Many people in our community choose to use their voice to show love for ALL of their neighbors and stand up to bigotry and hatred. It is because of YOU, #unitecloud, that 2017 was a year of AMAZING welcoming work in Central MN:) We could fill this blog post with stories of the way that brave conversations, started by brave individuals, made for a safer Central MN. Check out an example of this work in a story about the choice to not be silent, told by your neighbor, Alison, on our blog.
Many local businesses joined with us in our mission to get everyone in Central MN to #LoveYourNeighbor by making our signs and bumper clings available to pick up at their locations. Still don't have your sign or bumper cling? Check out business locations or purchase them online here.
Our Director, Natalie, is one of the co-facilitators on the St. Cloud State University CARE (Community Anti-Racism Education) team. Workshops are offered during the school year and are open for anyone in the community to attend! Check out the CARE website if you'd like to attend this important workshop to understand the history of racism in our country, how that history effects us today, and how you can be a be part of the anti-racist movement here in Central MN.
Anyone that knows #unitecloud understands that we do not shy away from hard conversations. One of the most triggering phrases that gets mentioned in our conversations, both in person and on our social media, is white privilege. Dawn, a member of our Writers Circle explored this subject recently in one of her blogs. If you are white, have you taken the time to wrestle with this subject and listen/learn from others?
Our first annual Ramadan Date Project happened in May and June. Our community fully funded this project and fully staffed our volunteer needs. #CentralMN Proud! To read more about this project, check out this blog.
Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim teenager, was assaulted and killed in Virginia in June. A memorial was set up for her - then it was set on fire. We helped host a vigil for Nabra that was planned by Faisa Omar and other Muslim young women from Central MN. Our community stood together as a community against violence and hatred.
#unitecloud believes that it is important for our leadership team to reflect the diversity of the community we serve. In 2017, we added members to our board, and formed a Speaking Team and a Writers Circle. If you'd like to know more about our leadership, click here.
March for Peace in Solidarity with Charlottesville
Anti-Muslim Meetings continue to happen in Central MN. In St. Cloud many of these meetings are held at Granite City Baptist, much to this dismay of many Christians in the St. Cloud area who do not understand how their religion could be distorted into messages of unwelcome and even hatred. Read about what happens at these meetings here.
2017 will go down in history as the year that St. Cloud declared itself a WELCOMING City, much to the dismay of some of our neighbors who were attempting to shut down refugee resettlement and family reunification in our area (not that St. Cloud could, anyway, since refugee resettlement is a Federal issue).
One the our most popular events in 2017 was the “I Don’t Mean to Offend You But…” Panel Discussion and Q&A, featuring 4 of our Muslim neighbors telling their story and answering any and all questions that folks had about their religion. Many attendees thanked the panelists for sharing openly and said that they now feel more willing to talk and interact their Muslim neighbors.
We put the finishing touches on our Central MN Green Card Voices in 2017, which is now travelling around Central MN, helping folks get to know their refugee and immigrant neighbors. Want to host the exhibit in your community? Learn more about the exhibit and connect with us on our website.