Monday, December 29, 2014

Path to Power Candidate & Campaign Training

Make a resolution to join Bill Emory and the Minnesota AFL-CIO for the Path to Power Candidate & Campaign Training in the new year. The two-day training is primarily designed for people who might consider running for office someday, but would also be very valuable to anyone interested in taking part in an issue campaign or supporting a candidate for office. See details below to register and to invite others to participate in this free training!

Path to Power Candidate & Campaign Training

Path to Power Candidate & Campaign Training

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM - 

Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 5:00 PM (CST)

Saint Paul, MN

Ticket Information

Candidate & Campaign Training RegistrationJan 24, 2015Free 

Event Details

Join the Minnesota AFL-CIO for a weekend of training on how to run for office and be an effective advocate for working people once elected. We’ll work on developing a message, how to build a campaign team, learn how to raise money, how to knock on doors and target voters, and learn about issues facing the labor movement and working people today.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

[News to Use] 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows Announced

The second round of Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows was announced earlier this week, bringing four new high-potential individuals from underrepresented communities into the field of philanthropy. Fellows will be placed at one of three area foundations for the next three years. Learn more about the selected Fellows and their placements in the press release below!
2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows Announced 
Today MCF announced the 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows. The Fellowship, launched as a partnership with the Bush Foundation in 2013, prepares high-potential individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. 
Fellows are employed by MCF and placed at participating foundations for three years. This year’s Fellows will join the Bush Foundation, the Headwaters Foundation for Justice or The Minneapolis Foundation, where they will start on January 12, 2015. 
“For foundations to remain credible partners, their staff must reflect the shifting diversity of communities,” says Alfonso Wenker, MCF’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “These leaders bring strong community relationships that will help position their host sites for the future.” 
Meet the 2015 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellows:
  • Allison Johnson (pictured, middle) is a community organizer with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, where she has worked across the Twin Cities to build support for affordable housing and stronger communities. She will join the Headwaters Foundation for Justice.
  • Aya Johnson (right) is currently a community representative in the United States Congress focusing on immigration, foreign affairs, unemployment and outreach to communities of color. She has also served as a domestic violence advocate in St. Cloud and Blaine. She will join the Community Innovation team at the Bush Foundation.
  • Adrian Mack (left) is presently the program and curriculum director of STATURE, a leadership program designed to guide Minneapolis youth toward academic and career success. He also participates in several initiatives to engage the broader African American community. He will join the Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation team.
  • Patrice Relerford (second from right) is now the institutional support coordinator and grantwriter at People Serving People, a family-oriented shelter that provides emergency housing and community services to help homeless families achieve stability and reconnect with the community. She began her career as an education reporter at the Star Tribune and will join the Community Impact team at The Minneapolis Foundation.
  • Avi Viswanathan (second from left) has served as the campaign director for HIRE Minnesota, a campaign working to achieve racial equity in employment. He lives with his family on the East Side of St. Paul where he is engaged in many community activities and has served on the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council. He will join the Leadership Programs team at the Bush Foundation.
“I’ve seen firsthand how poverty and inequality erode communities,” says Fellow Patrice Relerford. “Through this fellowship, I believe I can better understand disparities by asking the tough questions to find solutions. For example, why does our region continue to have such glaring academic achievement, employment and home ownership gaps between whites and people of color?” 
About the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship
The Fellowship is dedicated to the late Ron McKinley, a longtime member of the philanthropic and nonprofit communities who embodied justice and equity and worked tirelessly throughout his career to ensure that those from underrepresented communities were afforded equal access, opportunity and the resources necessary to fully participate and be heard. 
Applications for the 2016 Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship will be open in fall 2015. Learn more at or contact Alfonso Wenker, MCF’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, with any questions. 
Photo credit: Anna Min, Min Enterprises

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Supporting Transgender Youth: Community Connections Panel

Join Saint Paul Public Schools for an upcoming gender inclusion workshop on, open to individuals outside of the school district. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of a panel of local experts whose work is centered on supporting transgender and gender variant people. Topics will include child development and legal rights, and speak to multiple racial and cultural influences on gender diversity. See below for more details and to register.

Supporting Transgender Youth: Community Connections Panel
November 19th, 2014
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
360 S Colborne St.
St Paul, MN 55102

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from and ask question of a panel of experts in the community whose work is centered on supporting transgender and gender variant people. Topics will include child development, legal rights, and community resources. Multiple racial and cultural influences on gender diversity will be shared.

Panelist Information

Roxanne Anderson
Community Organizer
Associate Director for Trans Organizing at OutFront MN
Director of The Exchange
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Ryan Dean, Ph.D., L.P.
Licensed Psychologist
Private Practice
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Jill Gaulding, J.D.
Civil Rights Lawyer
Co-Founder and Legal Director of Gender Justice
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

St. Paul Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all students have a safe, non-discriminatory school environment that will support their academic achievement and prepare them for college and careers.

Please register on PDExpress. Course title: Out for Equity/MLR (S): Gender Inclusion, Perspectives from Community Experts Panel and Discussion. Non-SPPS employees may register by emailing

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Microaggressions Mini Film Festival Videos + Takeaways

On October 30, LOCUS hosted our Microaggressions Mini Film Festival at the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. Chelles' Kitchen provided delicious chili and cornbread for dinner and we made sure ample popcorn was available during the show!

We screened over a dozen short videos during the event, beginning with the following New York Times-produced piece that helps define and explain microaggressions.

After viewing a set of videos reflecting a wide array of diversities and related microaggressions, we facilitated a lively large group conversation discussing reactions to and questions arising from the pieces. Attendees expressed that the videos helped expand their conceptions of microaggressions, giving them additional clarifying language as well as shedding light on the multitude of possible "unintended discriminations."

Reflecting on the question of key learnings and takeaways from the evening's viewing and conversation, participants co-constructed this list of 6 important insights:

  1. Microaggressions matter because they're the minor manifestations of systemic racism and policies that advantage the dominant culture.
  2. "I" statements are key to effective education.
  3. (Personal) safety first. Know the environment, and then choose your battle. 
  4. It's your choice to speak up or not. The burden of your people is not on you. Do right by you.
  5. As people of color (POC), we should be aware of our own microaggressions against other POCs. Stand up for other POCs, in the community and with your own family and friends.
  6. Microaggressions are not only race-based, but are religious, gendered, ability-focused, etc.
Thanks again to those who came out to share in a tasty meal, clever videos, and meaningful dialogue!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Board Basics Training with MAP for Nonprofits

MAP for Nonprofits is generously partnering with Board Repair to host a Board Basics Training, targeted toward those new to serving on nonprofit boards and those who want a refresher. See below for more details and to register for the free event!

Organized by and for people of color, Board Repair's mission is to create a more effective non-profit sector by increasing participation of people of color on boards. Informally structured and based on a group mentorship model, Board Repair is volunteer-managed and not affiliated with any organizations. We simply ask that participants self-identify as people of color, that they be willing to share and to listen, that they maintain confidentiality, and that they be up for a bit of laughter and fun too. 

If you'd like to learn more about the basics of serving on a non-profit board (or want a refresher!), please join us for this training.

Board Basics Training
October 29, 5:45-9p
5:45 for dinner, 6:15 sharp training begins. 

Carty Heights community room
412 Dunlap St N, Saint Paul
Carty Heights is a block away from the Green Line Lexington Station, and there is also ample street parking.
Meal provided through support from The McKnight Foundation.

MAP for Non-Profits is providing this to us for free (usually $45/person), so I hope lots of us can take advantage of this opportunity to get the big picture basics. Please register once you know you can come so that we can figure out how much more outreach to do.

Registration required:

Feel free to forward this invitation to other people of color. Thanks!

- Jun-Li & Board Repair
Soon to come: website & a listserv!

Board Repair is co-led by: Lisa Brimmer, Amelia Brown, Antonio Cardona, Marisa Carr, Christina Chang, Valerie Deus, Venessa Fuentes, Lori Greene, Daniel Le, Tou SaiKo Lee, Bekka Merrill, Anne Jin Soo Preston, Carissa Samaniego, Nicole Smith, Erik Takeshita, Jun-Li Wang. We welcome additional co-coordinators - just drop Jun-Li a line if you're interested! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[News to Use] We must put women in the political pipeline

Thanks to Liz Johnson and Nevada Littlewolf for this important commentary and the encouragement to join #InvitationNation. Read on for more insight into and an invitation to VoteRunLead!

We must put women in the political pipeline

  • Updated: October 13, 2014 - 6:02 PM
Cities and counties are a place to start — particularly in Greater Minnesota.

Minnesota boasts that it is in the forefront of women’s leadership, but one need only look at county boards to find evidence that the state still has a long way to go.
Only one in seven Minnesota county commissioners is a woman, and more than half of the state’s county boards have no female representatives at all. We need all of the best minds at the table to address issues facing Greater Minnesota — and we are missing the voices of women and women of color.
Every all-male county board is located in Greater Minnesota, and while other elective bodies have disparities, none is as glaring. According to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, 72 percent of the state’s city council members are men, with one in four city councils having no women at all. Only five percent of city council seats are held by women of color.
We want to share ideas for how to advance women leaders regardless of the status of women on your county commission. First, we want you to start inviting great women you know to take leadership. There’s even a fun and easy way to do it through the nonpartisan organization VoteRunLead, whose #InvitationNation campaign asks men and women nationwide to nominate three women to run for office. Whether it’s a soil and water conservation board, an electric co-op board, a county commission or the state Senate, you can participate with a few simple clicks from a phone or a desktop.
Together, we can expand the positive trend of women’s leadership from our cities to the borders of our state. We can encourage and reach women online like never before and get them connected to real resources. With organizations like the Rural and American Indian Leadership Project (RAIL) in Virginia, Minn., we can connect women to great support systems in all corners of the state.
Women like Lorrie Janatopoulos, from the Iron Range, have taken the challenge. Janatopoulos, a founding member of RAIL, ran for a county board seat in 2010. Although she didn’t win, she says that running for office was one of the best things she has done in her life, adding, “I realized that I shouldn’t be asking ‘Why me?’ — I should be asking “Why not me?’ ” She is now using her experience and her wallet to sponsor women from northeastern Minnesota to attend the national Go Run gathering in Minneapolis in November.
We need you to pinpoint the talented women in your lives and encourage them to run. Keep in mind that research shows that women want to be invited to run for office and that when a current officeholder taps them, the invitation packs a real punch. Amy Klobuchar, are you listening? Mark Dayton, are you listening?
Together we can fill the pipeline to political leadership with the names of women we know want to make a change in their communities. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask three women you know to run for office — and make sure two of them are from Greater Minnesota. Tell them about resources like VoteRunLead, where women can acquire skills and inspiration that support their work from now until the day they take office.
We want to see one woman from every Minnesota county at Go Run. The gathering is happening in your own back yard Nov. 21-23. Visit to learn more.
Liz Johnson is director of operations and community at VoteRunLead. Nevada Littlewolf runs the Rural and American Indian Leadership Project and is a City Council member in Virginia, Minn.

Friday, October 3, 2014

LOCUS Microaggressions Mini Film Festival

LOCUS Microaggressions Mini Film Festival
Thursday, October 30, 2014
6:00pm - 8:30pm
The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation

LOCUS "Keeping Current" Happy Hour

"Everyday slight, putdown, indignity, or invalidation unintentionally directed toward a marginalized group." So-defined microaggressions have been the subject of recent and prolific media attention, countless internet memes, and even locally documented by students at a Minnesota college.
To explore the myriad microaggressions that diverse communities encounter on a regular basis, LOCUS invites you to a Microaggressions Mini Film Festival. We'll connect with each other over a light meal, watch YouTube videos (and welcome your nominations to[at], and discuss the impact of microaggressions and our personal and collective efforts to navigate and combat them. Join us!

*This event is organized for and by people of color as a supportive and courageous space.


LOCUS hopes to serve as a meeting ground for people from diverse backgrounds to engage with one another and to examine our common needs and our common opportunities. Through the pursuit of stronger connection and purpose, we aim to create a community that welcomes and supports all. Join us at

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

You're invited to CAAL PowerTalk: Leadership for a Global Economy (Oct 27, 2014)

The Coalition of Asian American Leaders invites you to the next in their series of PowerTalks, entitled "Leadership for a Global Economy." Event details follow, along with an invitation for their Asian American Leaders Forum, slated for Saturday, November 15!

You are invited to the following event:
Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Monday, October 27, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM (CDT)
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
301 19th Ave S
Room 108
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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Share this event:
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JOIN US for the final CAAL PowerTalk of 2014! Our world is changing; we are globally connected and increasingly interdependent. What does this mean for leaders? What assets can Asian American leaders build upon to lead in this global economy? At this final CAAL PowerTalk, we will hear from two Asian American leaders: Sarena Lin, President, Cargill Feed & Nutrition and Sri Zaheer, Dean of the...

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

Also, mark your calendar and JOIN US on November 15, 2014 from 8AM - 1PM for the Asian American Leaders Forum to connect, learn, and shape priorities together. Register at

We hope you can make it!

Coalition of Asian American Leaders

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Learn About Becoming a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow


Learn About Becoming a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow

MCF’s Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship, which we opened applications for earlier this month, will prepare individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. But the fellowship is about more than changing the face of leadership in philanthropy; it’s about infusing new ideas and viewpoints into the field.

Are you interested in applying to be a Ron McKinley Philanthropy fellow? Do you have questions about the application process?
Join Alfonso Wenker, MCF director of diversity, equity and inclusion, for a short informational webinar about the process and the program on Thursday, August 7, at 3 p.m. Alfonso will provide a high-level overview of the program and take questions from participants.

And for a look at what the 2014 Philanthropy Fellows are up to, don’t miss MCF’s new issue of Giving Forum, online and in your mailbox now.We caught up with Venessa Fuentes and Dameun Strange and asked them about their responsibilities and how they’re helping effect positive community change. Read about their experiences, then join our webinar to see what the fellowship would mean for you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[Job Posting] TRIO UB College Access Advisor & Residential Coordinator

The TRIO Upward Bound program at the University of Minnesota is seeking a College Access Advisory & Residential Program Coordinator. See below for more details about the position and to apply.

The Student Services unit at the College of Education and Human Development is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for a College Access Advisor & Residential Coordinator to assist in the execution of our long-standing federal grant program -- TRIO Upward Bound (TRIO UB).

TRIO Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for low-income and educationally disadvantaged high school students. TRIO UB works with students, parents, schools and communities, on a long-term and intensive basis to help generate both individual and systemic change. Services are designed to help participants build the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education. TRIO UB currently serves 118 low-income and first-generation students from Minneapolis Public High Schools annually and continuously serving Minneapolis youth since 1966.

This position is responsible for academic advising and student caseload management to achieve student development in all facets including academic, personal, social, and cultural.  Includes program operation including developing, implementing and managing program initiatives, projects and events. Also includes serving as an instructor in post-secondary education, the Residential Coordinator, and the school and community liaison. This position contributes to the professional growth of students through programs, courses, and events. 

​To learn more about and/or apply to the TRIO UB College Access Advisor & Residential Coordinator position, click on the link above or go to and search Requisition #192485. 

Minerva S. Muñoz, M.P.P.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

C/P Warp and Weft: "What did you just call me?"

My besty's (Sara) cousin (Lydia) recently wrote an insightful post on her Warp and Weft blog, entitled "What did you just call me?" on identity and the critical importance of self-identification. Picking up on themes from our "Affirming Authenticity: Identity-Driven Leadership" series, Lydia stresses the need for each of us to create and define our own identities and to likewise respect and honor those of others. Read on for more after the jump!

What did you just call me?

Dedicated to my cousin Sara for tirelessly contesting my identities (in some
great ways) and supplying me with many terrible pictures of myself.
Me, my cousin Sara and some little cousins in Taiwan engaging in our favorite past time (eating ice cream sandwiches). 
Me, my cousin Sara and some little cousins in Taiwan engaging in our favorite
past time (eating ice cream sandwiches). 
Over the years my answers to the question “What’s your ethnicity?” have varied a lot.
To give you a sense of the full range, I went from “My mom is Chinese and my dad is 
normal” to “My mom is Chinese and my dad is white” to  “My mom is from Taiwan. 
My dad is from Pennsylvania.” My answer still varies these days. I used to think that
all this variation in the way I explain my identity was a result of identity confusion on
my part. But I’ve come around to the idea that it is actually a pretty normal and
widespread phenomenon to have different ways of making your identity depending
on who you’re talking with, how you think they will understand the terms you are using
and what you want to emphasize about yourself.

A lot of anthropologists and some sociolinguistics have started saying that identity 
isn’t a thing that you just have. Instead an identity is something that you actually
create, for yourself or for someone else – and one of the ways you create those
identities is through language, by the terms you use. Take for example “My mom 
is from Taiwan. vs. My mom is Chinese.” In choosing one over the other I am
making a statement that Taiwan is distinct enough from China to merit a separate
designation and I am also claiming that I am the kind of person to whom this
distinction between Taiwan and China is important. But this claim on my part is
only meaningful because there is a history of contesting whether or not these are
two separate entities or whether one subsumes the other.

But really, there are no “neutral” or “matter of fact” terms to identify people. 
There are just more or less contested terms. This is what we are missing in 
conversations about “political correctness”. I came across an email this week
detailing Internal Guidelines for Policy writing in a U.S. based non-profit. The
line that stood out to me was found under the guidelines for using Hispanic vs.

“Respect personal preferences whenever possible. For example,
Justice Sotamayor uses ‘Latina’ to describe herself, and we should
respect that”.

 It’s presented in the way politically correct language is usually presented. You 
should use this word because people want you to, or because other people 
use it. Without any explanation of why it really matters.

Here’s why it really matters. If the terms that we use for ourselves create identities 
for us, then the terms that we use for other people create identities for them. 
If we are creating identities for people that are in opposition to the identities 
they are creating for themselves we are engaging them in a battle for their identity. 
It isn’t always wrong to challenge someone on their identity – but you should know 
what you’re getting yourself into and evaluate whether or not you are the right 
person to do the challenging (who the right person is - that's another issue that 
is really contested). 

One last note. The meanings of these identity terms are not unchanging. Words 
get their meanings from their histories, so as history shifts the connotations
these words have also shifts. According to this article by Pew Research Center
(and this post by NPR’s Code Switch blog), the difference between “Latin@”
and “Hispanic” may be less salient now than it was previously. On the other hand,
the recent tensions between Taiwan and China over a Trade Pact agreement
(see here for details) is likely to make Taiwanese identity and the term
"Taiwanese" more contested and more salient to those on both sides of the issue.

I’m curious about you guys. What are the words you use to describe yourself? 
Are there some terms that you care more about and others that you are more 
ambivalent about? Who would you allow/not allow to challenge you on the 
terms you use to describe yourself?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Facing Race June 2014 - Funding Opportunities

See below for the Facing Race June 2014 e-newsletter, featuring new equity funding opportunities and a blog post from Minnesota Philanthropy Partners racial equity manager, Rowzat Shipchandler.

New Equity Funding Opportunities Available

Minnesota Philanthropy Partners affiliates currently have multiple grant opportunities for culturally specific and equity-related projects and programs. Please visit the web page of each fund or project to learn more.
  •  Asian Pacific Endowment is currently seeking proposals for projects and/or programs that use culture---broadly defined to include values, language, traditions, customs and other unique aspects of a community---to address social issues and give voice to the experiences of the diverse Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community within the state of Minnesota.   
  • El Fondo de Nuestra Comunidad is currently seeking proposals for projects, initiatives, or programs which influence immigration policies affecting the Latino community in Minnesota.
  • MSPWin is now seeking partnerships within the seven-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul region to systematically align job training with opportunities that lead adults, especially people of color, to jobs and pathways toward family-sustaining wages.
  • Pan African Community Endowment is currently seeking proposals for projects and/or programs focused on reducing racial disparities in Minnesota in four strategic areas: 1) Health; 2) Housing; 3) Justice; and 4) Education. 
  • The Two Feathers Endowment is proud to partner with the Tiwahe Foundation on 2014 grantmaking. Please visit Tiwahe's Website for more information on grantmaking guidelines and deadlines.  

Racism is a Hydra - The Monster is in Us

Rowzat Shipchandler
A hydra is one of my most often-used racism metaphors. In previous Facing Race e-newsletter articles, Racism is a Hydra and One of the Hydra's Heads - Subtle Discrimination, I used the hydra--- a multi-headed monster from mythology--- to describe the monster of racism. While some manifestations of racism are visible, others, like some of the heads of the hydra, lurk in less obvious but still dangerous places.   

One of these less visible but insidious manifestations of racism is revealed through research compiled by the
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The research shows that our brains--- without conscious prompting--- react differently to different races. The conclusion is scary: the monster of racism is inside of us.  Read more

Rowzat Shipchandler is the racial equity manager at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. This is the third in a series of posts by Rowzat exploring the metaphor of racism as a multi-headed monster or  hydra.

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