Now that you’re plugged in, it’s time to use your knowledge. Put pressure to power. Tell them what you want to see. Or compliment them on a job well done (that actually happens in local politics kind of frequently).
Rochester has plenty of forums and its elected officials are extremely approachable, so take advantage of it.
On Saturday, a forum on factory farming in Minnesota begins at 10:00 a.m. at Assisi Heights. Speakers include a farmer’s daughter, a lawyer, a pig farmer, and professors of theology and philosophy. They’ll talk about the impact factory farming has on social justice, the environment, and animal welfare in our state. The event is sponsored by St. Mary’s University, Cascade Meadow Wetland and Environmental Science Center.
What: Factory Farming in Minnesota: A Time for Change?
When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Assisi Heights, 1001 14th St. NW, Rochester
More info: 336-414-2755
Elsewhere on Saturday, Rochester STEM Academy plays host to a community forum regarding discipline disparities within the Rochester public school system. Data about race, income, and special education status will be used, and Marika Pfefferkorn, of the MN Education Equity Project, will talk racial disparities on a statewide scale. Sponsors include the NAACP, Racial Justice Task Group of 1st UU Church, Somali American Caucus, and Rochester for Justice.
What: Examining disparities in Discipline in Rochester Public Schools: Community Forum
When: Saturday, February 4, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m..
Where: Rochester STEM Academy, Auditorium, 415 16th St SW, Rochester
On Monday, February 13, Rochester for Justice holds a more expansive forum with its Lift Every Voice Town Hall event, which has a slew of leaders confirmed. In addition to Mayor Brede, city council members Michael Wojcik, Nick Campion, Mark Bilderback, and Annalissa Johnson are confirmed. County Commissioners Mark Thein and Sheila Kiscaden will be there, as will School Board members Mark Schleusner, Jean Marvin, and Don Barlow.
What: Rochester for Justice’s Lift Every Voice Town Hall
When: Monday, February 13, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Eagles Club of Rochester, 917 15th Ave SE, Rochester
The details in its Facebook event are simple:
“In response to community concerns about this election cycle and the state of our Government going forward, Rochester for Justice is facilitating this opportunity for the community to speak directly to their Community Leaders about concerns and hopes for the future.”
Free childcare will be provided.
These are chances to get out there and rub elbows with active citizens. Has something about the current political climate disturbed you? Are there policies out there that need dismantling or strengthening? It’s up to you, the citizen, to idenfity these things and bring them to your representative’s attention.
Forums like these are also chances to listen to ideas that conflict with yours – a useful, if occasionally painful, tool in any critical thinker’s bag.
See you there.