out of 10 inhabitants of this planet are people of color and that five out of seven are not Christians.

My proposal, therefore, is to hire only black cops. I know there are all kinds laws, rules, and regulations regarding equal employment opportunities (I worked for the Department of Labor), but we all know those rules have been eschewed whenever it suits the white majority. So, let’s give it a shot. To paraphrase our president, what have we got to lose.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  ~  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Up Next:  Unknown, still dealing with COVID-19 . . .

One thought on “Time For Change

  1. Excellent piece.

    Totally lost my shit on this… regarding our buddy Jay.
    [Some of you may recall that Jay and I are identical twins. We are unique in twindom in that I am 16 years older than he is . . . ]
    OMFG!!! Ole Mary is at least good for some laughs… though also far too many groans and face palms to merit her continued reign…

    Next time – PLEASE livestream the event on FB so we can all experience it.

    SO GOOD TO SEE BLACK FACES IN ALEXANDRIA!!!! I loved every time I saw people of color in that bastion of whiteness. And it was nice to also see the many kind white faces of those who get Black Lives Matter… in any way. Good to see a bunch of them in attendance. Really miss seeing you guys on the regular.

    Thanks for sharing about this important work.


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