When you live in a community as long as I have you get to know a few people.
Over the years, that list has grown for me, as I have connected with people of all shapes, sizes, as well as cultures.
I went to school with Deuce Larsen, the Lower Sioux tribal council president.
In fact, we were in Heinz Janning’s German class together.
When I first came back to town after college I taught a Sunday School class at Redwood Valley Christian Fellowship for a number of local kids, and among them was a very young Dan Kates.
I have watched Dan grow up all the way through high school and always enjoyed the chance to just say “hey” because Dan had the kind of personality and character that always put a smile on my face.
As I look back, I never saw Deuce or Dan as anything more than people, because that is what they are.
Of course, I recognized them as different than I was, but for me it was like recognizing someone who had blond hair or a person who had no hair at all.
No, I am not patting myself on the back because I am such a good person.
I know deep down there are thoughts that I have which are not good.
When the news comes on about racial issues, I admit my reactions are not always that pure. I know that I have biases, but I also know that I am trying to overcome them.
When I went to the march for peace held in town June 5 I was not sure what was going to happen. Let’s just say I was more than impressed with the showing as vehicle after vehicle rolled in with people ready to stand up for an important cause.
I was equally impressed with the way Dan took a leadership role in what is obviously something very important to him.
I know there are changes that I still need to make in my life, and I hope one day that, no matter who the person is, that I will see nothing more than a human being who has ambitions, dreams and struggles – some of which are far more heavy than anything I could imagine.
All life has value.
All people deserved to be loved for who they are.
As a person of faith I truly believe that.
I agree with one of the signs I read at the march last Friday that racism is something that is taught and is passed on from generation to generation.
Will racism ever end?
I hope so, and I am trying to do my part.