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Northland young adults discuss ‘tumultuous 2020’ events

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DULUTH, MN -- 2020 has been full of tumultuous events, to say the least.

On Wednesday, Northland young adults shared their views on the impacts COVID-19 and racial injustice has had on them and their thoughts about the future.

“We know 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but we are especially interested in hearing how events of the past 10 months have impacted young people,” said Anita Stech, volunteer coordinator for Speak Your Peace in the Twin Ports.

Speak Your Peace is an organization dedicated to building better communication in the Northland.

Moderating the panel discussion was Carl Crawford, human rights officer for the City of Duluth, and Tadd Johnson, a professor and senior director of American Indian Tribal Nation Relations in the University of Minnesota system.

"We need to hear your voices, and we understand that we're all going through this pandemic, but our experiences are not all the same, and that's why your voice is important," Crawford said.

The focus of Wednesday's online forum was to hear from young adults about how the pandemic is impacting them.

"The voices of young people have been heard somewhat in the conversation about 2020, but we decided tonight we really want to hear more from them," said online forum host Robert Karwath.

The conversation involved more than just the coronavirus.

A group of panelists answered questions about racial injustice in America, LGBTQ rights, and more.

"I want to ask a question: given the racial climate, the current climate in America, and in our communities, do you feel safe? And, if not, what would it take to feel safe?" Crawford asked.

One of the panelists, Finora, said she doesn't feel as safe in America anymore.

"Everywhere sort of feels like, 'I don't know what towns are safe. I don't know what neighborhoods are safe.' And I feel like what's going on has just exasperated that feeling of unsafety for me," Finora said.

The forum had the goal of having honest and open conversations about this impactful year and helping young people know they are not alone.

Click here to learn more about Speak Your Peace.

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Kendall Jarboe

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