Sister Cities Annual Meeting – January 2023
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from a video recording. Although the transcription, which was done with software, is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or [software] transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the meeting, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Read along below:
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people so we’ll wait just one moment.
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Hi, come on in sit anywhere. My name is Courtney Michelle and I am the Vice President of Longmont Sister Cities Association. And I would like to welcome you tonight to our annual meeting. Our bylaws dictate that we must have an annual meeting in the month of January. And so we use this opportunity to meet everybody and have some of the ambassadors introduce themselves. So I would like to say Yokoso, bienvenido and inna DOS, welcome in the languages of our sister cities.
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Stick around, there’s some business we have to take care of. And we’re gonna have some trivia at the end. So a little bit of fun. And at the very end, we’re going to have a catered appetizer style food out in the, in the hallway out there, so please stay. And
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on a more somber note, I would like to ask for a moment of silence for Ted Klein. He was the husband of Lee Klein, who is a past president of sister cities. And Ted was a great friend of lsca. So if we would please take a moment to wish him on his way and wish the all the best.
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Okay, thank you very much. I would now like to introduce one of our elders Sue Bolton, we have learned a lot from our new sister city, the Northern Arapaho, that elders are our respected members of our group. And Sue is going to tell us about this the history of Sister Cities and listen because one of the things she’s going to say is in the trivia tonight.
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Okay, I see a couple of other elders in the audience because Connie Ferenc and Janie Finley are also longtime members of Sister Cities board.
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It is it’s a good thing.
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But they also can correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway.
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Sister Cities international got started because President Eisenhower after World War Two felt that if ordinary citizens could get together with ordinary citizens of another country, they could do more to promote world peace than perhaps government leaders. And so that was one of the people to people,
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organizations that came out of, of President Eisenhower’s idea.
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So it started way back in the 1950s. But Longmont didn’t get involved with Sister Cities until about 1990. And at that time,
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we had been through a recession, several of the business and civic leaders in town, wanted to start some kind of an
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friendship with with another country, and have a sister city and so Bill Hosokawa, who was a very prominent
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newspaper man, and author helped
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Mr. Kanemoto and other people from Longmont start a relationship with Chino, Japan.
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formal signing for that one was in 1990, with our mayor.
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Just before you Liana Fred, Fred Wilson, Fred Wilson was the mayor at that time. But then Leona stacker
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was the next mayor. And she realized that we really needed to have a year round organization to
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organize the activities and the homestays and all that kind of thing because the mayor of Chino,
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at that time, wanted to have a student exchange as part of the program. So in 91, he sent a group of students over and Leona’s.
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By the way, Liana stand up just a minute so they’ll know who you are. In case anybody doesn’t know Liana stacker was our mayor at that time.
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Liana realize that it was too much for the stout. The first year the her staff had to hustle around and get homestay arrangements and activities and everything for the students who were coming. And they found families who had teenagers in the family and they they set up the activities and everything but she realized that that was really too much to ask of her staff in addition to all their other duties, and that we needed
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Citizens grouped to it. When Bill Carlson moved back to Longmont, where he had grown up.
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He had experience with Sister Cities in Arizona. And he also wanted to get involved in the community. So he went to Lyon and said, What can I do in the community and she said, take over this sister cities organization, so he was our first president. And after the students came here in 91, then the following summer, the kids from those families got to go in the first first trip over to Japan. And I was one of the chaperones for that excursion, which was very, very educational.
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So for the first few years, it was every other year, we would send them to Japan, and they would come here the following year.
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But after Bill Carlsen took over the organization, the board decided that we really wanted to do an exchange both ways every year. So we started that in 95.
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I believe, might have been 92. Anyway,
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we soon also had people on our board who said, We really need to have another sister city, one that has Spanish speaking people, because we have a large Mexican American population here. And we need to have better relationships
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going in that direction. So
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Dan venovenous, who was he had been a city councilman. He was also a businessman, and did a lot of importing, he set us up with sudo Guzman. And pretty soon we started having
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student exchanges going both ways every year, they would go, we’d send kids to Chino, aid kids to Chino aid kits to Sudan Guzman for a 10 day homestay. And then after that, they would come here for a 10 day homestay with the families. And we had lots of activities at Spring going right up until the pandemic, and that kind of made it difficult to have any kind of exchange. But we’re so happy that now we think we’re going to be able to resume or exchanges and we’re glad to see all of you here to participate in that. Thank you.
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Thank you very much. So I would like to now ask Sam safey to come up. And we will elect the executive board.
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Every year, my job is the shortest portion of this meeting. And but by the way, but I’m very impressed with your attendance. So thank you in this call.
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It shows your support for us. We work throughout the years. So thank you. Thank you for attending.
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Do we have candidates for president? Vice President? Secretary one of the more difficult jobs and the financial advisor or will keep her slash
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slash treasure in many things. Any candidates from the floor? No. Okay. Well, I have names.
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I suggest we elect Janice Robin as president, Courtney Michelle as vice president, Mike Seaton as secretary, and Patricio
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I can’t pronounce the last
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Jana Yanis as the treasurer, all those who are in favor, please show by your right hand.
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More importantly, any opposed by the same side?
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Very well. Thank you.
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Thank you very much.
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And if anyone would be interested in joining our board meetings, becoming on the executive board or anything like that, please start attending our meetings which are the second Thursday of every month in the room just down the hall from here and they’re open to the public and you’re welcome to attend.
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Next we will elect the rest of the board. And I would like to have everyone stand if you would. Sue Bolton.
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say Sam safey
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and Karen Bandy.
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And kale and Karen are new to our board. Thank you very much for helping us out and committing to next year to helping us with the first full exchange, hopefully since the pandemic. Thank you.
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And, Sam, you have one more job. Come back up here for just a little bit. We have a financial Treasurer’s Report. Sam was treasurer for last year. And so get ready, Patrice here next year, you’ll be doing this for us. My job is the easiest part. Right? So we had it. First of all, I have brought all the receipts the checkbook here for you to examine. So it should be open to the public, it is open to the public, please feel free to make me feel good. Okay.
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Okay, so we had a total income of $67,637.
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For that we
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are our total expenses.
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Were 59,608 are equipped with math. So we made $8,000. Last year, basically, after all our expenses on the balance sheet report.
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We have because we haven’t had exchanges. So we have some equity. We have $85,511
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as cash sitting in our bank, that’s the report. The details are written here. You’re welcome to examine them. And thank you.
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Thank you, Sam.
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All right. Now we’re going to give a little review of 2020 to what we were able to accomplish, even with
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very only one exchange. So with Japan, we tried to keep in touch with them a lot. So we did virtual tea parties we had Mark It was a two three,
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I think two or three. So because of the time difference we would have to do they would do early in the morning, and we would do an evening we would all get on zoom with our cup of tea and have a conversation. The very first one we played some games, some drawing games. There are a couple of teachers on that on that call. And so they helped us with those kinds of things. Because there’s a language barrier with Japan of course, and a little bit how do you do zoom and all that kind of thing. So we had a fun time doing that and kept in touch and talked about that we hope we will be able to go this year. So those were those were great fun. For Mexico. It was our 25th anniversary last year. And so that is 25 years of sending kids and receiving kids to and from Mexico. And our sister city there is ciudad Guzman, and it is south of Guadalajara. And so some of you will be heading there this summer.
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And Mayor pack went on that visit that was in August with also some members of the sister city committee. And I heard it was a great time I missed it unfortunately, but it was a blowout bash party. And lots of we’ve got lots of gifts came home with us there was an art piece that is going to be hung somewhere in the library soon. And and they also
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did the official transfer of a brush truck that was gifted to Mexico on the 20th anniversary five years ago. And it just takes a while to get things across the border, you know, so and a lot of, you know paperwork and money and all kinds of stuff like that has to happen to send something over the border. So that was driven down by Janice this spring. And we have a new friend in I believe he’s in Minneapolis who is from Siena Guzman, he’s a fireman in Minneapolis, and he is helping us do these kinds of things and you know work on translation and equipment and stuff like that. So that did that arrived there and they are very thankful for it. It is already in use. And the truck that we gifted them
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15 years ago, is still in use as well. They call it get eat. They’re the little fighter and because Guzman has as far as I know, maybe two fire hydrants. So you know in the US there are codes you have to have a fire hydrant every so often it’s through the fire trucks can reach it to put out a fire. Well that is not the case in Mexico. And so the fire truck that we are a pumper truck that we no longer needed is still in use there.
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and doing good work. And they have stickers all over they have our logo they have the sister cities logo, they’re very proud of it. And then this year City Council also gifted another firetruck, a full size fire truck to the city of Buda Guzman and that is fire truck number H I believe is the name of that. And it was involved in the 2013 floods. And so it has a story it was also before that before long I had it. I think it was at the Indy 500 And so there’s a video somewhere out there with that truck you know putting out a car fire after a wreck on on that on that car race. So we are working now on when that will be going down there. So we were getting we’re getting better at getting trucks across the border to Mexico and getting driven down all the way to Guzman.
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So we hope that will happen sometime this spring.
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We are also we were visited by to Mexican firefighters who came up here to see the truck that we are going to give to them and they did some training with our firefighters as well. And the first time they flew was from Guadalajara to Denver. And then they got a special surprise where the city staff member Marika Unger took them up in her little plane at the airport and it was their second flight ever. And so they got to fly around. They also got to see snow for be in snow for the first time there is some snow visible sometimes from Guzman on the volcano out there. And they made snow angels. So they had a really good time in the snow. One of them said he would love to come back and go skiing and the other one was like
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all right, then we had our first full Arapaho exchange, the first bilateral exchange. So a couple of years ago 2019. Right. We had some of the Arapaho kids come down here for just a few days, but we did not go up there. So this summer was our first time to have the bilateral exchange where we went up there for a week. And then some of their kids came down here for a week. So it was very successful. I think everybody learned something we’ll hear from some of the kids who went on that trip in just a little bit. And the documentary about our relationship with the Northern Arapaho was also released this year by city funded through the Longmont public media. And that was about 45 minutes and I believe there’s a link on our Facebook page. I’m hopefully it’s on our website as well. If you have some time, watch it. It’s really moving. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the llama museum when it was shown and we had a full house watching it. We also had in November a couple of other films because of Native American heritage month. So we had some guests from our friends at the Northern Arapaho come down. So for the documentary, we had a panel discussion after that. And that is also on a separate clip there and we showed true grit, which is about a Northern Arapaho rider and they do what’s that called? It’s
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in like Indian relay races. If you have never been to the Indian relay races, they do a circuit like the rodeo, and they ride bareback. On moving horses. I mean, they jump on these things, grab them by the mane and go up there. Sue Janice and I went in 2021. But there was a documentary done about a female
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writer who is from the Northern Arapaho and her story and that was very moving as well. And then Denver, Seven News, got really interested in our exchange and I’m going to play a clip. It’s about two and a half minutes of a news story that aired back in November about that, Jenny’s in it and Aiden’s in it and one of our Northern Arapaho students as well so let’s cue that up.
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For two sister cities have brought cultures together worldwide as diverse happens Patrick price shows this one Front Range city is focused on repairing a relationship right here at home.
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Culture is rooted in our DNA culture is something that can be connecting it connects us with our past helps us embrace the present and guides us toward the future. I feel like when you actually start to look at people’s differences and embrace them for that, that’s when we’re really getting towards you know, being culturally competent and and really like a path towards equity.
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In 2021, the Northern Arapaho tribe from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming became long one’s third sister city.
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In doing so, it established the first
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sister city relationship between a sovereign tribal nation and a US city. The word that I’ve always used for it, it’s been friendship. The partnership allows eighth through 11th graders from Colorado to visit the Reservation in Wyoming. And for kids from the reservation to make their way down to Colorado. I think this relationship really was an attempt to start trying to correct those mistakes that my people made. That is where Aiden and Morley come into the story. They were all part of the first student exchange within Northern Arapaho this past summer. It’s important because some people that have are like me that have never been around, you know, a different culture. It’s important to not not look at them any differently and be open to learning about them. Aiden is a freshman at Erie High School. He says his teacher encouraged him to join the program. Think about the reservation what is like the first thing that comes to mind he was probably like, oh, they probably not too technical ology advance or something like that. They’re just us. There is literally no difference between me in Aiden says this trip allowed him space to recognize the harm done to Native people for generations. They’re trying to get their culture back after centuries of it trying to be demolished. Marley is part of the Northern Arapaho tribe and lives on the Wind River Reservation. Following the week long trip to Longmont, Marlena teens from the reservation spent a week here in Colorado, we kind of toured through the city of Denver, one of my favorite parts of it was going at these buildings that had graffiti on them. And then we just all walked through there, and it was fun, or is it gonna art, and we’re all blinding really well, we all made friends very easily two weeks of cultural immersion reveal lessons these students will remember for a lifetime, even though we spent two weeks together, we made a family out of it is part of our past that we did kind of get stripped of all of our culture and language. But
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as me now, I’m wanting to not take it out on everybody, just by looking at their skin color, I wouldn’t want to take it out on them and has created a partnership aimed at bringing cultures together for years to come. Patrick Perez, Denver seven.
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Don’t know who turned them off, let’s say someone turned it back on, please. Thank you very much.
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They started going off. I was like, That’s a great idea. But
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okay, let me see. Do I need to?
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There we go. Okay, we’re back on. So that was pretty cool. We made Denver news. I mean, wow. And, you know, at our inaugural at our, at the September in 2001 was our,
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the time that we came together. And
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and the President of International sister cities came and talked to that. So
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when we first proposed this to Sister Cities International, they discouraged just a little from doing this. And we said, you know, we’re gonna do it anyway. And we did it. So a lot of people tried, it had not succeeded. And we did. So there are probably many reasons for that. Timing might be one of them. But we’re making it happen. And our only goal is to be friends, just like Jenny said, and that, you know, a lot of people have ideas about what this could be. And we’re just out to make new friends. All right. So some of the other things we did last year, we attended a couple of festivals. We were at the first Longmont Juneteenth festival, we had a great booth there and handed out stickers and magnets and, you know, got a lot of attention and tried to get some people interested in our program to know about it. So we also went to rhythm on the river in July down at Rogers Grove. And that was a lot of fun and producer was actually one of the MCs for some of the music there and we had a good time. Then we attended unity in the community, which is a city and Chamber of Commerce joint Festival, and had a booth there and also at Dia de los Muertos. So we hope to do more this year. And if you would like to help us you don’t have to join the board to help us out. We love our friends of lsca. And so we have a lot of Former Members, we have a lot of people who can’t commit to that monthly meeting and those subcommittees that we all have to do a lot of work for, and if you can’t and you just want to help us out some of those festivals are a great way to do that because we need people to you know, staff that and have people at the table walking around sending people to our table and you know to the people who know about all the details of our program
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and get the word out. All right. So 2023 We’re looking forward to an exchange. And so one thing there. The group we work with at the Northern Arapaho is called for seven, seven, and that is their youth organization group. And they have just texted us today asking about a blanket drive. So we still have not organized the details of that at all. If anyone is interested in helping us make that happen, gathering blankets for some of the students and families of our friends up there at the Wind River Reservation, please speak to me afterwards. I think it might also be a great project for some of the ambassadors. But I haven’t talked to any of the chaperones about that. So
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that’s just a just a bee in your bonnet to let’s let’s do some good out there. All right. For several years, we have been working on an art in public places. Project and Nicole has been helping a lot with that. And that is finally coming to fruition this year. So we have there has been a chosen piece of art. It’s going to be a gazebo like thing, and it’s going to be up at McIntosh Lake Flanders park on the north side.
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