Recognizing racial injustices

The Rochester Public Library voted to make a stronger statement about being anti-racist and to sign a commitment letter with other non-profits that address a call to action for racial justice. A racial reckoning is happening across the nation. We take a closer look.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 9:41 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 10:46 PM

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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
Hubbard150238
Redwood141027
Houston139814
Dodge13864
Renville138040
Chippewa132332
Cottonwood128918
Fillmore12646
Wadena120218
Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
Faribault108816
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99318
Pipestone96423
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
Pope7465
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66016
Wilkin6349
Koochiching60310
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
Unassigned44568
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4147
Kittson37320
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
Ringgold44811
Audubon4218
Wayne41921
Adams2993
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