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Letters: Fighting international poverty, in defense of wake boats, and Give to the Max day

Our weekly roundup of letters from MinnPost readers.

U.S. can make a difference in global poverty

About 9.2%, or 689 million people, live in extreme poverty in the world, according to the World Bank. In a world becoming increasingly polarized, the underrepresented are increasingly being forgotten. COVID-19 drove an additional 97 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, according to World Bank estimates. There is still so much we don’t know concerning its impact on global poverty in 2021.

It is imperative that we take action to fight global poverty and prevent it from increasing, while we still can. The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing global poverty and making it a priority of U.S. national foreign policy. Their mission focuses on four key components: Advocate, Mobilize, Educate, and Issue Message.

I urge you to take 30 seconds to reach out to your local Congressional leaders to let them know you support funding for The International Affairs Budget, which is the part of the US budget dedicated to supporting American diplomacy and development initiatives. This budget makes up merely 1% of the U.S. foreign budget, but impacts all aspects of life in America. Visit The Borgen Project action center to take action and voice your opinions.

—Harshita Somani, Plymouth

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Education — not regulation — for wake boaters

I’ve seen first-hand the impact wake surfing has on families, particularly with veterans with disabilities. Centurion Boats and River Valley Power & Sport teamed up to create the Heroes Tour, which teaches veterans and their families how to wake surf. I had the privilege of taking a family this summer. The father lost his leg during complications from injuries he endured from deployment. When he got up on the surfboard for the first time, only a year after his surgery, his family was in tears.

Like any sport, wake surfing is done safely when the driver follows proven best practices. River Valley understands the importance of protecting our shorelines and proactively educates boaters. This includes staying far enough from the shorelines and being respectful of others on the waterway, just like any boat should.

Studies have demonstrated that a wake surf boat can safely operate 200 feet from shore without damaging shorelines. Educating, not regulating, drivers to operate within these already established guidelines will ensure the safety of our shorelines. The boating community has long advocated for increased education efforts, ultimately strengthening the effects of existing regulations. Just recently, I participated in a well-attended Wake Responsibly event on Lake Minnetonka that educated boaters on safe and courteous waterway behavior.

It is important to protect our state’s natural resources, while also preserving boating’s economic and societal benefits. Recreational boating has a $3 billion economic impact and supports more than 10,000 Minnesotan jobs. Educating our lakeside communities presents the opportunity to implement effective, science-based solutions that allow outdoor recreation to thrive, in an environmentally friendly manner that respects everyone’s right to enjoy the lake. We can achieve this through a commitment to education and partnerships rather than restrictive regulations.

—Jeremy Wahlberg, Minneapolis

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Give to the Max

Minnesotans are some of the most generous people in the nation. We donate to organizations that build stronger communities and, when disaster strikes, we rally. Last year, we repeatedly saw the giving nature of Minnesotans as communities responded to the pandemic, and to systemic racism evidenced by events like the murder of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis. In fact, 2020 was a record-setting year for Give to the Max Day (GTMD) donations.

This year’s GTMD on November 18 provides an opportunity to activate your values by financially supporting an organization in an area important to you. Visit GIveMN.org to select the causes you care about and send the critical support needed to help organizations remain resilient in serving our communities!

The past two years have been filled with relentless challenges and just as it takes time to rebuild after a natural disaster, systemic challenges — including racism, effects of the pandemic, homelessness and hunger — cannot be resolved overnight. Ongoing support is crucial to ensure our communities remain vibrant and strong. And this year, we will provide that support again on GTMD.

Thousands of organizations throughout our state are working to provide solutions to our most complex community challenges, and they need our support more than ever. In March of 2021, 30% of Minnesota’s nonprofits reported they had less than six months before they exhibit financial distress. Fast forward more than six months, and the time to act is now!

Even if you’re not directly impacted by the challenges our communities are experiencing, you can have a long-term impact on your community. Find an organization that supports your values and get involved: learn about the mission, volunteer and donate. You have the power to act on your values to keep our communities strong and resilient.

—Jake Blumberg, Executive Director, GiveMN, Minneapolis

MinnPost welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Interested in joining the conversation? Submit your letter to the editor. The choice of letters for publication is at the discretion of MinnPost editors; they will not be able to respond to individual inquiries about letters.