The Minneapolis Division of Race and Equity has postponed a program for employees that would have segregated black and white staffers in separate rooms.
The series, dubbed “Sacred Conversations” was postponed after City Coordinator Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde observed Minneapolis does not separate people based on race, ethnicity, or any other protected identity, reported the Star Tribune.
The “Sacred Conversations” series was intended to commemorate the arrival of the first African slaves in Jamestown in 1619. According to the news report, the program sought to help city employees “discuss how they relate to the enslavement, resistance, and continual push for liberation for African-American people.”
Though postponed for now, another Tribune report suggested the program will be rescheduled at a later date.
The program created a firestorm, drawing the attention of Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who wrote to Mayor Jacob Frey, “Although the events have been cancelled for now, media reports indicate they will be rescheduled. Respectfully, this would be a very bad idea.”
Kirsanow continued in the letter obtained by Breitbart News:
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the June 27th session was to have the theme of “recovering our narratives of oppression and liberation.” During the session, “black bodied” employees were to be separated from “white bodied” employees, ostensibly because they are the two groups who were historically affected by slavery. Does everyone automatically get either a scarlet letter or a gold star just because their skin is roughly the same shade as slave owners or slaves who lived somewhere other than Minneapolis 160 years ago? What if a black person who’s a recent immigrant is descended from slave traders in Africa? Do we send him to the “oppressor” lecture with the “white-bodied” folks, or the “victim” lecture with the “black- bodied” folks? And what about Asian and Hispanic employees? Where do they fit into the Oppression Olympics?
Kirsanow, an attorney and a Republican member of the Commission who also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Center for New Black Leadership, referred to the “Sacred Conversations” series as “galactically stupid,” and observed that “dividing employees by race and haranguing members of one race is presumptively illegal.”
“I’m glad that ‘Sacred Conversations’ has been postponed, but I urge you to cancel the event entirely,” Kirsanow concluded in his letter. “And please, don’t replace it with ‘Diversity Day.’”
According to the Tribune, with “Sacred Conversations” currently postponed, the city is sponsoring a lecture series titled, “The African-American Experience” to begin in July at City Hall.
The lecture series, produced as well by the Division of Race and Equity, is reportedly open to the public. The first lecture will “give space to participants to remember who African-Americans were before 1619,” stated the news report.
Minneapolis’s Division of Race and Equity was established in December 2017, two years after the city hired two “equity and inclusion managers” for the city coordinator’s office.