The Aberdeen group working to help immigrants fit into our community is changing its name. What started as the New Americans Task Force will now be called the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition.
These decent folks are changing their organizational moniker to adopt the non-profit status of an existing but dormant organization, the Aberdeen Area Diversity Committee, which formed in 2006 to “discuss Aberdeen’s growth and change in demographics” and had an executive director and a quarter-million-dollar grant for its work. The new task force’s name change allows them to assume the old committee’s non-profit status by filing amending the old committee’s articles of incorporation.
The Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition is also signaling its intent to stick around:
The name change was also prompted to reflect the group’s ongoing mission. A task force has an immediate purpose and breaks up when that purpose is fulfilled, but the Diversity Coalition plans to be a remaining force in Aberdeen [Katherine Grandstrand, “New Americans Changes Name for Nonprofit Status,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.11.03].
If a task force is temporary, does that mean we can count on the Americans First, Task Force to wither away soon? Make it so!
Speaking of the xenophobes who rose up in fear against community leaders’ practical effort to welcome the new families and workers we need to perpetuate our economic growth, the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition is also changing its name to break away from that anti-immigrant group’s nasty effort to encroach on their brand:
Another reason for the change was to distinguish the group from the Americans First, Task Force, the group responsible for bringing lecturer Ron Branstner to Aberdeen [Katherine Grandstrand, “New Americans Changes Name for Nonprofit Status,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.11.03].
Our Klannish komma khameleons have already sown plenty of confusion by adopting a name that tricks people into attending their fact-free hate sessions with ads that sound like they are from the good guys who just want to talk about the facts and how to help new residents fit in. The Branstner Klansters’ snidely aligned name is like opening an office next door to an NAACP chapter for a white pride group calling itself the National Association for Aversion to Colored People.
Speaking of which, perhaps our local hate group will follow the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition’s lead and change its name. They’ve already formed a political action committee called Keep South Dakota Safe PAC to handle their money and print white pride t-shirts. But if they want to keep jamming on the good guys’ brand, they’ll need to come closer… maybe… Aberdeen Area, Defense Coalition? Aberdeen Area Diversity, Contrarians? Aberdeen Asking, Don’t Come?
Related Reading: On my District 3 Senate campaign Facebook page (another hotbed of local political discussion), local voter Cher Kolb says she is “100% against more refugees” because “When they come here, they are given food stamps, housing and jobs. No… me flipping the bill for them till they stand on their own two feet is NOT the way our ancestors immigrated to the United States.” Another local voter, Thomas Black, responds with these facts:
I am on the housing authority board of directors in Aberdeen and I can assure you that refugees are not getting free housing. Of the few who inquire with the housing authority, the vast majority make too much money to qualify. If they don’t qualify for housing they won’t qualify for food stamps or other programs either. In Aberdeen refugees are working [Thomas Black, comment, Heidelberger for Senate campaign Facebook page, 2016.11.03].
Folks who don’t like new Americans will keep shouting ignorance and hatred; we’ll keep annoying them with facts and love for our neighbors, old and new.
More Related Reading: Yesterday’s AAN ran an AP story noting that “refugees from Bosnia, Laos, Myanmar, and Somalia have been part of the economic revitalization of Minneapolis and St. Paul“:
Minnesota Budget Project policy analyst Clark Biegler said refugees are often portrayed as people who don’t work or pay taxes. But reports show they are participating in the economy by becoming business owners and trying to make a new life.
“Sometimes the message that gets sent in the media is that they’re takers, they’re taking too much of services, they’re not paying taxes and not always working, but in fact the opposite is true,” Biegler said [“Report Highlights Refugees’ Economic Impact on Twin Cities,” AP via St. Paul Pioneer Press, 2016.11.03].
MPR News reports, “Among some ethnic groups, refugee men join the labor force at higher rates than U.S.-born men.” Read the report on which these news articles are based here: David Dyssegaard Kallick and Silva Mathema, “Refugee Integration in the United States,” Center for American Progress, June 2016.