The Red Wing City Council and Human Rights Committee joint workshop came to an abrupt close on Thursday, June 24, when community members interrupted the meeting.
In October Chaz Neal submitted a resolution for the city to declare racism a health crisis. In November the Human Rights Commission formed a committee to delve into the issue. The committee comprises HRC members of RedHeart RedHeart, Beth Breeden, Michael Holmes and Kayla Haft. The workshop’s staff report explained, Neal “participated on the committee as an advisory member from the public.”
During the June 24 workshop, the council and HRC were going to discuss the proposed resolution. Due to city protocol, the workshop did not include a time for public comment; that is left to regular meetings.
When Neal was not allowed to speak he stood up and declared that he would voice his thoughts about the resolution, the eight months he has worked with commissioners on the resolution, and the HRC generally.
Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann told the Republican Eagle this morning: “last night the City Council and HRC had a joint workshop with two agenda items. ... The HRC had provided a draft resolution for the CIty Council to discuss. Several individuals who attended the meeting wished to make a public comment. The chair of the meeting, Council President Norton, told them that they would be able to make a public comment on the matter at either an upcoming Human Rights Commission meeting or a City Council meeting. The meeting was adjourned when the attendees who wished to speak would not stop speaking. I am uncertain as to when the issue will be taken up again.”
Police were called to the meeting, but no arrests were made.
Neal shared a portion of the meeting and his reactions to the meeting’s end on Facebook Live. He stated in the live broadcast, “City Council, Monday night, same thing going to happen, same thing if we do not address the human right violations from some of our Human Right members.”
He said he took his proposed resolution from a similar one in Minneapolis. The HRC set his aside, he said, because they wanted something like Minneapolis has.
Neal said during the stream, “This is chess not checkers, and I played them.”