Learning from the past

Created Equal Conversations

ROCHESTER, Minn. — When you think about a local community, made up of all different types of people and cultures, you may think of Rochester. That could become even truer for them in the coming years as more growth is expected to take place.

Wednesday, some in the city took a step back in time to help the community learn from what has happened in the nation’s past and how it has impacted the present day.

“The facilitators will show like a brief ten, 15 minute film clip from a particular documentary and based on that, use that as a way to stimulate some discussion,” said Project Coordinator Misun Bormann.

Winona State University and the Rochester Community and Technical College teamed up for discussions centered around the civil rights movement.

The film clips they are watching are from several documentaries that are part of the “Created Equal” series.

“The ultimate goal is really to get people to start thinking about our history, how it impacts us and how is it relevant to today in our communities?” Bormann said.

These discussions are something that those with WSU think are important any time, but especially during Black History Month.

In a community like Rochester, they say there is no time to waste.

“With all of the changes going on in the Rochester community and our growing diversity, there’s no better time than now for us to really look at some of these issues, talk about them and try to move forward in terms of understanding,” said Diane Dingfelder, Executive Director of Outreach & Continuting Education for WSU.

They want to make sure that the word spreads all over town, so they are taking their conversations on the road to all parts of Rochester.

“We’re also looking at ways that we intersect with our community and what we bring to the community in terms of enhancing the arts, culture, education and learning environment and this was a way for us to work together and bring what we think is a timely topic to the Rochester community,” Dingfelder said.

The goal of all these conversations is not just about the past, it is also focused ahead and what can be done in the next 50 years.

“It’s just getting people thinking about our history, the civil rights movement, how far we’ve come, what more we have to do,” Bormann said.

Every Wednesday during the month of February, the group will meet up to watch different films.

Next Wednesday they will meet from 12:30-2 p.m. watching “Slavery by Another Name” at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center. Wednesday, February 19 they will meet from 5-6:30 p.m. watching “Freedom Riders” at the Rochester Boys and Girls Club. Wednesday February 26 they will meet from 4-5:30 p.m. watching “The Loving Story” at the University Center Rochester. For more on these events, visit their website.

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