ST. PETER, MINN. – St. Peter residents came together for a community conversation on race Wednesday night. The Region Nine Development Commission has teamed up with the YWCA of Mankato and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council to host forums in seven rural towns in South Central Minnesota. 

The “It’s Time to Talk” forums aim to get people talking about issues of race through the use of facilitators and intentionally crafted questions. Facilitators lead participants through a circle dialogue process and encourage them to speak from their own experiences.

“The takeaway we want people to have is reflect on their own experiences and thoughts around race and how that might impact their daily life and also connections as neighbors how do we maintain and how do we become a welcoming community so that our community can grow and thrive in the future,” Community Engagement Manager with the Region 9 Development Commission Jessica O’Brien said.

Previous forums, one in Waseca and the other in St. James showed communities reflecting on what they look like now, where they want to be in the future and how they can get there.

“This is a great opportunity and we’re so excited that the communities are so interested in this, we’ve really been overwhelmed by the positive support and it seems like it’s really meeting a need in the region,” O’Brien said.

The next stop for the forum will be in New Ulm in September.

–KEYC News 12