The Marathon County Board, on Feb. 25, discussed the resolution to make February Black History Month. The resolution was met by some board members with disdain and ridicule. One member, in for themselves, wants to know when this will end, since she has Italian in her heritage and there is no month for Italians. Another shortsighted member sees no division in our founding father’s country, therefore, it is unnecessary. Obviously, the events and marches from last summer eluded him. Another supervisor recalled receiving several elusive emails against the resolution, but was unable to produce any.
We, as a community, need to look at the message these board members are sending to new people moving to the community, our children, and our community. First new people moving into the community want to see a county board that is progressive, well-educated and informed, and tolerant of others. Everyone presently living here wants to see a tax base increase, so our taxes stay within reason. If the resolution does not pass, new people will see a community that is closed-minded with board members out of touch and living in the 1950s, unable to work and live with people who do not look like them. And who chooses who looks like them? Ultimately, our community will lose people moving here to more sensible communities open to people who do not look like them but are diverse, and over time our community dies.
Next, our children will see these board members’ actions incorrectly and think it is okay to be discriminatory against people who do not look like you. It is okay because our Marathon County Board chooses not to approve a resolution for Black History Month for February. It is okay to harass, assault and discriminate against people who do not look like you. It is okay to perpetuate stereotypes of people who do not look like you. In fact, when people learn and grow in knowledge about the differences between people and cultures, people become more tolerant and understanding of others. The community includes people and friendships arise.
Finally, this resolution will cost nothing, but will give returns to the community. Why would anyone not want a community to celebrate Black History Month? Only small, narrow minds would end up with flimsy excuses. Please remember this when you go to the polls and vote them out.
Terry Ugoretz of Rib Mountain
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