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Tue, Oct 09


Rivers Edge Convention Center

13th Annual Event: Conversation on Race

What Does Racial Justice Look Like

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13th Annual Event: Conversation on Race
13th Annual Event: Conversation on Race

Time & Location

Oct 09, 2018, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Rivers Edge Convention Center, 10 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301, USA

About the Event


  • Date: October 9th, 2018
  • Time: 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Location:   Rivers Edge Convention Center 10 4th Ave. S. St. Cloud, MN 56301
  • Interpreters available: Spanish, Somali and ASL
  • Dinner will be provided with a vegetarian option.
  • Cost: Free, registration required


This year, we’ll have as our special guests, Blackout Improv, who will provide a new way and lens to unpack race and what racial justice looks like. Blackout Improv is a performance with a mix of comedy, social justice, and arts access. They seek to put Black performers on more stages, to create comedic dialogue around serious truths, and to provide improv access for Black students. Blackout is changing the face of comedy stages in Minnesota. Attendees of the show will also have an opportunity to be a part of two circle-conversations on various salient topics. Please visit the registration page for detailed information on the circle topics.

This year’s Conversation will be held from 5:00-8:30p.m. to make it possible for more people to attend after their work day.

New to this discussion?

Designed for anyone who has participated in a COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ON RACE. Through this life-giving process we collectively identify and move beyond the ways we’ve been racially socialized into roles of presumed superiority and inferiority, and create and celebrate antiracist, rehumanizing ways of being together in community.

For more information, contact


Presentations 1. Heidi Hovis

Topic: What Does Racial Justice in the Schools Look Like?

Kids can’t learn if they aren’t in class. Data from the Minnesota Department of Education showed that children of color received a higher percentage of school discipline (suspensions) when engaged in non-violent activities as compared to their white peers. The data from St. Cloud District 742 showed that our area had one of the highest disparities in the state. While the District is working with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to address those disparities, what does it mean that those disparities occurred? How does race continue to effect the classroom?

2. Kateri Mancini and Sudi

What does racial justice look like for Muslim Women:

From social media feeds to professional research, anti-Muslim incidents can clearly be seen as present in our community.  But being a woman can add another level of bias to already negative sentiments.  Facilitated by two young adult Somali-Muslim women, this circle will explore first-hand experiences of racial, cultural and religious bias, and ways it can be a barrier for girls and young women in our community.  Participants will be invited to share their own experiences of bias – regardless of their race, culture or religion – as well as their questions and their dreams for our community.

3. Kurt Otto

Racial justice in healthcare – equity versus equality

Minnesota is a recognized as a national leader in the provision of healthcare and when measuring outcomes, our hospitals rank highly against our peers.  However, Minnesota, central Minnesota and CentraCare continue to demonstrate disparities in healthcare provided to people of color.  In fact, despite Minnesota’s high overall ranking, we rank poorly for disparities in care.  While the reasons behind this are multifaceted there are interventions underway within CentraCare to cause these outcomes to improve.  The improvement comes from three key areas: 1) the ability to measure current performance stratified by race (or other defining measure); 2) the willingness to act; and 3) an understanding as to how health equity is different, and preferable to health equality.  Health equity means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier or the ability to attain the highest level of health for all people. Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment.  This conversation circle will explore the concepts identified above and challenge the participants to think differently about health equity improvement.

4. Kelly Branam Macauley

What does racial justice look like in my neighborhood?

We are bombarded by cultural symbols every day. What symbols, or sign posts in a neighborhood make us feel welcome? Are their signs for us that symbolize not being welcome? As neighborhoods how do we combat symbols that we believe to be symbols of hate? How does this intersect with our understandings of being welcome, free speech, and safety? How are neighbors talking about these issues, and coming together in dialogue with each other, with police officers, and those that are using their right to free speech that then make other residents feel unsafe? Recognizing that concerns over safety have been used throughout American history to exclude persons of color from neighborhoods, how do we have conversations about safety that do not include simply excluding those using hateful symbols or speech? In this circle discussion, neighbors are invited to share symbols that they feel to be welcoming and unwelcoming. We will brainstorm ways to support each other and discuss how we can model conversations about meaning and safety.

5. Michelle Kiley

Circle Leader Title: Visualizing a Connected Community on Race

Description: During this session, participates will spend time engaging in both individual and small group activities, designed to help strengthen their perspective on race and visualize a common network rooted in community.

6. Brandyn Woodard

What does racial justice look like when you’re the only one?

This circle conversation will focus on identifying some of the dynamics present when you’re “the only one” in a setting.  We’ll be exploring what this looks like in the classroom, in the workplace, and in the community, what things you could take into consideration when deciding when, how, and if to speak up… and what to say.  The underlying premise of this circle will be that you desire to be in community with those around you, even when (or especially when!) it’s particularly challenging.  We’ll also discuss some strategies for having difficulty conversations and operating with civility as a foundation for these conversations and interactions.

7. Lisa Plzak

What does racial justice look like in parenting?

Research has shown that children not only recognize race from a very young age, but also develop racial biases by ages three to five. How can parents teach their children of all ages to resist bias & the racial socialization of our society, notice injustices happening to people based on their race, and be empowered to stand up for racial justice? In this circle discussion parents are invited to share their successes and challenges of raising race conscious children. We will discuss how we can model and teach our children to develop healthy racial identities and how we can support the healthy racial identity development of all children in our community.

8. Yolanda Denson Bryers is an African American, middle-class, wife to a wife, mother, Christian, pastor, hospice chaplain, middle-aged woman.

Kira Rose is an European American, middle-class, bi-sexual, unconventional high school junior

Intersection of Race and Sexuality (Telling our stories) We each have our own unique stories to tell. “Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people and open us up to the claims of others.” -Peter Forbes   Participants are invited to share their own stories. What brings you to this circle?

9. Kelsi Watters

Title: The Eyes of Our Hearts: In the circle entitled "The Eyes of Our Hearts," facilitator Kelsi Watters will reflect on her perspective on racism and discrimination as a person without physical sight. Watters will briefly share her personal testimony regarding the painful but grace-filled journey of self-discovery and how her eyes were opened to white privilege, racial injustice, and the beauty of harmony in diversity, both in her own experience and in the world today. From there, the conversation will delve into the following questions: What are some populations you previously thought were free from racial prejudice? How does racial prejudice show up in your life subtly? What skills do you need to learn or what must you reflect on to be able to see prejudice more noticeably or to be better adept at seeing the implicit biases we all have?

10. Sarah Drake: What does racial justice look like to youth?

Youth! Do you have ideas to better our community but feel like your voice isn’t heard? Do you have things to say about your experience with race but you’re not sure how to vocalize your thoughts? In this circle, specifically for youth, we will engage in racial justice and building relationships through art. How can you use art to express your feelings or create change? Bring your creativity as we explore our community while creating together. Paper collage, poetry, drawing and other tools provided. If you wish, you can attend this circle twice and build on what you created in the first circle.

11. Sarah Lovan

According to Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy, a research study just released by Helicon Collaborative, 2 percent of all national cultural institutions receive nearly 60 percent of all contributed revenue. These institutions—symphonies, opera companies, regional theaters, art museums, ballet companies and other organizations—are 925 of the largest arts institutions with audiences that are predominantly white and upper income. Similarly, as reported in the study, 23 Twin Cities arts organizations with budgets over $5 million received 77 percent of all contributions and earned revenue while 345 arts organizations with budgets under $1 million received approximately 9 percent of all contributions and earned revenue. We know that ultimately, to advance racial and cultural equity, we must remove barriers and increase understanding in our giving practices and change the distribution of resources. Changing this system will require new ideas and actions from all of us. Want to change what’s going on? Let’s do it.

12. Mayuli Bales: The Multiplied Impact of Dialogue

What are the best practices to transfer the understandings from dialogue to others? colleagues, family members and community members? How to build the skills of the participants in a dialogue, training and analyzing situations, help us to enter a process of understanding conflicts enrich a quality dialogue? Who gain in a dialogue?  Projects succeeded most often, and transferred their benefits to the wider communities, when these “capacity building” efforts were combined with action or advocacy. The most effective performance dialogues are base in four strong recommendations, do you know it? Come to have an effective dialogue in this circle!

13. Niloufer Merchant and Martin Guo: Racial Justice in Mental Health Services

This conversation circle will focus on a variety of issues related to mental health services and racial justice, such as stigma, access and availability of services, language and cultural barriers, support systems for individuals, families and communities, and overt and covert experiences of racism in the mental health arena. Participants will get a chance to share their own experiences, as well as their observations, concerns, and recommendations.

14. Mayor Dave Kleis: City of St. Cloud: Community Engagement

Join the Mayor of St. Cloud, Dave Kleis, as he discusses the importance of working collaboratively within the city. He will explore and define the process, and outcome of community engagement, and how the community can be connected and involved in Public Service. It will be an opportunity for community members to ask questions, have a meaningful conversation, and learn about the pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement.

15. Kevin LaNave:  What happens when working on issues of "racial” justice" and "economic justice" intersect?

Imagine what our community would be like if there were enough living-wage jobs, enough affordable housing, health care, child care, and transportation, for everyone?

That vision and direction grounds and guides this conversation.

So while 12.4% of those of us living in our area who are white, and 39.4% of those of us who are Hispanic/Latino, and 49.2% of us who are Native American or Alaska Native, and 54.3% of us who are black or African American, are (according to the Community Pillars event on 2/1/17) living below the federal poverty level -- and while 20% of all of us who are children living here are trying to survive at or below that level -- and while significant numbers of us (children and adults) are in households with incomes falling within the gap between "official poverty" and incomes considered "living-wage" -- this vision and direction are within our reach . . . if and when those of us marginalized by poverty have opportunities to play central/leadership roles in the process, with the rest of us as allies and companions.

This conversation explores this vision and direction, and how it can enrich the lives of all of us who live here.

16. Lorraine Griffin Johnson and Rachel Anyu: Privilege: Oppression and Social Injustice

Wealth Gap:

The gap between black and white income has ballooned exponentially from what it was in the 1930s and 40s, when white wealth was three and four times black wealth. Today it is reported to be an incredible multiple of 13 times, according to, based on the latest Pew Research data.

But, it is actually even worse when calculated correctly!

Separate but Still Unequal:

Social and economic disadvantage—not only poverty, but also a host of associated conditions—depresses student performance. Concentrating students with these disadvantages in racially and economically homogeneous schools depresses it even further. These are the policymakers who determine the fate of those children struggling outside of the bubble of white privilege.

Race: Your Key to the Ideal Job:

“One of the problems is that we continue to have a tale of two economies,” says Imara Jones, an economist and writer. “[The improvement] is mostly true for people who are white, have good educations, and are tied to those sectors that are flourishing in the global economy. And then we have the economy of everyone else that has been left out and left behind.”

17. Jeffrey J. Oxton and Pastor James Albert

Community and the Police – The St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement:

A significant measure regarding the health of a community is the relationship between the local police department and the community it serves.  One key element is the creation of clear paths of communication regarding police-community issues including such topics as race and fair and impartial policing.  Through processes that create these paths of communication, relationships are developed, and a better understanding of expectations, roles, and current practices are achieved.   In 2004 St. Cloud community members and organizations began a process that included a series of meetings with police representatives regarding police-community issues.  Over the course of a year and approximately 13 meetings the group developed a police-community agreement highlighting the topics that were discussed and the ideas that were generated.  All parties decided to sign the agreement in an effort to recognize the work that was done while confirming the ongoing commitment to the future.

In December of 2016 community members, community organizations, and the police department reconvened to examine the past agreement and renew the commitment, the relationships, and ensure that the topics within the agreement were reflective of the topics confronting our community today.  The process entailed 19 meetings over a 14-month time period, and once again led to a community signing of the “St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement” that took place on February 22nd 2018.

Today’s discussion will include a history and background of the “St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement” inclusive of all of the subject matter within.  An interactive discussion about the processes and issues will take place encouraging further community input into the agreement.

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