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NU Forward receives Human Rights Award

Staff photo by Fritz Busch New Ulm Forward member Sue Kimmel, left, accepts the Human Rights Award from Larry Czer of the New Ulm Human Rights Commission Monday. At right is New Ulm Forward member Kate Sloot.

NEW ULM — New Ulm Forward received the 2020 Human Rights Award from the Human Rights Commission Monday.

The annual award recognizes a person or persons, community organization, or business in the New Ulm area, who has contributed significantly to the advancement of human rights.

Beginning it’s third year in January, New Ulm Forward promotes the acceptance of diversity, recognizing and celebrating the unique differences of all people and striving for a healthy community by making sure everyone has equal opportunities for success, said Sue Kimmel, who accepted the award and was instrumental in creating New Ulm Forward.

“When barriers exist, we can interrupt or examine barriers and biases, making sure that New Ulm is a just and caring community,” said Kimmel. “We want all people to count and we want all people to feel welcome. On behalf of New Ulm Forward, I want to thank the New Ulm Human Rights Commission for this award. May both of our organizations continue to work together and separately to imagine boldly and work passionately for justice for all of us.”

New Ulm Forward member Kate Sloot also talked about the organization.

“On behalf of New Ulm Forward, which includes members like my trans-racial family who moved here 14 years ago and citizens who were born and raised here, and African immigrant friends, I would like to thank the Human Rights Commission for giving us this award,” said Sloot. “Thank you also for the work you do to protect the rights of all citizens of New Ulm. New Ulm Forward (NUF) is striving to make our great town more welcoming to people of color and celebrate diversity. The efforts of NUF are making a difference in the lives of my friends and family.”

Sloot said a NUF event, family table, made a difference in her Ghanian friends’ lives prior to COVID-19 restrictions.

“They said it made them feel welcome and cared for, that it was great to get to know people in the community,” said Sloot. “They mentioned how much it meant to have the police chief attend regularly, and how friendly he was.”

Sloot said a Cameroonian friend that attended NUF gatherings said meeting everyone and becoming aware of his rights made a difference in his feeling a part of the community.

“He plans to bring his wife to America and hopes to raise a family here,” said Sloot.

“There is a great need for work to be done. We want to invite others to join us in this valuable work,” she said.

Kimmel talked about the Oct. 15 peace rally held in New Ulm at the corner of Broadway and Center Street that involved the New Ulm Human Rights Commission, New Ulm Forward and Equity New Ulm.

“In New Ulm we care about peace even in this political climate,” said Kimmel.

She reported that New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield groups are interested in future projects.

“In New Ulm, we’re interested in making videos of people telling their stories,” said Kimmel. “We’re interested in creating a kiosk, maybe at the New Ulm Public Library.”

She said certain people in New Ulm could benefit from English speaking classes after COVID restrictions have eased.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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