Local Government Meetings: May 23 to May 26, 2022
Moral silhouette. Such an evocative phrase. While I quickly recall the general topic of the article wherein I saw it—the Berlin Wall—and I recall the phrase—moral silhouette—so evocative while still so malleable, yet I cannot recall the source of the article or the precise meaning the author imparted to this phrase. Was it the wall itself, the people who resisted it, the people who built it, or the Cold War in totality whose moral silhouettes the author was seeking to evoke? It could be any or all of the above. Some manifest in my mind as negative space for the harm done, some more like old-fashioned silhouette paper cuttings, for persons of courage in the face of brutality. These are events of my lifetime. How long beyond the lives of those then living will these moral silhouettes persist?
It sounds so easy, so straightforward. Give someone who could not otherwise afford college a
scholarship and you give them access to a better life. But that transition is not always so easy or
straightforward. Listen to the stories of first-generation college students stumbling through school
unaware of the unstated “rules” and expectations of college. What are office hours? Where do my
parents belong in my life now? How do I socialize with classmates who have so much money?
“How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look wrong, and wrong look right.”
—Black Hawk, An Autobiography (quote seen on plaque embedded in the sidewalk in Iowa City)
Many LWVMN and LWV of Roseville Area events now incorporate an acknowledgement that our
communities are located on the ancestral lands of Native Americans, the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples here in
Minnesota. I did not initiate this custom, coming to it after hearing it at several events. We are all aware at
some level that the entire North American continent was totally reallocated, reorganized, and just outright
taken from indigenous peoples by European colonists due to orthogonal understandings of the concept of
property and a massive power differential. The land grants from European kings to early colonies had no
ethical foundation and treaties under which millions of acres of land were ceded in the 1800s were grossly
Perhaps you saw it—an editorial page cartoon by Steve Sack in the Star Tribune in the summer of 2020—two houses, two neighbors chatting over the fence, and two signs in one yard. The signs say “Black Lives Matter” and “We Support Our Local Police.” One man is saying to the other man “If you think they conflict maybe it’s you with the problem.” It struck a chord.
I can see why they are so often thought to be orthogonal today. It needn’t be the case.
Perhaps the crux of the conflict comes in the intent behind “support.” For me, support means willingly paying taxes; endorsing a respectful, living wage for all public employees; backing good training for all public safety employees, both before and throughout employment; treating those public safety employees with whom I come into contact with respect, courtesy, and thanks as the situation warrants; and acknowledging the value of the job and the risks it entails.
If you missed this program or would like to watch it again, the Ramsey County Library has provided a link to the recording: https://my.nicheacademy.com/rcladult/course/39901
The League of Women Voters Roseville Area recently looked into who is participating in local governance Boards, exploring how well these groups reflect the makeup of our communities. As a follow-up to a study, Holli Arp, Leadership and Civic Engagement Program Leader with the U of M Extension Services will lead a panel discussion with two colleagues and Extension Educators Jocelyn Hernandez Swanson and Lisa Hinz asking “How do we encourage and support more diverse and inclusive leadership in our local governments?” This Leadership and Civic Engagement team has been working with communities across Minnesota as they grapple with inclusiveness, cultural competence and exploring new pathways to diversify leadership. Join the conversation!
The ADA Compliance Study Committee will share its findings with members and ask members consensus questions. Members are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting.
LWV-RA conducted a study of our five cities. The purpose of this study is to assess the compliance level of the section of the ADA that guarantees access to public buildings and sites in the five cities included in the League of Women Voters of Roseville Area (Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Maplewood, and Roseville) with the ADA. The study examines compliance policy, administration, and accessibility by residents who are mobility challenged to government buildings, polling locations, and city recreational venues such as parks and playgrounds. Focus is on the significant areas of compliance, identification of instances of non-compliance, and considerations for the cities to bring ADA deficiencies into compliance as soon as reasonably practicable.
English, English, English. It is the language of common parlance in the United States and is traditionally considered beneficial for economic success worldwide. But there is another aspect for immigrant families. When learning English comes at the cost of not learning the language of your parents and grandparents, there is profound loss. Loss of connection to elders, culture, identity, history, community…
In Europe it is not uncommon for people to be bilingual, or multi-lingual. English is often the second or third language. It does not erase the other languages, nor does speaking German, French, or Czech as a first language prevent the learning of English. In Africa many people speak multiple languages, a mix of local and colonial. It is not an inherent limitation of the human brain to speak or understand only one form of communication. What is it about the United States that makes bilingualism so difficult to sustain?