ROCHESTER, Minn. -
As protesters demand an end to racial injustices, major corporations are taking a look in the mirror and changing their image. Quaker Oats is retiring the Aunt Jemima brand and logo - recognizing it's based on a racial stereotype.
History instructor Chad Israelson says it's been a long time coming.
"It's rather embarrassing it has taken this amount of time to address some of these things," Israelson said.
Rochester Public Library Director Audrey Betcher doesn't mince words when it comes to the Library's past.
'The Library has had a long history," Betcher said. "Some of it has been racist. The libraries across this whole country were segregated for a long time."
In the past - people of color were disproportinately impacted by libraries being closed on the weekends and overdue fines. But the LIbrary has addressed those issues with fine forgiveness and better hours.
Israelson explains why it has taken us this long to address racial inequities - injustices - and stereotypes.
"Some of these arguments wouldn't have necessarily made sense in 1950, keeping in mind, there was a good chunk of the country where it was legal to discriminate against people at that time," Israelson said.
Israelson believes in history - every movement isn't caused by one event, instead it's a spark that ignites it. That's what the death of George Floyd is doing: bringing awareness to these issues.
"The killing of Archduke Ferdinand for example, there were all sorts of reasons why World War I happened, that's the spark that ignited it," Israelson said. "So George Floyd's murder is the spark that ignites these things but the conditions were already there."
Betcher believes in order for society to recognize its injustices - we might have to break everything apart and start over.
"We have to really look at ourselves and our institutions," Betcher said.
The Rochester Public LIbrary is also taking a look at their policies and practices to hold themselves accountable for anti-racism.