Making the Metro a Welcome Place for All with Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd
Through all of the unrest and uneasiness, Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd has been a calm voice.
MOORHEAD, Minn. – It’s been a tough week and a half for a lot of people we’ve talked with and heard from both in our region, and around the country.
Throughout all the unrest and the uneasiness in our community last week, an articulate and calming voice rose through the noise: Mayor Johnathan Judd’s.
While criminal justice reform was obviously a top priority, according to Mayor Judd, education reform is just as important.
“In this region, we need to have more teachers of color, that’s a start. The thing is that I think people need to understand is how this adversely affects the much bigger picture,” said Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd, “We have to get diversity in those ranks, because again if you are trying to get primary sector businesses here, these businesses are looking for diversity, because most of these companies have embraced diversity. They can’t get their diverse employees to stay here because if there is a challenge or negative experience with a school or a teacher not trained to handle diverse or adverse situations, those families aren’t going to stay.”
Moorhead is currently struggling with retaining young diverse talent in the region, according to the Mayor, and a lack of diverse educators is part of that problem.
Mayor Judd also said that protesters wanted to see more leadership that represented the diversity of the metro area, and he thinks that mentor programs from concerned groups of citizens and leaders like the Chamber could be the key to starting that process.
“You need to have individuals who have expressed an interest of serving in that capacity, we need to be mentoring folks of those respective demographics to get involved,” said Mayor Judd, “For me, I got involved because somebody saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I don’t think they came to me and said ‘We should get JJ he’s a black guy.’
“No! Someone saw me as a person, as a human, and said ‘You know, he looks like he would be a good leader.'”
Mayor Judd said that it was important to get these conversations started now, and not wait any longer.
“Most of the things I am trying to have a conversation about right now will probably be after I leave this earth. I’m just being honest…”
“You see right now how our society is divided, we’ve got people who aren’t listening to each other. You really have to take some time to reflect about this isn’t an us versus them. We’re really just trying to get people to come together and find that commonality,” said Judd.
“What I’m trying to do is leave a legacy so that people understand that this is a foundation, we’ve got to build upon it, we don’t need to tear each other down. We have to do more thoughtful, engaged dialogue, and listen with humility. This is going to be longer then a five year project.”