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Proclamation signing in city hall Thursday sends message

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Mayor Kabat, former Mayor Medinger and public all signed document

A joint proclamation signed in La Crosse city hall Thursday certainly sends a message. 

The document, which originates with the city’s Human Rights Commission, essentially apologizes for the acts of discrimination in the city in the past and pledges better action in the future. 

“It’s extremely important for the city,” Shaundel Spivey, a member of the commission, said. “Sometimes we have to make sure that we acknowledge where we’ve been. An apology for a tumultuous past is important because we have to be able to and be willing to acknowledge the things that have happened here and the things that are going on now.” 

The joint proclamation was signed by Mayor Tim Kabat and former Mayor John Medinger. Kabat has also invited the entire community to sign the proclamation as it hangs in city hall over the holidays. 

Medinger said it’s a very positive message that acknowledges the city’s discriminatory actions of the past and pledges better behavior in the future.

“I think this sends a signal far and wide that La Crosse is a wonderful, warm, welcoming city,” Medinger said.

Medinger also does not think the move will be without controversy.

“I think we know that there are people who probably don’t think this is a very good idea,” Medinger said. “I think we just came through an election where a lot of minorities felt left out or ridiculed and are feeling very concerned about the future.”

The proclamation comes after months of work by the city’s Human Rights Commission which has acknowledged that La Crosse has been a so-called Sundown Town in the past – or where people of color shouldn’t be caught after sundown.

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