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Local Pastor Says Refugees Have Not Wrecked Willmar

After an hour and a half of rehashed bigotry, conspiracy theories, and whoppers, and after ejecting from the public meeting a local who said, “We are a country of immigrants,” anti-refugee propagandist Ron Branstner turned the mic over to Willmar, Minnesota, city council candidate Bob Enos to gripe about how awful immigrants have made life in Willmar.

Funny—local Lutheran pastor Marcia Sylvester comes from Willmar. She doesn’t think immigrants have ruined her hometown:

She said that yes, a large number of Hispanic and Somali workers have moved to the Willmar area in the last 20 or 30 years, but the community isn’t unsafe.

“When I go home I am not afraid,” Sylvester said, adding that the downtown has a new cultural feel [Katherine Grandstrand, “New Americans Task Force Discusses Resettlement Changes,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.09.22].

The press was unable to directly document Enos and Branstner’s lies and bigotry, since the cowards brought along several men in black security t-shirts to prevent any photography or videography. The goon squad turned away the local paper’s photographer.

No “security” was present at the honest, local New Americans Task Force meeting facilitated by Pastor Sylvester earlier Thursday, a vivid symbol of how, unlike Branstner, Enos, and their followers, some Aberdonians do not live in fear.


  1. happy camper 2016-09-23 10:26

    When an honest discussion is lacking extremists fill the void.

  2. jerry 2016-09-23 10:31

    Why does the bozohead come here to South Dakota to whine about issues in Wilmar, Minnesota?,_Minnesota It is clear that the city of Wilmar welcomed these immigrants with open arms as they had jobs for them to perform. The city of Wilmar was smart enough to understand what economic development actually is and how it contributes to the taxes and to the future of their city. There can be only one reason that haters like this come to our state and that is because they are not welcome with their hate in their own town. The haters went to Aberdeen, not to Huron because they see Aberdeen as a place of acceptance. I think that it is long past time for Aberdeen to give them the boot and show them the door.

  3. grudznick 2016-09-23 12:52

    Aberdeen should give a ride to these fellows out of town on a rail. Aberdeen was once known in the 1960s as a town intolerant of some people’s views and used to do that but I suppose it’s not politically correct today.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-09-23 16:57

    The New Americans Task Force facilitated by Pastor Marcia Sylvester is having honest discussions. There is no void.

  5. Traci 2016-09-24 07:49

    My son is an assistant manager at the Walmart in Willmar. Because he just started recently his family is still here in Aberdeen, until they find a place for them all. He is currently renting a very inexpensive studio apartment in an area that rents to a lot Somalis, I believe downtown. He said that not once has he felt nervous, even walking at night, and he’s also seen families and older people out at night. Branstner and his cronies are trying their best, but their fear mongering is not based in reality.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-09-25 10:05

    Traci, it’s good to hear your son is having a positive experience in Willmar. Any chance he’d like to be a guest speaker at a meeting at the Eagles?

  7. Traci 2016-09-25 12:09

    I don’t know, Cory, I will ask him. Will you please PM me the details?

  8. Jeanne Kling 2016-10-26 08:12

    This reminds me of Calvary Lutheran Church at one time. A group of people were taking umbrage with Pastor Dean Elton Johnson because he said some kind (and fair) words regarding the rights of gay people. The conversation was filled with hate and went on for some time. But things came to a better end when a number of elderly women stepped forward to ask WWJD. “How will we welcome a gay person who comes to worship?” With soft voices and clear thinking, these ladies won the argument.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-26 08:36

    “Soft voices and clear thinking”—we could use more good church ladies.

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