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Letter: A healthy community should provide for all of its residents

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Almost 10 years ago, ACLU-MN (Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project) located in Bemidji, serving a seven-county area, began education, advocacy work toward racial justice and our U.S. Constitution.

It led us through many doors of individuals working or getting caught up within the criminal justice system. Little did I know that homelessness in our communities, despair, poverty and lack of education of our government systems was going to prevail.

A definition of justice can be considered a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity or fairness, as well as administration of the law, taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings and citizens, the right of all people and individuals to equal protection before the law, without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, or other characteristics, and is further regarded being inclusive of social justice.

Quite a definition, and way more than one organization can tackle. It does take all of us.

We offer gratitude to our county judges. The constitutional awareness, creativity and hope to see their courtrooms improved are astonishing.

I ask our judges of Beltrami County, and Beltrami County government, to consider a lead to follow other counties in flying the three tribal nation flags in their courtrooms and in front of the county government complex. Perception matters.

Miigwech to our citizens for the past years working on Ojibwa signage in the city of Bemidji. It is a good start.

The city of Bemidji should be thanked for supporting diversity, but a Human Rights Commission would really show a commitment of justice for all people.

Diversity and justice should be our community mind every day. Beltrami County and the city of Bemidji are located in the heart of Indian Country; the three largest reservations in Minnesota. All businesses profit from the reservation communities.

It is believed that perceptions must be changed to set good examples for the future for a healthy community.

Our community needs a detoxification/wet shelter for those unfortunate for whatever reason. It has been since 1978 that we have seen committees come and go on this issue. A healthy community provides for all, including our street community.

My thoughts are just my thoughts — agree to disagree, but we owe it our community to consider.

Audrey Thayer

Coordinator, ACLU-MN

Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project North

Bemidji

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