Since the organizational meeting March 10 for what has come to be called “Festival For Change: Celebrating Cultural Wealth and Togetherness,” my excitement has grown for this event hosted at Roseville Lutheran Church, coming Sept.9-10, right after Labor Day.
When Diane Sell, whom some of you remember doing youth ministry under former FHC pastor Marion Pocker in the 1970s, reached out to me about the event, it was after I had reached out to RLC’s Senior Pastor Lauren Wrightsman about the Isaiah organizing work I’m doing with Roseville clergy around voting rights.
Diane grew up in Roseville. The idea for the event was birthed when she moved back from 10 years of ministry in Longmont, Colorado (where I served for 8 years) to find a vastly more diverse Roseville than the one she knew as a young woman.
All of us know Roseville has come to reflect the growing diversity in our nation generally—and Roseville citizens were just as shocked as we were when Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in July 2016. It punctured our “Minnesota exceptionalism,” which had told us such a tragedy could not happen here.
Since then, we’ve had the pandemic change our lives and George Floyd’s killing change our perspective on law enforcement and public safety. We realize in a way we didn’t before that the system really DOES treat white people and people of color differently!
The Festival for Change is designed to provide on-ramps for people in the area who WANT to take personal and public action on systemic racism and white supremacy. Roseville-based faith groups and Twin Cities BIPOC leaders are partnering for the first time to create a two-day festival “celebrating cultural wealth and togetherness,” bringing members from different backgrounds together to begin to cross barriers between our communities, lifting up those who have been most hurt, speaking and hearing the truth, and taking steps toward reconciliation.
Diane and the Festival’s diverse steering committee have asked our church to support the event’s mission by volunteering, FHC having a table at the event, or financially supporting the Festival’s Uplift Grant program with $500 or more. I signed up—and I invite YOU to do so, as well!