By Emily Stonehouse
We see them all day every day. They can be big, small, fleeting, or significant.
Words can make a difference. Last week, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a presentation from the genealogy society.
The presenting speaker this month was none other than Jack Brezina, who highlighted the history of the Minden Times from it’s early conception to present day.
Brezina was the owner, publisher, editor, and writer for the Minden Times for over 22 years. He’s seen the community through its highs and lows; and I’m not just talking about the Gull River water levels over the decades.
He shared about one particular instance where there was a white supremacy rally scheduled for the Minden Fairgrounds in 1989. He wasn’t seeing eye to eye with the rally organizers. He needed to find a way to fight back. To stand his ground. To represent the people of the community.
So he used words.
And not many words. Only one in particular: yes.
Three simple letters, which he printed in a bold red font, and added on page six of the Minden Times on June 6, 1989. At the bottom of the page, in fine print, it added “As a citizen of Canada and a member of this community, I believe in equality of all individuals regardless of race, colour creed, or ethnic origin.”
Yes. We believe in that. In those words.
The red letters strewn through the windows of Minden were enough to run the supremacists out of town. It made national news. The pen is mightier than the sword.
This past week, a single headline changed the lives of all Minden residents.
“Minden ER closing June 1”
The reasoning was that of staffing, not of funding.
Now to clarify, I am not comparing this announcement to the revulsion that was the white supremacy rally of ‘89. There were a slew of reasons behind this closure. And maybe, just maybe, the closure is justified. Maybe, just maybe, it will contribute to the betterment of our community. Time will tell.
Whether you think the closure is for better or for worse, the point of the story is that those words mattered. Those words resonated. Those words impacted an entire community. Five words.
What you say with your voice is significant. The way you share your perspective is valid. The weight that you carry with your words is what makes the world spin; in any and all directions.
You have the power to make change with your words. This is why I do not take my role as editor lightly. The content we share, the way we choose to share it, and the tone in which it is shared, is significant.
While managing committees, boards, and politicians are the spine of any community, the newspaper is the heart. We will always share our story, which will exclusively be by the people, for the people.
If you want to make change, if you want to see change, if you want to be the change, then I encourage you to share your words with your community. We will be running any and all letters to the editor, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your voice matters.
Your thoughts matter.
Your words matter.