Reasons to worry about Marshall

To the editor:

I appreciate seeing the article “Full Circle” in the weekend edition of the Independent.

Marshall is blessed to have a Restorative Justice system and to be operating Circle programs in our community. Reading about the current successes of Circles inclusive of local volunteers is encouraging. In fact, I am offering to help with the program by calling the Circle Office (507-401-0535) this week. I hope others do the same.

With consecutive years of denial for substantial investments in our local education, I worry about Marshall in generations to come. At the moment, our community is expanding while elsewhere in southwest Minnesota there is much decline. Our city is in a position to be an economic regional hub. Some of the growth comes from welcoming immigrant populations and different cultures into our lives. Newcomers and traditional populations need healthy community services and public investments as outlets to come together. For example, when funding for educational expansion to match rising enrollment is delayed or neglected, then the money saved today often pales in comparison to costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and criminal justice processes required later with waves of disenchanted youth and apathetic residents.

While today Marshall to me is the place I want to live, there still are society ills of poverty, drug use, crime and subtle racism in institutions and individually here. Therefore, we need more focus on the good work and community efforts that can counter these trends. It is amazing to spotlight a proactive engagement of community members to help Restorative Justice practice by being part of Circles. Many unsung heroes exist in our area and this fills me with hope. After the most recent dismal failure of school referendums this past week, a local resident may be left with a sense of hopelessness, but let us look to where can have positive impacts in our city today.

If you are a person in a position of power or a resident in general, then please promote community engagement efforts and restorative practices. What we do now means much especially when people come together with their voices being heard to change the future.

Brian-Paco Bertrand-Cyr