Home » How To » & # 039; We really need to get rid of Minnesota Nice and start having honest conversations & # 039;: The 2019 Facing Race Awards recognize anti

& # 039; We really need to get rid of Minnesota Nice and start having honest conversations & # 039;: The 2019 Facing Race Awards recognize anti

On a day when headlines across Europe sounded, “Taylor Swift: white supremacy is repulsive. There is nothing worse, ”a group of anti-racist activists from Minnesota, organizers, corporate sponsors, donors, church goers and politicians gathered to celebrate three women doing incredible social justice work for a better day. It was a sparse but energetic crowd that met Thursday night in a ballroom at the InterContinetnal Hotel Saint Paul Riverfront for the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundations Race Awards, which have recognized racism activists in Minnesota since 2007.

"One love, one heart, let's get together and feel good," a trio of calypso trilled in the ballroom, and Bob Marley's "One Love" created the atmosphere of feeling good at night, with leaders offering words of hope and encouragement for everyone fighting the good fight and challenging the system, and doing the work of change.

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

The themes of the program were "Change the narrative" and "Recover the power of our stories", which the president and CEO of Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations, Eric Jolly, extended in his welcome comments.


"Today was a great day," said Jolly. “The governor of Minnesota signed today the bill that establishes the Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Minnesota. Our elected officials have ensured that our women are told their stories, and we will not allow their lives to be forgotten. We will change the course of history with what we started today, and that is the beginning of the narrative change, and that is what this meeting is about, and these are the women we celebrate. "

This year's honorees were Reverend Gloria Roach Thomas, a retired pastor and nonprofit worker who works with Fiscally Fit, a program that works to eliminate economic disparities, and Tuleah Palmer, executive director of the Center for Commercial Development Native Americans of the Northwest, which provides transitional housing and commercial space for American Indian artists and works to curb homelessness in Bemidji.

The opening speech was Ruth Buffalo, who became the first Native American woman to serve in the North Dakota legislature when she was elected in 2018, and who gained national attention for beating Randy Boehning, the headline who sponsored the law of North Dakota voter identification that made it difficult for Native Americans to vote. Buffalo thanked his "sister," Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, who became the second Native American woman to be elected to a state executive position in the history of the United States, and promised that they are the first of many more native representatives. in come.

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Ruth Buffalo delivered the opening speech of the 2019 Facing Race Awards: “When I was deciding whether to run or not, I remember thinking: & # 39; What will it take for things to change for my children and for future generations? & # 39; Frankly, a couple of weeks before applying for a position, a classmate from the graduate school and I were organizing a peaceful demonstration to counter an "artist" whose act included negative stereotypes toward Native Americans, and that is to say gently. We did not want our children to face the same situations as we did when we were their age. And just as I recovered my family's Buffalo name, we are recovering the names of our stolen sisters; the missing and murdered indigenous women whose disappearances we always carry with us. "
Ruth Buffalo

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MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Ruth Buffalo

"I am the first Native American female democrat elected to the state legislature in North Dakota," Buffalo told MinnPost before the awards ceremony. "I feel very honored to be in the presence of great creators of changes in the community; It is a great honor to be here to see these incredible women receive these awards. You can (practice anti-racism) taking courage and knowing your neighbor, something so Simple as that is how to advance work in anti-racism.

“In the 2018 elections, when I knocked on the door, I met many people with a good heart. An older (white) woman who was in the last stages of her life had a very deep conversation with me that really took me by surprise. She said blank: "How can we correct the mistakes of the past we have made to the Native Americans? I want to correct the mistakes of the past. & # 39; She was not going to vote in the elections, but we knocked on the door and I He invited me to sit at his kitchen table, and decided that he wanted to vote for me. "

Rev. Gloria Roach Thomas

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Rev. Gloria Roach Thomas

Reverend Gloria Roach Thomas, pastor and activist, received the East Facing Race Metro Award: "I am humble. I feel that I have been called to do this job. When you see inequalities, when you see disparities, it is just something very deep in my spirit and in my bones that I have to do this work Part of this is always having hope, seeing the light and wishing for hope in your life We are all looking for hope, and sometimes it is very difficult to have hope when you see what is happening in our world. That has been a challenge for me, but I can always gather the enthusiasm and motivation to be hopeful and do the work that I believe I have been called to do to make this world a better place.


“(When practicing anti-racism), the first thing is that we cannot leave it. We can't get out of that. What we really have to do is see it. We have to open our eyes and know it's there. Many times we want to put our heads in the sand. We cannot do that, because it is in all systems, in the fabric of our society. We all need to be part of this, and I always say: "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

Tuleah Palmer

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Tuleah Palmer

Tuleah Palmer, director of the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji, received the Statewide Facing Race Award: “Our job is to mobilize the community and create access and change paths for people. Thanks to this award, they have asked me a lot what keeps me going and what drives me, and I think you do it because it is in your blood, and you love what you do. It is stressful, it is difficult, but not addressing it is more difficult: sit and watch it continue and not be part of the change that must happen.

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“I think that, in terms of imprisonment and the pipeline towards the problems of the prison in our community, you love so many people who have been attacked and pushed into that pipeline; They didn't make those decisions, they've prepared since childhood to be jailed, and as you get older you tend to see those patterns more and more.

“In small ways, every interaction we have in life is about addressing anti-racism. When we see it, we have to call it, we have to act according to a level of equal to equal and with a human spirit, that we know that there is a "We" in this and that it is not right. I believe that we must be really involved in what is happening in terms of public policies in our lives, the institutions that touch our lives and ensure that public policies benefit the community as a whole, not just parts of the community. We really need to get rid of "Minnesota Nice" and start having honest conversations about what is happening and agree to disagree until we discover best practices. "

Mayor Melvin Carter

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

The mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter, addressed the attendees of the 2019 Facing Race Awards: “Before I was telling a group of people about the Rondo community in which I grew up, the community that was uprooted to build an I -94, the community that was once a thriving African-American community that saw more than one hundred million dollars in today's dollars stripped of our community. To build that highway.


“And I was telling them that I don't think that happened because there was a smoke-filled room full of people trying to discover a hundred million dollars of wealth from my community, I think what happened most likely is that someone wanted a highway in somewhere, and he said, & # 39; maybe here & # 39 ;, and a community with agency and power came forward and said: & # 39; No, we live here. Not to us & # 39 ;. They found their way to a community as they have done before, whose agency and power have been intentionally stripped, systematically stripped, legally stripped, economically stripped, politically stripped, and there was no one in the room to speak for themselves. .

“That fact is in my head every day as mayor. And what he tells me is this: even as St. Paul's first mayor of color, and I agree with you, Representative Buffalo, there is certainly more to come; I always tell people that I will not be the last. The exclusive decision-making process is a new way forward. The exclusive decision-making process is about our status quo; The exclusive decision-making process is how we get into this mess in the first place, and if we are going to chart a new path forward, it means giving other people the microphone, it means empowering others, it means attracting more and more people in the process ".

Source: https://www.minnpost.com/community-sketchbook/2019/09/we-really-need-to-get-rid-of-minnesota-nice-and-start-having-honest-conversations-2019-facing-race-awards-recognize-anti-racism-activists-and-leaders/

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