BY GABE LICHT
When I saw the photos, I did not believe they had been taken in Delano.
They showed a house that had been vandalized inside and out.
They showed spray-painted words that I can’t type here and symbols that are just as reprehensible, along with the words “get out.”
What they didn’t show, what they couldn’t show, was the fear and anxiety now inflicted on a family who had done nothing wrong.
Though the pictures show a house in Delano, I don’t believe they were an accurate representation of the type of community Delano is.
Responses to the photos reinforce this belief.
In less than a day, a Delano MN Community Posts Facebook post regarding the incident garnered more than 100 reactions and more than 200 comments.
People who have been known to openly argue and debate with each other about a variety of issues all came together to express concern, outrage, and condemnation for what happened.
Not one person condoned what was done.
Why? I believe there are two reasons: the people who perpetrate these types of actions are cowards, and the people who support them vocally are in the minority in Delano.
I wish they didn’t exist here at all.
But, the comments showed that racism, and prejudice in general, is alive and well in Delano.
Several people shared personal examples of incidents that have happened in this community and in the schools.
I must admit I was ignorant of it.
Nobody has an excuse to be ignorant anymore.
There are people in this area who have the audacity not just to say something racist but also to violate a family’s privacy by entering their home, stealing some of their belongings, and destroying other belongings.
Someone asked me if I could imagine that happening to me.
I honestly cannot.
I don’t want anyone else to be able to imagine it, let alone experience it, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, or any other reason.
It’s time to speak out against racism and exclusion whether it is blatant or obscure.
It’s time to reinforce that the spirit of community is more than just a motto in Delano.
There are several definitions of community, but my favorite one is “a unified body of individuals.”
Now, more than ever, members of this community need to be unified in their support for one another.
Now, more than ever, this community needs to be unified in its intolerance of intolerance.
I believe that will happen.
One example is a taskforce the Delano area clergy is establishing.
The group is currently organizing and will host an open meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at Delano City Hall.
I encourage as many people as possible to attend and get involved.
For anyone interested in supporting the family who was targeted by this recent hate crime, I encourage you to check out the gofundme page that has been established.
Anyone who would like to use their voice or writing skills to show their support is encouraged to write a letter to the editor.
I don’t know if the victims subscribe to the paper, but I will ensure that they see any messages of support shared in these pages.
The victims of this crime need to know how much this community supports them. I thank everyone who has shared messages of support or who has reached out to help them.
At the same time, those who targeted this family need to know this behavior will not be tolerated here. If you have any information regarding who committed this heinous act, I implore you to call the Wright County Sheriff’s Office’s investigative tip line at (763) 682-7733.
Whether we can help solve the crime or not, we all need to band together and show that this community is not and will not be defined by the acts of a few.
When people ask me about Delano, I talk about how positive and progressive this community is.
I still believe that is the case, and that’s how I believe Delano should be defined.