Editorial: Rapid City mayor must push to improve race relations

The following is the opinion of the Native Sun News Editorial Board. All content © Native Sun News.

Incoming Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. Photo from Facebook

Congratulations to our new Mayor Steve Allender
By Native Sun News Editorial Board

Well, the race is over and Rapid City now has a new mayor.

It was a mentally healthy election because for the first time in any mayoral election in recent memory the issue of race relations in the city came to the forefront.

Native Sun News brought the issue to light in articles about the relationship between retired Rapid City Police Officer Glen Yellow Robe and mayoral candidate Steve Allender. And in a way it was a refreshing approach to politics in this city because race and discrimination is the giant elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. Getting it out in the open was a long time a-coming.

Everyone must have a chance to grow and change and Allender had the candor to admit that at one time he did and said things that were racially inappropriate, but he concluded this openness to the fact that in those day what he said was wrong and that he had grown with the times and believes in his heart that he has changed.

Now that race has been put on the table it will continue to be an issue that will no longer be swept under the rug.

Rapid City has the chance to be one of the great cities in America and as the city continues to grow it will take sound and open leadership to ensure that all of its citizens are treated equally.

If there is one thing that all of the citizens of Rapid City and especially the media need to know it is this: There is and has been for a long time a racial barrier in this city and the issue of race would never have been put on the table for discussion and analysis if an Indian newspaper did not provide the forum for it to happen.

None of the other media considered race a factor, but since most of the crew at Native Sun News is Native American and had lived through the dark web of racial discrimination and know its consequences first hand, it took their basic knowledge to express their opinions on a topic that is too often ignored. Having a strong Indian media in South Dakota has brought about changes in attitudes amongst many white citizens of this state and has encouraged efforts to change at the highest levels of government: Year of Reconciliation and Native American Day all happened because of a powerful Indian media.

Now that Steve Allender has been elected as our new mayor we believe that since he had to face the reality of racial prejudice during his campaign that it will be forever embedded in his mind and we pray that he will pick up where Mayor Sam Kooiker left off and continue to push for better race relations and we also encourage him to make it happen by appointing Native Americans to key positions within the city government.

Allender fought a hard and courageous campaign and now he deserves the support of the Indian community. We congratulate him on his victory and we want him to know that this newspaper will do whatever he asks of us to make Rapid City a place we can all appreciate and live in with pride.

(The Editorial Board of Native Sun News can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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