Over 80 people attended a gathering of community members who expressed support for the pledge developed by the Bemidji Respect advisory group. Bemidji Respect formed in November to highlight Bemidji as an inclusive community after Mayor Rita Albrecht was contacted by residents who said their friends and family had experienced discriminatory harassment. So far, almost 150 businesses and over 330 individuals have joined in signing the Declaration of Respect. Window clings and bumper stickers with the “Bemidji Respect” logo are available at Peacemaker Resources (444-8048) and Harmony Natural Foods Coop (751-2009) for anyone wishing to demonstrate their support for building bridges of inclusion, awareness and understanding across all divides.
The Declaration of Respect:
Standing Together for #BemidjiRespect
Children and adults around Bemidji have experienced hostility and harassment simply because of who they are.
This is absolutely unacceptable, here or anywhere. Together, we affirm shared values of mutual respect and appreciation for our differences. We are working to make this an even better place to live.
We acknowledge the full history of our city, which has experienced racial, economic and other disparities. We will seek to heal past injustice while striving to confront new wrongs.
People and organizations in Bemidji continue to grow in our ability and determination to ensure safety and acceptance for all. We will never overlook expressions of hate or intolerance, and we will not allow the actions of a few to set us back.
Our community seeks to build bridges of inclusion, awareness and understanding across all divides.
We face up to challenges and address them together. We hold one another accountable for doing the right thing.
We promote a vibrant and welcoming environment in which to live, learn, create and achieve success.
We will speak out against hate speech and fear mongering.
We proudly stand together as a community of respect − Bemidji Respect.