Join Roy Magnuson, legendary teacher and coach, in supporting Bob Fletcher for Sheriff
Bob Fletcher’s Service to Immigrant Communities Reinforces Commitment to Children and Families
By Roy Magnuson
Bob Fletcher has been a person who has good ideas, and then has followed through on them. In the early 1990s as Ramsey County Sheriff, Bob saw that the newly arrived Hmong American community was working to make a new start in Saint Paul and Ramsey County, but that the challenge facing them was daunting. Knowing that community engagement is step one in any outreach and prevention program, Sheriff Bob Fletcher founded the reading program.
More than an after school tutoring program
It became athletics, for boys and for girls. It became camping. It became family involvement. Parents and grandparents were also sought out. Ways to navigate the new community were shared. The outreach became an opportunity for people of good will from Ramsey County who wanted to be of service, to find a niche and in the process, to make a difference, for the new Americans, and as an unintended consequence, for themselves.
I know this because many of the kids and families that Sheriff Fletcher was working with were a part of my world as a teacher, coach, and community activist. And now, twenty-plus years later, those same kids are entrepreneurs, college grads, law enforcement officers, public employees, parents, teachers, and more. They and their families are citizens, home owners, and one more chapter in the American Dream.
Bob Fletcher has engaged in the same way with the Somali American community
Bob has good intentions and tremendous follow-through. His actions did more than just influence dozens of kids and their families. His actions brought together long standing Ramsey County residents with their new neighbors and were one contributing factor in helping the Hmong American community find its way from being Hmong in America, part of an unasked for diaspora, to becoming Hmong Americans. Hmong Americans whose willingness to embrace education (with help from the Ramsey County Sheriff and others), to maintain strong family connections, to seek out home ownership – paying full market value for homes in first Saint Paul and then Ramsey County, to start businesses – filling in empty storefronts, to repopulating our schools; all of this benefited all of us. Not just the Hmong American community, but all of us.
And arguably, one of the most significant players as an elected official or as a private citizen, is Bob Fletcher.
This lifelong Saint Paulite, long time educator, and coach was and is impressed. The good will sowed by Bob Fletcher is the best form of prevention. Prevention that reduced the need for intervention. Prevention that is producing a next generation of community activists. Activists that have produced that most American of results – a more inter-connected, more integrated community.
Thank you, Bob Fletcher. You have made a difference.
A big difference.
Roy Magnuson is a lifelong Saint Paul resident, teacher, coach, Saint Paul STRONG Board Member, and DFL and labor activist.