Wednesday evening at the radio station I was sitting around a table listening intently to my black friends talk about their experiences living in rural Minnesota. Do you ever have those moments when you know something amazing is happening right before your eyes?

I had invited Dan Tuckett and his son Danny Tuckett Jr., along with Kristyn Wicht from Dawson and Pastor Jacob Holck and his wife Veronia from Appleton to the Q92 studios Wednesday evening to talk on the radio about racism and diversity in western Minnesota. With what is going on in Minnesota and our country lately, I thought it would be a good discussion to get a local perspective on being black in Lac qui Parle County. To be honest, some of them, if not all of them were a bit nervous and apprehensive to talk on the radio and share how they feel about what is happening, especially in Minnesota since the George Floyd murder. They knocked it out of the park! As the discussion continued the panel talked with confidence and a strong passion flowed out of them! I was memorized by what they were saying!

Dan Tuckett, Danny Tuckett Jr., Kristyn Wicht, Pastor Jacob and his wife Veronia.

The almost two hour discussion was an eye opener for me. The program had everything, and as a friend of mine said afterwards. “ What a wonderfully open and honest discussion: serious moments, moments of reflection, moments of advice, moments of humor, and moments of faith.” I was moderating the discussion and was so immersed into what they were saying. I am not a good listener, and my wife can vouch for that, but Wednesday evening I was a good listener. These are my friends and I hurt at times listening to what they were saying. There was so much emotion coming from all of us as we talked openly and honestly about racism in our area. We all had tears in our eyes at times.

After the “Living with Diversity in Western Minnesota” discussion was over on the radio I was in for a big surprise. The response we received during and after the program was absolutely amazing and unbelievable. During the broadcast we had listeners email us questions for the panel. The emails kept coming and coming, we didn’t get a chance to get them all on the air. We also had some phone calls during the program. During the program, all of us around the table were getting texts on our phones from friends listening. After the program the huge response on all the social media sites was mind blowing to me.

This response from so many people told me that this is a very important issue, racism and diversity in western Minnesota. People have a lot to say and with that being said people need to listen as well. That is what I learned from my friends of color during this program. I need to sit and listen to what they have to say. Not argue, or get defensive like most people do, but just listen! We live in some great communities in western Minnesota, that was said over and over again during the program by everyone. All of us appreciated the kind words said to us or emailed to the radio station.

The discussion we had Wednesday evening was powerful. I want to leave you with three things I took away from Wednesday’s radio program. First, Dan, Danny Jr., Kristyn, Jacob and Veronia want to be listened to and heard. Listen to what they have to say! Second, treat people the way you would want to be treated. Be kind to one another, no matter what the color of their skin is. Third, get to know someone from a different race, become friends with them. When you do that, it changes everything.

Listen to the program Living with Diversity in Western Minnesota click on the link

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