Letter: City must commit to anti-racist work | Prior Lake Letters to the Editor

In this open letter to our neighbors, we hope to explain how our community’s increased awareness of what has been happening for decades, and efforts by a small group to take meaningful steps to combat racism in our city, is a catalyst for have made improvement.

A few weeks ago, we shared our dismay and determination with City Council along with five other residents representing a wide variety of lived experiences. Then as now, our hope and expectation was shared in order to force the city council to actively engage in anti-racist work. Supported by 65-70 residents who filled the council chambers, we shed light on the current reality being experienced by numerous community residents – Prior Lake’s mission to be “a vibrant and welcoming lifelong community, high quality of life and small in size – City feeling” may apply to some, but not to all.

As fathers, professionals and committed residents, we see the awakening happening. We want to have confidence that elected officers and others in key leadership positions will learn and actually participate in the work required to create a truly welcoming Prior Lake. Unfortunately, we have heard countless experiences from children and adults in Prior Lake who have been subjected to racist words and actions.

We wait for our city leaders to condemn racism and publicly and vigorously engage in anti-racist work. It is now time to refocus our focus on the richness of our diversity and set out on a journey of promoting an anti-racist attitude as a community. We appreciate the recent efforts by Mayor Briggs, Superintendent Staloch and other leaders from neighboring communities to start important conversations in the community. However, we are weary of hearing about the opposition expressed to even our basic request for an official statement condemning racism.

On December 6, a robust, evidence-based roadmap consisting of a resolution, DEI statement, and ordinance language for consideration, deliberation, and adoption was presented to our City Council. There is no doubt that moving toward full adoption will further the city’s mission. We look forward to hearing about the Council’s commitment and progress on the adoption of the resolution, declaration and regulation in the near future.

In the meantime, we have decided to proceed with a series of learning activities open to all community members interested in starting and advancing their anti-racism journey. As evidenced by the wonderful diversity of backgrounds and ideologies that sat in the Council chambers on December 6th, we know that the community conversation at the table we set will be unifying.

Let us continue with the heart centered and healing work that will empower us to acknowledge the trauma that many of our Prior Lake BIPOC brothers and sisters carry. This journey of ours will redefine how we see each other; and it will redefine how potential newcomers view our community.

G Bryan Fleming & Charlie Sederstrom

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