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With social media, moms aim to end racism in St. Cloud

By Ibrahim Hirsi, St. Cloud Times

IbrahimHirsiIllo400Natalie Ringsmuth and Kelly Meyer have an ambitious plan for St. Cloud: to create a united community, despite longstanding racial and religious tensions between black and white residents here.

The idea struck the pair following the Tech High School incident in March, when more than 100 students — many of them Somalis — walked out of their classes to protest alleged discrimination and mistreatment.

As tensions grew at Tech, the flood of messages on the St. Cloud Times comment section left Ringsmuth and Meyer bewildered.

“It wasn’t until I read the comments that I really understood that this was highlighting a larger problem in our community,” said Ringsmuth, a Waite Park mother of three.

“When you come to this country and you’re told to go back to where you came from,” she continued with tears clouding her eyes, “how would you feel?”

Like Ringsmuth, Meyer said she was astounded how people reacted to the Tech incident and the misconceptions many had about Somalis.

“I feel like if you’re not speaking up and doing something to better it, you’re part of the problem,” said Meyer, a St. Cloud mother of two. “I didn’t want to be part of the problem.”

Continue reading at St. Cloud Times

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.


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My 9/11 experience

By Rihab Naheel

I rarely think of 9/11. I know that almost every one has been affected by this day in one way or another. It was 10 years ago and yet it feels like yesterday. I had to remember that day against my will the other day, long before the actual date came, while teaching a grammar lesson. Yes, this day creeps up in unexpected places, unexpected times.   Read the rest of this entry

What Are You Going to Do?

By Emily K. Bright, Engage Minnesota

question_mark.gifIt’s not the first time you’ve been a victim of a hate crime, nor is it the last. It’s 8:30 on a winter evening, and you’re closing up your store. The entrance door is locked, half the lights are off, and you’re mopping at the far end of the room when three men barge in the exit door as though they mean to rob you. Two of the men have their hooded backs to you. One of them you can see. He’s over six feet tall, with short reddish blonde hair and a goatee. You observe this in the moment before he stands and hurls a glass bottle directly at you. You duck. It slams into the wall and explodes into flames. All around you, you hear the sound of glass exploding. The store fills with smoke in seconds. You can’t tell if the men are still there and if they’re waiting for you, but you have to get out. You race through your burning store and out to the road. You wave your arms until a woman stops and calls 911 for you. Read the rest of this entry