Hate Speech Resolution Passes in Fargo, But Not Unanimously

Just one commissioner voted against making Fargo the second city to pass the resolution

FARGO, ND — Commissioners in Fargo passed a resolution officially making the city an “inclusive” community.

It’s the second city in the Valley to make this move, but it came with opposition on this side of the river.

“This is the week that folks were talking about having some rallies in our town,” Fargo City Commissioner John Strand told the crowd at city hall.

Responding to the rallies in Charlottesville and to the recent string of hate speech in the Valley, a human relations commission asked metro cities to pass a resolution on inclusiveness.

Activists said passing this sends a message.

“You don’t have to bring your own issues here,” said Hukun Abdullahi, a member of the Afro American Development Association. “So if you guys want to come and be a part of this community, be a part of this inclusive community.”

“It establishes the model and the environment for the whole community,” said Barry Nelson of the Fargo Human Relations Commission “They are our elected leaders, they are a spokesperson for the community. I think in that perspective, they need to be conveying that loud and clear.”

Nelson added, the hate speech in Fargo-Moorhead is not new.

“We’ve had some very visible evidence of hate crimes here in the community,” he said. “It may be that people are just more brave to report those kinds of things. I have no question in my mind that this has been ongoing for years and years.”

The resolution does not change any city laws.

It’s a statement putting Fargo on the map as a place which accepts minorities and celebrates diversity.

Commissioner John Strand told the public this is not only good for the community, but good for business.

“One of the most fundamental requirements Amazon set forth in their criteria for a new community is that they will only move to a community that’s inclusive,” Strand said.

Moorhead became the first city to pass this resolution when their council voted unanimously in favor of it on September 25th.

Weeks later, the resolution was seen by commissioners in Fargo, passing with a 4-1 vote.

Without explaining why, Dave Piepkorn is the lone commissioner to vote against the resolution.

In the past, Piepkorn has complained about the local government not having a say in refugee resettlement.

The several activists who showed up were hoping for a unanimous vote, but said they’re still happy it passed.

City leaders in Dilworth and West Fargo are also being asked to pass this resolution.

WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview

A diversity resolution targeting a recent string of hate crimes in the metro is going to a vote in Fargo.

Moorhead became the first city to pass the inclusive resolution last month.

KVRR’s Nick Broadway joins us from city hall as commissioners get ready for a public hearing.

NICK BROADWAY, REPORTING: They have already completed the vote. It passed 4 -1 with Commissioner Dave Piepkorn as the lone “no” vote. I’m joined by Hukun Abdullahi, who is with the Afro American Development Association. Hukun, why do you feel it’s important to get city leaders to speak out against the recent string of hate speech through this area?

HUKUN ABDULLAHI, AFRO AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION: Thank you for having me, Nick. Actually, we’re very thankful for both Fargo and Moorhead to pass this resolution because it’s important. When the leaders speak out against what is going on, the hate and all that, it sends a clear message to the public that we are one community. We are united and we stand against any bigotry and racist issue that is happening in our cities.  Today was very important to see the Fargo leaders pass this resolution.

NB: Earlier this year, we’ve seen white nationalists hold rallies in places like Charlottesville and dropping hints that a similar rally may potentially happen in Fargo.  Do you think this resolution is going to send a message to people who have those beliefs to tell them that Fargo is not all about that?

HA: Absolutely, yes. It sends a clear message to those people who want to come to our city and we know that Fargo is a welcoming city, it’s recognized nationally, and today the city proves that Fargo is still inclusive and is a welcoming city.  I think it’s sending a clear message to those ones that we are not part of them and we stand against any prejudice, any hate and bigotry and we will not tolerate any of it. That’s what our city leaders said today.

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