Stand United Rally Brings St. Cloud Community Together
ST. CLOUD -- Tonight it didn't matter what race, religion, or sexual identity a person was. One thing everyone stood for at the "Stand United Rally" was peace and unity.
"I couldn't really ask for anything more than what happened tonight. It was a beautiful display of what St. Cloud really is like" says executive director of UniteCloud Natalie Ringsmuth.
Sometimes in times of tragedies, it's the strength and members of the community that bring love instead of hate. But tonight's event was long planned before the Crossroads mall stabbing occurred.
Ringsmuth said the unity rally was planned due to an anti-Islamic speaker coming back into town, but after the mall incident, the event was needed more than ever.
"I think healing for the community isn't just about what happened two weeks ago, but healing from the years and decades there has been tension in this area says Ringsmuth"
The tension in St. Cloud was a story that Asma Jama from Anoka has heard repeatedly. So when she was asked to speak at the rally tonight, she was a bit hesitant.
"Where we live St. Cloud is known to be notorious for racism and I was already a victim, so I didn't want to come her and get another incident on my hand says, Jama"
Jama was assaulted last year with a beer mug at an Applebees in Coon Rapids by another customer angry at her for speaking Swahili. However, Jama says her sharing her story today and seeing different people in the crowd changed her perspective of St. Cloud.
"Coming here showed me that we have good and bad everywhere you go. I'm glad I came, it changed my whole view of St. Cloud. You guys are simply amazing"
Jama suggests people should get to know each other, so it can remove fear. She also adds she was happy to see a community united together.
Judging by the crowd tonight and the messages displayed, so was everyone else.