That’s not the New Ulm I know

To Our City:

In response to the ‘New Ulm resident receives racist hate mail’ article.

I found it difficult to start writing this letter. I think because it happened here. Here in our community. In our quiet little city of New Ulm. I am not so naive to think that racism, bigotry, or prejudice doesn’t happen, but oh how I hoped not here. Because that’s not the New Ulm I love and call home. The New Ulm that has a festival every month because we just can’t help but celebrate community and fellowship. The New Ulm that was settled by immigrants. The New Ulm that has a statue of a hero standing over it that stands for: liberty and fraternity and equality. The New Ulm that every time when I come into town and cross the Minnesota River I get an overwhelming sense of home because that’s what it is, home. But it can only be home for me if it is a welcoming home for everyone. So, after much thought what I want to say to all my neighbors is this.

Thank you for being in your Country. Thank you for speaking up when you see hate or unkindness happen. Thank you for working hard for human rights and human decency so we can all live in a better New Ulm.

Better because we reach out to one another in need, with hands of love ready to help. You all can do that. Better because no matter which side of the wall we’re on, we can still reach across and recognize in each other our humanity, our sense of fellowship.

Neighbor, you are a rare gem. No one deserves to receive hate like that. We’re all part of our community. Each of you can make it stronger, better, welcoming, and when you do, I’m so glad you make New Ulm home-for all of us.

The only words I hope stick with you as you live here are these:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only Love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Megan Benage

New Ulm