Catholic Charities Seeks to Build Community to Work on Key Issues

By Brett Larson, December 29, 2016

Catholic Charities and the Mille Lacs Band sponsored an event in Onamia on Dec. 8 called “Building Communities, Empowering Families in Northern Mille Lacs County.”

Over 60 people attended the program, which kicked off with pizza and a welcome from Doug Scott, who was hired by the Social Concerns Department of Catholic Charities, St. Cloud, to find ways to build community and act together on key local issues.

The rest of the evening was devoted to an entertaining and informative presentation by Jodi Pfarr designed to help those in attendance understand diversity and the “normalization” process that gives certain advantages to members of social groups deemed “the norm”: middle class, white, male, heterosexual, etc.

Pfarr offers trainings around the world to police departments, schools, communities, religious groups and social services agencies.

The event was the first in a series of five designed to give local residents a better understanding of diversity, culture and local issues. The goal is for participants to explore and name community concerns that are of interest to them, followed by development of an action plan for issues they would like to address.

The next meeting of the group is Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rolf Olsen Center in Onamia. The event will feature Roxanne DeLille, who will speak on “Developing a Deeper Understanding of Neighbors.”

The February meeting will feature Louis Johnston of St. John’s University, who will speak about state and regional economic issues.