I have enjoyed all of the positive articles in the Star Tribune this summer on monarch butterfly and pollinator rescue efforts. People of all persuasions listened to and accepted the data from scientists, then banded together to make sure these small but iconic species survive for future generations to enjoy. As I bike through Minneapolis, Lanesboro or Lindstrom, I see Minnesotans purposely growing, welcoming and displaying milkweed in their yards and gardens instead of pulling it out as we may have in years past.
Governmental agencies such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with businesses such as Andersen Windows and Xcel Energy, are joining hands with churches, Rotarians, school kids and retirees to help monarchs and other pollinators. Why? Because it is simply the right thing to do. This diverse coalition recognizes the importance of the beauty of monarchs and the role of pollinators in our lives. This unified front doesn’t have anyone discrediting the scientific data or calling this a hoax designed to make scientists rich or give “Big Milkweed” record profits.
I have noticed many more monarchs this year than I have seen in the last few years. Our efforts give me hope that humanity can and will work together to ensure future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy nature that we have had.
Patrick Collins, Lindstrom, Minn.
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For now, while Minnesota’s monarch butterfly population is still declining, it is disheartening to see them as mounted specimens in 4-H county fair entries (“Monarch rescue efforts receive a $20M boost,” Aug. 21). Please give it a break!
R.M. Hall, Burnsville
MINNESOTA SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM
What could be the motives for releasing rapist over objections?
About the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), we are told that unlike nearly all of the other states, Minnesota seems not to have found a way to address the classification, treatment and supervised release of our sex-offender population. We are told that of the 700-plus “patients,” there are scores who are too old or infirm to cause trouble for anyone. We are also told that there is a large number whose offenses were not violent, who are cognitively disabled or whose offense occurred when they were adolescents who had grown up in abusive environments. These people are most appropriate for supervised release to a less-restricted program.
Given the above, why on Earth is a judicial panel releasing a man (“Rapist is granted a contested release,” Aug. 27) who has a history of violent attacks, has not cooperated in the program, and in fact has continued his threatening and assaultive behaviors and refuses to agree to follow the rules of a supervised release program? Two psychologists, the Hennepin County attorney, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the administrators of the program and even one of the members of the panel cite the inappropriateness of this plan.
This seems to be a “see what you made me do” tactic, designed to fail, to endanger the public and to support a “no change” philosophy when it fails.
Richard DeBeau, Northfield
The writer is a retired clinical social worker who was a therapist and executive director of a program for adolescents with sexual behavior problems.
RACE AND HIRING
Target is fined for operating in its given environment
Target Corp. was fined $2.8 million by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for a hiring process that disproportionately screened out minority applicants (front page, Aug. 25). The EEOC said that the tests on their face were neutral but that a statistical analysis showed an adverse impact on certain populations.
In the Aug. 26 issue of the Star Tribune, an article about Minnesota students results on ACT scores shows a large gap between white students and black students: “According to test results, 62 percent of the state’s white students met standards on at least three of the academic subjects, compared to 17 percent of black students, a gap of more than 45 percentage points.”
Study after study shows that virtually every social ill in our society hits the black community harder than the white community. No doubt there are many factors at work, starting with our history of slavery and discrimination.
The point is that it shouldn’t be a surprise if an objective process of trying to hire the best possible employees might result in disproportionate hiring regarding race. The simple showing that a process has a disparate impact should not in itself be considered proof of racial discrimination. Target should be allowed to try to hire the best employees, and the EEOC should have the burden to show evidence beyond “disparate impact” that Target had discriminatory hiring practices.
Mitch Anderson, Eagan
BLACK LIVES MATTER
State Fair disruption is: a) unhelpful; b) necessary
Black Lives Matter appears committed to the public-relations disaster of blocking or impeding access to the State Fair on Saturday. One wonders if, for example, the American Cancer Society would consider building awareness and a donation base by a similar activity. I think not. I would challenge Black Lives Matter to next year consider more positive and effective fair activities: have a booth, hand out buttons and literature, lobby fair officials for a Black Awareness Day, conduct surveys, and bus inner-city kids to the fair accompanied by mentors. More work than marching and chanting? Certainly. More effective in building empathy and awareness? Absolutely.
John Jackson, Bloomington
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The news of a planned disruption at the State Fair in the form of a march and protest by the Minneapolis and St. Paul chapters of the Black Lives Matter movement has provoked many to react. Don’t they know their plans are disturbing our plans for a fun day at the fair? Don’t they know their actions might shock us out of our numbness to racism?
I, too, ask: Why protest at the State Fair, of all places? Why not just let everyone take a break from life and experience a fun-filled overindulgent day on a stick? Here’s why: We all know that if they do not protest, march and perform acts of civil disobedience at the intersections of our numbness and blindness to racism, then our lives go on all the same with no change, with no consideration and, dare I say, no repentance of racism.
For a moment, think what it must be like to know that the only way to have your voice heard concerning a great injustice is by shutting down a major highway, by gathering at a shopping juggernaut or by marching at our nation’s second-largest state fair. You may not agree with all of the tactics and statements of Black Lives Matter, but I believe these efforts are pulling back the curtain to expose our hidden attitudes toward race. The actions cause frustration, anger and, yes, pain — but they also offer a path toward a new life.
If you look on your washing machine, you will notice a setting labeled “agitation.” The purpose of this setting is to shift, torque and twist the dirt and stains out of fabric. The Black Lives Matter movement is agitating the stain of racism out of us, and we do not like it. The fabric of our nation has let the stain remain without a full agitation cycle; we stop when we are confronted with the depth of our racism. But if we are to become a whole nation, a reconciled nation, this is the path we must tread.
The Rev. G. Travis Norvell, Minneapolis