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Editor’s note: Chaska Human Rights Commission Chair Jennifer Welvaert submitted this commentary on behalf of the entire commission.

The Chaska Human Rights Commission is saddened by the recent acts of racism and discrimination in Chaska.

Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by these acts. We want you to know we hear you, we care for you, and we are dedicated to improving the situation through continued conversation and real actions.

We stand with Mayor Mark Windschitl in denouncing all forms of hate, including racism, bigotry, discrimination, and prejudices.

We want to commend the students, families, friends, and community members for sharing how racism and discrimination have impacted their lives, especially in recent incidents.

These stories spoke directly to the community values that should guide us when we interact with our friends, families, and neighbors. Based on these experiences, the standards of our community values have not been met, and we need to take steps to get back to our core beliefs.

As a commission, we are ready to put in the work to foster a safer and more inclusive community for our residents, businesses, local organizations, visitors, students and community members. We are ready to join with the Chaska City Council, city staff and representatives from the school district to move forward on the initial steps Mayor Windschitl laid out in his letter.

This important work starts with being present in the dialog. Members of our commission have attended community gatherings surrounding the current issues, and we have engaged and will continue to engage with those who have been impacted by racism and discrimination.

More work is coming. The Chaska Human Rights Commission will be an active participant in bringing our community together, and we invite you to join us in this work.

Jennifer Welvaert is chair of the Chaska Human Rights Commission. Other members include: Sarah Carlson, Judy Dunbar, Celi Haga, Donzel Leggett, Lisa White, Ellen K. Bean, Darryl Scarborough and Seth Spreadbury.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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