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No sinister message in ‘Peace/Justice’ signs

To the editor:

The New Ulm Human Rights Commission would like to respond to Michael Thom’s recent letter regarding our yard signs. Mr. Thom has incorrectly interpreted the message. To be clear, “If You Want Peace, Work For Justice” (originally quoted by Pope Paul VI), is not a sinister message and has no hidden call to violence or coercion to a subversive cause as Mr. Thom would have you believe. Clearly, systemic racism continues to be an issue within our country. Numerous examples of individuals being treated differently based solely on the color of their skin are prevalent. How can anyone feel peace when others are treated unfairly? 

Our message is simply a method to bring awareness and challenge others to improve the social situation in our community and by extension, our country. This is our hope for the future. Mr. Thom wrote that justice was achieved when the slaves were freed and when the Civil Rights Movement took place. Justice has never fully been achieved. There is still work to be done and that is what the signs ask of you. Work can be questioning your own views, including why one might feel the need to write a public letter condemning our signs but not feeling so compelled to write a similar letter regarding the recent hate speech spray painted in New Ulm. Work can be having conversations and listening to others and making sure all rights are honored, not just your own. Work can be promoting positive change within your community and working together with other community members to achieve this goal. Work comes in many forms. Work is not sitting still and doing nothing. Mr. Thom would rather recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But reciting a pledge without action to make “Liberty and Justice for All” truly for all does nothing. We encourage ALL to do something.

If anyone would like a yard sign promoting peace and action in our community, please contact a member of the New Ulm Human Rights Commission or email City Hall at lisag@newulmmn.gov

New Ulm Human

Rights Commission

Larry Czer, Chair

Dan Kalk, Vice Chair

Wendi Ringhofer, Secretary

Jackie Krehbiel

Tim Frenning

Deanna Fenske

Sue Hunstad

Chad Gentz

Diane Hatman

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