Rally held in Waupaca
Speakers advocate racial equality
By Robert Cloud
Kiki Monea. one of the organizers of Sunday’s rally in Waupaca, reminded people that she is a Waupaca native.
“I’m from Waupaca, I grew up here and I went to a small private school here,” Monea said. “I’m hoping that the people out there that are not on our side learn that there are more similarities than differences.”
Monea noted there are black people living in Waupaca, and said, “We have voices, we matter and we’re ready to be heard.”
The rally was held at Rotary Riverview Park on Aug. 9.
Another Waupaca native, John Laedtke, gave a shoutout to the local police, noting he grew up with Officer Wes Zube and that he was a good family friend.
“Our community members in law enforcement work tirelessly to ensure a state of harmony,” Laedtke said.
Laedtke said Waupaca is a welcoming community that plays host to thousands of visitors.
“Are we as welcoming to those who come from a different walk of life than us even if they have lived here just as long as you have?” Laedtke asked, adding that “Waupaca is not a single racially homogenous city like many may think.”
He suggested that the community examine its own racial and economic equalities.
“This is a test of our community character,” Laedtke said. “We should not fail to reach out in understanding when the moment calls for us as a community to recognize the real suffering of other groups within our democracy, especially minority groups who have had to struggle to obtain civil rights denied to them time and time again.”
Laedtke said silence perpetrates the problems of racism.
“We have allowed some of our neighbors to normalize racist behavior, while others have normalized carrying weapons as an act of protest and for that we should all accept responsibility,” he said.
Organizers, city officials and police met with rally organizers last week to discuss the event.
Following the rally, the city of Waupaca issued the following statement:
“The event was held in Rotary Riverview Park from approximately 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Towards the end of the event a number of attendees marched down Main Street and returned to the park after about 45 minutes. The Waupaca Police Department was able to control traffic to assist in ensuring the safety of everyone during the march and throughout the duration of the event.”