Ten years ago this month, RRW published its first of what would be many posts on St. Cloud, Minnesota, a small city targeted by Lutheran Social Services of MN and the US State Department for the resettlement of mostly Somali refugees.
When blog partner Judy wrote this post about the mistreatment of a service dog by Somali students it was the first time I had ever heard of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
In those ten years we have published dozens of posts on the demographic change there and the controversy it has created.
Our experience has been that the St. Cloud Times has been biased against anyone who wants to have a discussion about the change, but this story by reporter Jenny Berg is surprisingly balanced! What happened?
Not just the ‘insensitive’ numbers guy: Jeff Johnson keeps refugee conversation going
It is a long story, but really worth reading. I was particularly interested in one theme expressed throughout:
Concerned citizens have a right to expect transparency from government officials at all levels.
In fact, it is that very lack of transparency that gave rise to this blog!
There would be no Refugee Resettlement Watch beginning in July 2007 if there had been an open and honest discussion in Hagerstown, Maryland that year and if the Hagerstown Herald Mail had investigated and explained the details of how the small city in a red county had been chosen for resettlement and how the process would work going forward.
See what I wanted to know in 2007! I’m still working on getting those answers for every American town and city! You have a right to the answers (without having your character slimmed!).