The leader of Hillsboro’s largest church congregation and administrators in the Hillsboro School District are working to promote diversity and acceptance in the community.

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Pastor Joe Johnson said that his congregation has made racial justice and fighting racism focal points of discussion the past year. But a racially charged video that circulated in Hillsboro and made headlines statewide a week ago indicates the community has strides to make to achieve equality, he said.

“I’ve fielded countless phone calls and text messages the past week and had parents and community leaders stopping into my office,” Johnson said.

“Every single one of those people indicated they want to be advocates. They want to help. They want to raise up equality, goodness, compassion and promote healing in our community.”

Media outlets across North Dakota, including the Banner, published stories or aired TV and radio reports focusing on a video of a Hillsboro teen holding a gun and saying he was hunting Black people, although he used a racial slur in the clip.

Hillsboro High School Terry Baesler said school officials approached 21 minority students in grades 7-12 at the school late last week to discuss the situation, although the video was not mentioned specifically.

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