Editorial: Red Wing Diversity Festival should spark healthy debateThe strongest families know when to agree to disagree. They enjoy vigorous debates regarding politics, religion and social issues while keeping true to both personal convictions and personal connections.
By: R-E Editorial Board, The Republican Eagle
The strongest families know when to agree to disagree. They enjoy vigorous debates regarding politics, religion and social issues while keeping true to both personal convictions and personal connections. Some of them manage to do it at the dinner table.
We are family. That is the driving message for the 2012 Red Wing Diversity Festival. No matter one’s race, color, creed, gender, abilities or sexual orientation, we are family and should treat everyone as such.
Two distinctive performances will mark Saturday’s event and give the community a chance to come together as a diverse and growing family.
First, the Shalom Interdenominational Choir — or Coro Evangelico Shalom in Spanish — will sing before and after the 1 p.m. Amos Owen Award ceremony.
We suspect that young people don’t realize what an international milestone bringing this choir from Havana represents. Most baby boomers, of course, recall the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960. “Red” fever and fear-generated hatred of communists ran rampant 50 years ago, so deep in fact that the island nation remains off-limits to 99 percent of Americans today.
The idea of a Cuban ensemble singing in Central Park — the community’s living room — would have been rejected out of hand just a few years ago. That local residents would open their homes to 24 Cubans for a 12-day stay would have been impossible to propose, let alone complete.
Second, the Soapbox Players will stage “8” that evening at the Sheldon Theatre. This performance about the California vote to outlaw same-sex marriage comes as Minnesotans prepare to vote on a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Some local citizens have staunch beliefs and thoughts about the proposed amendments. To date, the debate has been fairly calm and rational, but our community could edge toward hate-filled actions not unlike those that occurred in the 1960s if we let it. We need to ensure that such things as the vandalizing of the Environmental Learning Center’s large duck with anti-gay graffiti last weekend stay isolated incidents.
So attend the Diversity Festival. Enjoy the usual cultural foods and informational booths, but also take in the choir concert and the “8” production. Both performances provide opportunities for meaningful conversations on issues Red Wing residents should never let divide us. Let’s agree to come together as a diverse and healthy family.