An investigation by the North Mankato Police Department into racist signs hung around the City last month is still ongoing, while residents and leaders are looking for ways to address social issues stemming from the incident.
Police took down around 17 signs and residents took down several others on the morning of July 31 that read, “America is a white Nation”.
Mayor Mark Dehen says racism and other discriminatory behaviors are not welcome in North Mankato.
“The fifty years I’ve been living here, I can’t think of any time we’ve ever had anything like this before. So it was quite disappointing. I don’t really recall any instance of this happening before.”
North Mankato resident Alayna Osborne spoke at a recent council meeting.
“All I have to say to this person, or persons that posted this is, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you were raised with the idea that the world is black versus white. I’m sorry your upbringing didn’t teach you that every crayon in the box is there for a reason. Because white does not show up on white.”
Greater Mankato Diversity Council Director Bukata Hayes is calling for series of community conversations to work through emotional concerns and help the community move forward more united.
“I think if that happens, then we’re able to kind of fall back on some sort of relationship that brings us back together to talk through that misunderstanding. Where is if we don’t have those relationships built, I don’t even know if we can talk through that misunderstanding, I think it’s really, really hard to do that. So, I think it comes down to just simply a lack of exposure and a lack of those deep relationships, cross-culturally or cross-racially, that can help us through situations like this.”
Following the incident last month, Hayes says he reached out to Mayor Dehen to offer help with stitching the social fabric of the community back together.
“The Council, in particular from our standpoint, is just trying to assist in any way we can. There’s a number of individuals in North Mankato who have already taken action to kind of let everybody know that all are welcome and that folks are valued and loved in that community. So, for the council, we would play our role in convening those conversations.”
Hayes adds that he would like to see the conversations take place sooner, rather than later.