Support neighbors of all faiths, ethnicities

January 29, 2009

It is alarming to see that the white supremacist and anti-Semitic “Church of the Creator” has a group of active promoters in our community. People need to know that this movement is promoting its incendiary message to school kids. We should take action to censure these messages, not censor the news media that report their presence.

The message of such groups will lead to vandalism, threats and possibly violence. When groups like this try to establish themselves, others must step forward to support their neighbors of all religions and backgrounds.

There are some good opportunities coming up to do so, including national holidays in January and February. I am introducing a bill in the Montana Legislature to add Juneteenth as a holiday in the state of Montana, to be recognized on the third Saturday of June. Twenty-eight states, including Wyoming and Idaho, have adopted this remarkable celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.

More than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, the 250,000 slaves in Texas were finally freed on June 19, 1865, when a Union ship landed in Galveston. This celebration has lived on as “Juneteenth,” and is celebrated with picnics, as well as inspirational and patriotic activities. This holiday marks the extraordinary capacity of this great nation to weather storms and reform itself under our constitutional governance.

Montana can lift up Juneteenth as one of many signs affirming our welcome to all people of good will, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background.

Back Home in Billings!

We are citizen lawmakers in Montana which means that I am home in Billings, for the most part, except for periodic interim committee meetings in Helena. You can call me at 652-6625 and leave a message. I like to hear how laws that we pass make a difference or impact you. I also like to hear your ideas on how to make our communities stronger and better. I will be attending community meetings and events to keep my ear to the ground for the needs of our neighborhoods and city. Please come up and say "Hello" when you see me around town.

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