Justice should be blind. Blind to money and position, blind to sex and gender, political ideology and religion, blind to race and ethnicity, among other forms of just and needed blindness. But reality shows the need for social justice advocates, loud voices or whispers that constantly remind us of the work that still needs to be done. We are now at a historic moment of awakening and reckoning with a renewed energy to investigate all societal instances to uproot implicit bias, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and so many other injustices and inequities. Those plague our interactions and make the lives of many, unnecessarily, a living nightmare of despair, lack of power to defend themselves and powerless in the face of injustices and lack of opportunities.

Here we are at a crossroads. We can either do the right thing and engage in all possible ways as a community to better ourselves or we waste a historic opportunity to bend history towards real justice for all. As a community we can do a lot, beginning with conversations about race, inequities and implicit bias — followed by offering more opportunities to engage, participate, have access to knowledge and business opportunities, connect with our Native American neighbors, among other possible initiatives. Be on the lookout for the conversations and opportunities to participate your voice is needed.

I wanted to share the statement we created at the Human Rights Commission and read at the City Council meeting on June 16. Now more than ever we need to be loud and intentional and help each other during these trying times. The pandemic has the potential to create even more haves and have-nots and deepen achievement gaps among students and opportunity access for communities of color.

Human rights statement in support of the plea for racial and social justice in the US

“We stand in solidarity with all people seeking social justice, especially racial justice with the Black and African American communities. We are at a historic moment in the pursuit of justice, fairness and equity for all people and we must seize this moment and work even harder towards changes in all institutions.

Being silent is not an option, and we actively want to add our voices to this ongoing plea for change.

The murder of George Floyd, as we know, is not an isolated tragic loss but one embedded in a long history of inequality, different access to opportunities, lack of fair housing, discriminatory lending practices and disproportionate access to health care; injustices that started during slavery in the U.S. We see this unfair treatment and lack of access happening in the state of Minnesota as well as all over the country and the world.

Our hope and our work as a city of Northfield commission is to do everything in our power to elevate the concerns and voices of those who for so long have been silenced, oppressed and ignored.”

Mar Valdecantos, chair of the Northfield Human Rights Commission, can be reached at marvaldecantos@yahoo.com.

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