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I'm writing in response to the story "Drum group barred from graduation rite" that appeared in the Star Tribune on May 16. Boy, did the Hinckley-Finlayson school board ever pull the rug out from under a tribal drum group from performing at this year's high school graduation ceremony. According to the article, this drum group took part in last year's ceremony. Apparently the decision not to let them perform was made partly on advice of legal counsel. Huh? Legal counsel?

According to the article, one-quarter of the districts students are Native American with 20 set to graduate. I'm dumbfounded the Hinckley-Finlayson school board is s-o-o-o small-minded. Graduating from high school is a big deal for kids and their parents. I know, I have four children. The graduation moment comes and goes, but it is what we remember about it that's important. I think the entire graduating class will remember a small-minded school board disparaging a joy-filled event.

High school graduation is a clear milestone in a young adult's life as they are honored for their accomplishment. I can see where tribal drums could very easily be included as part of the graduation celebration and of honoring the Native graduates and Native students. Heck, I can even imagine those drums honoring and respecting the entire graduating class' accomplishments. Singling out the Native students by offering them drums in the Fine Arts Center following the formal, officially recognized graduation ceremony is even worse. It is insulting. To me, this graduation ceremony is the perfect place to overtly honor all the graduating students and formally recognize student accomplishments, especially the Native students.

Bob Doyle, Savage


We say we want more workers ...

I couldn't agree more with the frustrated May 16 letter writer who complained about the high cost of child care ("Can help come next year?" Readers Write). The letter writer then went on to advocate for universal children's day care programs from birth to pre-K. This is an idea long overdue, since our population growth in Minnesota is not keeping up with economic realities. "We need more workers" is the claim from both business and government, yet, if more couples are choosing not to have children because of financial constraints, then government needs to step up!

Economists insist, however, that inviting more people (those with resources and those without resources) into our state will bolster our tax base. I flat-out disagree when those who are here cannot afford child care! Middle-class couples all over the state think twice about having children because of the formidable and escalating costs.

Our state has a high proportion of dual-income couples. They are tired of navigating their finances and so-called "free time" to keep it all together. Hardworking, stressed-out couples would prefer to work smart! It's time for our legislators to do the same and consider universal child care!

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover


I just finished reading "Can help come next year?" I went back and read it again.

I have always been a moderate, unregistered voter.

It seems the letter writer is asking for government help in raising her kids. Most adults want to make decisions about their lives, and that includes having and raising their children. We each are in charge of the choices we make.

She has decided, by the choices she has made in the past and the choices she wants to make now, to ... have someone else pay for part of their care.

Why should someone else pay?

Elaine M. Zimmer, Brooklyn Park


Pass this law; diversify the field

Being a Black birthing person in Minnesota can be an isolating experience. An experience that often leaves you feeling uncertain of the care you will receive, wondering if you will be treated with dignity and if your concerns will be taken seriously. I know this personally as a mom of three, and professionally as a certified nurse midwife. Statistics from the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Committee and data on morbidity show us that Black women have a disproportionately high mortality and morbidity rate in Minnesota.

Research shows that health care providers of color improve the health outcomes for people of color. As a Black midwife, I give my patients compassionate relationship-centered care in a unique and personalized way. However, there are only so many patients I can see at a time, and fewer than 5% of midwives in Minnesota identify as Black ("Pass new pathway to become a midwife," editorial, May 16).

While our work is rewarding, being "the only one" makes being a Black midwife lonely and overwhelming at times. I co-founded a network of midwives who identify as Indigenous and people of color. Together we build community, joy and support for ourselves. We mentor student midwives, lift each other up and ensure that we can each continue to give our patients expert care with the assurance that they are heard and celebrated.

Minnesota has the opportunity to offer patients more midwives of color and to offer aspiring midwives the opportunity to achieve a career as a midwife. The Legislature must act now to license certified midwives.

Dominique L. Jones, Minneapolis


Stop the inane chanting

I write to address a serious societal issue — one that has been front and center in the hearts and minds of those who have been watching on television the amazing run of the Timberwolves during the playoffs. Someone must call it out: the silly, consistent and sophomoric practice of those who shell out serious bucks to attend the games and shout "DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE," each time the other team has the ball.

OK, granted, this is a first-world problem and certainly does not rise to the significance of famine in Ethiopia, the ongoing suffering of innocent Palestinians in Gaza or the devastation of Putin's war in Ukraine. But this issue is one that is within our grasp to resolve.

What, pray tell, is the purpose of this loud and annoying and constant chant? Do the fans at Target Center think their team is unaware that the other team has the ball? Do they want us, the TV audience, to be aware of what phase of the game we are watching? Maybe they are just victims of the throbbing drumbeat at Target Center, which encourages them to act like children and imitate the Republican Convention-goers in 2016 when their chosen chant was "LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP." Makes one wonder if a variation of that chant will reappear this summer at the Republican convention.

Enough said! Your chant is childish! Stop it!

Karl Cambronne, Golden Valley