COLD SPRING – A pair of Cold Spring residents Monday will lead a community discussion focused on combating racism and creating unity.

ROCORI Community Unity (Unidad), which will be held at Frogtown Park in Cold Spring, was organized by Ulises Ayala and Mary Jean Molitor. Earlier this summer, protesters gathered in Cold Spring to protest a confederate flag displayed in front of a home across the street from ROCORI middle school.The flag has since been taken down, but Ayala and Molitor say Cold Spring and surrounding communities remain divided on the topic.

“(The protests) got the conversation going,” Molitor said. “Many people from around our area approached those of us protesting the flag and thanked us for taking a stand."

“There’s nothing wrong with peaceful communication where groups of people can come together and exchange ideas on how to make it better,” Ayala said. “At the end of the day, we are all one community.”

The event will ask attendees to discuss their ideas on how to create unity in the ROCORI community. Ayala says local officials, including the Cold Spring City Council and Minnesota District 13 Senator Jeff Howe, have been invited to the discussion.

“Having local leaders attend and seeing what perspectives they have is also important,” he said.

“We wanted an opportunity for folks to come to listen to their neighbors and share,” Molitor adds. “It’s our hope that these conversations can be the beginning of a dialogue against racism.”

The all-ages event will be held Monday, Aug. 31 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at 54 2nd St. N. in Cold Spring. Organizers ask attendees to bring a chair or a blanket and practice proper social distancing. Since the event is outdoors, organizers say masks are not required but are encouraged.

ROCORI Community Unity (Unidad) is co-sponsored by Unite Cloud.

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