One man stands up against racism in Rapid City - KOTA Territory News

One man stands up against racism in Rapid City

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A bench in Canyon Lake Park was marked with the "N" word. The slur has since been erased, but it hasn't been erased from the mind of Rapid City resident Stewart Huntington.

"I said I wanted to do something about this. Maybe some of it was the personal nature of this incident. That it was clearly aimed at an individual, at a member of our community," Huntington said.

He said he's taking a stand against racism and is using Facebook in hopes of energizing the community.

"We've circulated a petition. We got the governor to sign it. We've got it up on Facebook. Right now, over 350 people have signed the petition,” Huntington said.

Brian Vulcan, chairman of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce said it's important to join the effort and get the conversation about racism in Rapid City started.

“I’ve contacted our board members and overwhelmingly we want to get on board with this,” Vulcan said.

Jack Lynass, CEO of Black Hills Community Bank agrees.

"I think it’s a good time to come together and talk, to talk about racism,” Lynass said. “It’s out there, we know it. But we don’t have to stand for it. Maybe through education, talking about it openly, we can make a difference."

Huntington acknowledges that racism still exists in Rapid City. He hopes the action of one will influence many others.

"The more we can steer the conversation in a positive direction and not stand by when words are used in a hateful way, I think that changes the culture and moves us further ahead in a positive way,” Huntington said.

"If you're black, white, Native American, we're in this together. There's no reason why we can't have a wonderful city,” said Jonathon Simpson, who lives near the park.

Huntington is organizing a "Take a Stand Against Racism" picnic on Saturday, May 31st at 12 p.m. at the bench in Canyon Lake Park.

The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. The public is invited to attend.

For more information about the picnic, click here.

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