Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BCLI Issue Series: Intersectionality on November 12

Nexus’ BCLI Program is partnering with Minnesota Rising’s LOCUS group to further the conversation of intersectionality in social justice work. LOCUS is an initiative of Minnesota Rising. Learn more about Minnesota Rising HERE
Our lives are complex, and even more so, our identities. In the important work of social justice, we work towards to unpacking some of the systematic and psychological ways in which racist and unfair power structures apply oppression across all forms of our identities.
What is your experience? You are the expert of your own story. Come prepared to engage in discussion and share ideas on combating all forms of power structures that exist in institutions and in our daily lives which seek to hold us back due to the intersection of our identities. What are the issues? What are the strategies moving forward in the greater struggle for racial and social justice? How can we help our communities and organizations get there?
Presenters and Co-Facilitators for the Evening:
  • Diane Tran, Founder, MN Rising and Kristell Caballero Saucedo

BCLI Issue Series: Intersectionality
Thursday, November 12, 2015
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Northeast Bank Community Room
77 Broadway St. NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 View Map
5:30-6:00         Food & Networking
6:00                 Program Begins
Important logistical information:
There is free parking in the adjacent bank parking lot and street parking.
Northeast Bank Community Room (enter through door on Marshall)

Intersectionality with Intentionality

Monday, November 9, 2015

LOCUS “Keeping Current” Happy Hour III Recap

For LOCUS “Keeping Current” Happy Hour III we met on October 21st at Green Spoon Cafe with the purpose of discussing three topics (activist strategies and white culture, tone policing, and elitism in social movements) brought up by three articles elected as pre-reads for the event: 
We began the discussion by sharing personal experiences in activist spaces. The variety of experiences and perspectives of activism in the group directed us to a terminology discussion about the meaning of activism (noun) and what it means to be an activist (adjective)? After some time we arrived at consensus that there is a specific image that comes in mind when we heard the word activist--from personality, to work, and physical appearance--that can exclude the volunteer commitments in our multicultural communities, or the continuous discussions we have with others when witnessing discrimination. The discussion also explored the challenges of ageism and socioeconomic privilege in activism. Some of us acknowledged times when we ourselves fell under the concept of “elitism” and excluded others from discussions because they didn’t posses the same knowledge that we did. 

We continued the discussion with tone policing and intertwined it with activism critics and white culture and privilege. We talked about how many times when people of color (women of color in the case of the articles) call out racism, the discussion always becomes about how it was called out and not about what was said. Then, hyper-sensitive, angry, emotional, over-exaggerative labels are placed on the people of color who called out racism and discrimination. Further, the group shared their experiences, like workplaces, where whites were a majority in the space. Besides discussing our experiences code switching, we also talked about how white culture has been normalized as the “professional” culture, where talking about or calling out racism is a taboo and even considered unprofessional. Some of the attendees shared anecdotes in which they felt uncomfortable calling out prejudiced remarks or situations in which people of color were called “asocial” and were held accountable for building relationships in which the efforts would be one-sided (the person of color forced to understand the white middle-class experience but not the other way around). 

We concluded the event with re-sharing each other’s name and taking the opportunity to do more one-on-one networking.

Event participants dining at Green Spoon Cafe

Monday, October 12, 2015

LOCUS "Keeping Current" Happy Hour III on 10/22

Wednesday, October 22, 2015
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Green Spoon Cafe
Register online!

*This event is organized for and by people of color (and non-POC with other marginalized identities) as a supportive and courageous space.
LOCUS invites you to a casual autumn Keeping Current" Happy Hour III! Taking a few pages (and no more than that!) from the book club model, our prompts for light conversation include a recommended reading list of articles and videos covering recent and current events related to equity and inclusion. 
Join us at Green Spoon Cafe on Wednesday,October 21 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm to enjoy drinks and appetizers, discuss the Recommended Reading List and other related questions, and to connect with great local leaders of color!
Keeping Current III Happy Hour Reading List:
*Event attendees are responsible for the cost of their meals and beverages.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

LOCUS "Keeping Current" Happy Hour II on 6/22

LOCUS "Keeping Current" Happy Hour II

*This event is organized for and by people of color (and non-POC with other marginalized identities) as a supportive and courageous space.
On the heels of "Putting Into Words What I Live" and "Intersectionality with Intentionality" workshops focused on microaggressions, code-switching, and navigating multiple intersecting identities, LOCUS invites you to a casual summertime "Keeping Current" Happy Hour II! Taking a few pages (and no more than that!) from the book club model, our prompts for light conversation include a recommended reading list of articles and videos covering recent and current events related to equity and inclusion. 
Join us on the patio (or indoors in the case of inclement weather) at Afro Deli Coffee Minneapolis on Monday, June 22, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm to enjoy drinks and appetizers, discuss the Recommended Reading List and other related questions, and to connect with great local leaders of color! Register online at Eventbrite.
Keeping Current II Happy Hour Reading List:

*Event attendees are responsible for the cost of their meals and beverages.

Friday, May 29, 2015

“Intersectionality with Intentionality” Recap

On May 19th, LOCUS held an event on code-switching called "Intersectionality with Intentionality." We started the event with delicious food from Chelle’s Kitchen and the ice breaker “Who are you?” allowing people to get to know each other and reflect on ways they identify themselves. After the icebreaker, Diane and Rashanda started their presentation by screening Key and Peele’s “Phone Call” video which prompted much laughter among the participants. In response, an attendee noted that in their experience, people tend to switch their tones and attitudes when they are around people we personally identify with. On the same topic, another attendee noted that this may occur because we project what we think we're supposed to be behaving like.

Afterwards, the group started discussing the positive and negative aspects of code-switching. Some positives of being able to code-switch were identified as flexibility, credibility, empathy, and understanding. On the other hand, some negatives of code-switching were identified as inauthenticity, threat to credibility, and difficulty being one’s whole self. After discussing the multifacetedness of code-switching, the participants began to address ways that we can become comfortable with code-switching. Some said that it requires caring less about what others think about you. Some said that friends and family can help you become comfortable, which also led to a discussion about how witnessing your loved ones code-switch can be a challenge or advantage to deciphering the authenticity of others.

Diane and Rashanda then dove into the framework of kyriarchy, a term coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza in 2001 and described as a “complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression.” This concept really helped the participants better understand the complexity of our identities, as author, Sian Ferguson, describes how kyriarchy builds on intersectional feminism:

1. It acknowledges that gender-based oppression is not the only type of oppression that exists.

2. It acknowledges that one can both benefit from and be oppressed by the system.

3. It could suggest why so many oppressed people are complicit in their own oppression.

4. It does not erase people who do not identify as men or women.

5. It acknowledges that oppressions are interlinked.

In order to reflect on our individual experiences within the kyriarchy framework, the participants engaged in an activity where we had to place ourselves on the kyriarchy diagram. The activity brought up an interesting discussion about how these labels can have different meanings within various cultures or individual perspectives and how that can influence someone to choose their place within the diagram. For example, someone might be labeled having “light” skin in their community; however, within the context of the diagram they might be labeled having “dark” skin.

At the end of the event, everyone was asked to identify one aspect of the discussions they would take away from the event. People said they would take away:
  • the more positive aspects of code-switching
  • the value in having multiple identities
  • language around describing code-switching
  • different ways to share the content with others
  • the significance of having self-awareness
  • better understanding of feminism/kyriarchy
  • more questions about the topic
  • a sense of struggle because privilege is a part of oneself that’s difficult to identify with
  • the welcoming nature of the LOCUS space
  • the perspective that it can be a privilege to have the agency to code-switch
  • gratitude of having knowledge around code-switching

When asked for one question that the participants still had, they said:
  • How do I use my systemic privileges to benefit the oppressed?
  • How can I bring more of those identities to spaces at work?
  • When do you decide to take the risk not to switch, to really show up?
  • How can I be more mindful about helping others to be more mindful?
  • How can I understand when I'm code-switching and when I don't need to be doing it?
  • How do I share this information with other people and not shame them?
  • How can I be a better ally?
  • How do talk to people about the nuances or fluidity of identities?
  • Where are the men in the room?
  • How do we create the space for code-switching to be an asset?
  • In what ways can I not only challenge the system but also challenge the arbitrary middle ground?
  • As a privileged person, what space am I welcome in?
  • When is it appropriate to push back?
  • What level of conflict is okay, to bring up people's voices who are not at the table?
  • What do you call someone who fights this [system]?
  • How do you spread this information about this?
  • How do you bring this conversation to spaces of privilege?
  • What is the intention behind code-switching?
  • Does this work as a baseline for understanding these oppressions?
  • How do we push this conversation to a next level?

Thank you everyone for such a lively and insightful discussion. We look forward to having more in the near future!

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Intersectionality with Intentionality" on Tuesday, May 19

"Intersectionality with Intentionality"
Tuesday, May 19
5:15pm Registration; 5:30pm - 7:30pm Program
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
2314 University Ave. West #20, St. Paul, MN 55114
Register online.
Admission: $7.00/$10.00

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

In an increasingly diversifying society, our lives and identities are hyphenated and nuanced, posing a challenge to our capacity for identity-driven leadership. The paradox of being part of the "in" group at times and being seen as the "other" at other points adds to the complexity.

Do you struggle with authentically being yourself in any context? Perhaps your conversation, use of language, and expression are different with your coworkers as opposed to with your friends? Code-switching, the practice of shifting the languages you use or the way you express yourself in your conversations, serves to provide an explanation for this behavior.

Though this ability to blend in and adapt in order to survive in our various surroundings could be likened to a superpower, it's not without trade-offs. Working overtime to assimilate and acculturate can create a sense of isolation and diminish our self-knowledge and self-trust.

Join LOCUS on Tuesday, May 19 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for a stimulating conversation at "Intersectionality with Intentionality," where we'll explore code-switching, the inherent compromises it places on our authenticity, and a framework for understanding and navigating the implications of intersectional identities.


Light refreshments will be provided. Register early as there are a limited number of seats! 

LOCUS seeks to serve as a meeting ground for people from diverse backgrounds to engage with one another and to clarify our collective needs and our common aspirations. Through the pursuit of stronger connection and inclusiveness, and by striving for equitable and representative leadership, we aim to create a community that embraces and supports everyone. Join us at!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

“Putting Into Words What I Live” Workshop Recap

Building on our Mini-Microaggressions Film Festival in October,  LOCUS held a facilitated discussion on microaggressions at Rondo Community Outreach Library last week. Once again, Chelles' Kitchen provided a delicious meal while guest facilitator Alicia Sojourner, Racial Justice and Public Policy Program Coordinator at the YWCA of Minneapolis, shed light on the history, origination and impact of microaggressions in communities of color and society as a whole. We started the evening by spending some time on the definition of microaggressions.

Microaggressions: “Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color”- Professor Derald Sue

While unpacking the definition above, Alicia opened discussion for attendees to share their own personal experiences with microaggressions. She challenged the group to not only think of instances where we were on the receiving end of microaggressions, but when we have been the perpetrator of such acts. This expanded the conversation to discuss how we as communities of color also allow and perpetuate stereotypes and use them against one another.

In order to confront microaggressions, Alicia provided the group with 5 teachings on how to begin conversations to address them when they occur:

1.                  Questioning
Asking questions to compel the perpetrator to think about their comments/actions and to navigate and unpack the meaning of the behavior. This allows for an open dialogue.

2.                  Empathetic Relating
By turning the situation around on the perpetrator, you allow them to put themselves in your shoes by perhaps asking if they have ever experienced or received that comment or question, and if so what their response would be.

3.                  I Feel
Using “I feel” statements (typically toward close co-workers, friends and people from one’s own community) to explain to the perpetrator the impact that microaggression has on you personally.

4.                  Educating
Using microaggressions as teachable moments is most effective when used after steps 1-3, and includes explaining the definition and theory of microaggressions.

5.                  Returning Later
When on the receiving end of a microaggression, sometimes you need to practice self-care by removing yourself from the situation without addressing it at that moment. This offers time to think of how to address it at a later time after you’ve had a chance to gather your thoughts. The key is, you must return later, otherwise you have granted permission. You have allowed any and all of the “isms” to occur.

Alicia then facilitated a paired role-playing activity where participants navigated conversations where one partner is on the receiving end of a committed microaggression by the other partner. We were challenged to address the microaggression with one of the above techniques. The role-play was eye-opening and gave us a chance to begin to incorporate some of the language and practices that can help to confront and overcome microaggressions.

Thanks again to Alicia for facilitating such meaningful dialogue and to the participants for sharing their personal stories and insights.

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Putting Into Words What I Live" on Wednesday, April 15

"Putting Into Words What I Live"
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
5:15pm Registration; 5:30pm - 7:30pm Program
Rondo Community Outreach Library
Register online by 4/14. 
Admission: $7.00/$10.00

*This event is organized for and by people of color as a supportive and courageous space.
Microaggressions—"everyday slight, putdown, indignity, or invalidation unintentionally directed toward a marginalized group." When does it exactly happen? How can we identify it? How can we deal with it?
Building on our Microaggressions Mini Film Festival, LOCUS invites you to participate in a discussion where we will explore the language, theories and implications of this phenomenon. Alicia Sojourner will present on fundamental concepts of microaggression to help us better understand this topic. Afterwards, Alicia will facilitate a personal reflection time and group discussion on how we can effectively put into words our lived experiences and deal with microaggressions in our everyday lives.
Alicia serves as the Racial Justice and Public Policy Program Coordinator at the YWCA. She has many years in education and public policy. Alicia currently uses her background in grassroots community and political organizing for early childhood education, disability rights, and racial equality to inspire others to be change agents in the YWCA community, as well as their own.
Light refreshments will be provided. Register early as there are a limited number of seats!

LOCUS seeks to serve as a meeting ground for people from diverse backgrounds to engage with one another and to clarify our collective needs and our common aspirations. Through the pursuit of stronger connection and inclusiveness, and by striving for equitable and representative leadership, we aim to create a community that embraces and supports everyone. Join us at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Announcing Two Community Engagement Funding Opportunities

The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability announces two funding opportunities for organizations and individuals to conduct community around the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway. See below for details on both opportunities and consider applying!

The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis and the Northside Greenway Council, is pleased to announce two funding opportunities for organizations and individuals to do community engagement around the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway. 

Application for Micro-grants to Organizations: 

We are accepting applications from community organizations to share information and gather input from north Minneapolis residents along the proposed greenway. Community organizations must be either nonprofit 501.c 3 organizations or have a fiscal sponsor that is a nonprofit organization. Community organizations will also be expected to present information and gather input in a neutral way. Target groups can include:
  • Residents living directly on the existing proposed greenway route (a primary target group north of Plymouth)
  • Residents of the Sumner-Glenwood, Harrison, and Near North/Willard Hay neighborhoods (south of Plymouth Ave)
  • The larger north Minneapolis community, with an emphasis on the following Northside residents: African-American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, people with disabilities, people who do not speak English as a first language, other cultural communities, youth, older adults, people with limited or no access to a vehicle, renters, other groups that were not well-represented in previous engagement efforts
Organizations reaching out to residents north of Plymouth may apply for grants of $500 up to $5,000 to conduct engagement. Because of the breath of work that needs to take place south of Plymouth to ensure that the engagement process is as thorough and complete as it has been in previous rounds of engagement north of Plymouth, organizations reaching this geographic area may apply for awards up to $10,000, with a total award proportional to the size of the population targeted. Approximately $51,000 is available. For more information and to access the application, please click here.

Application for Community Connectors:
We are also accepting applications for six Northside Greenway Council Community Connectors. Community Connectors are individuals who will work to raise awareness, provide education and gather general feedback around the proposed Greenway project in specific communities in North Minneapolis. These positions will be directly supervised by a community-based organization.

In engagement efforts from 2014, the Greenway Council was able to garner significant feedback representative of the diverse North Minneapolis community compared to engagement efforts in the past. However, there are still significant gaps in representation from many racial, cultural, and otherwise specific constituencies. To that end, we are looking for Community Connectors to do a deeper round of engagement, working specifically with the following demographics in North Minneapolis: African and African Americans, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native Americans, people who do not speak English as a first language, other cultural communities, people with limited or no access to a vehicle, and people with disabilities.

Six individuals will be selected to receive an estimated stipend of $2,550 each to conduct engagement activities. For more information and for the application, please click here.

There will also be an information meeting for all interested applicants of both funding pools on Wednesday, March 4 from 3.30 - 5 p.m. at North Commons Park (1801 James Ave N, Minneapolis).
Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, March 27 and should be emailed to Ebony Adedayo -

 The Greenway Steering Committee is now on Facebook. Be sure to like us

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

[Job Posting] MDH Cancer Control Program Director

The Minnesota Department of Health is seeking an experienced and energetic public health professional to serve as the Program Director and Supervisor for the State Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.  The Program Director will lead and supervise a staff of five that supports a vibrant statewide coalition, the Minnesota Cancer Alliance, and works in concert with numerous partners to achieve the goals and objectives in our statewide cancer plan. More details about the position as well as instructions about how to apply can be found in the official posting at:
Interested candidates must apply through the online state system by January 12, 2015.


$ 28.27-$ 40.72 hourly, $ 59,028-$ 85,023 annually

Date Posted: 12/23/2014
Closing Date: 01/12/2015
Working Title: Comp Cancer Program Supervisor
Hiring Agency: Health Department
Division/Bureau: HPCD/Medical Director's Office
Location: Golden Rule Building, St. Paul
Who May Apply: Open to all qualified job seekers
Posting Number: 14HEAL000519
Employment Conditions: Permanent, Full-time
Work Shift: Day Shift
Days of Work: Monday-Friday , 08:00 AM-04:30 PM
Travel Required: no
Job Grouping: Health Care & Human Services
Classified Status: Classified
Job Description: This position is located in the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease (HPCD) Division, Comprehensive Cancer Program.

This position is responsible for the overall supervision and oversight for Minnesota?s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program including developing and maintaining a strong leadership team for the statewide cancer coalition (Minnesota Cancer Alliance), developing, updating and implementing a statewide strategic plan for cancer control, coordinating related initiatives around the state, building productive partnerships with internal and external stakeholders to support program objectives, communicating with stakeholders about program activities, and evaluating the program. This position also serves as the primary liaison with CDC for the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, oversees grant development and reporting, and supervises the staff funded under this program.
Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following education and experience requirements to be considered:

Bachelor's degree in public health or a health-related field AND 2 years supervisory or managerial or 3 years advanced professional public health experience that includes responsibility for administration; grant management; coordination of services; community organization including staffing of external task forces; program or research project management; health education and promotion; providing training and technical assistance to health programs; and/or interpretation of policies and procedures and federal and state regulations; OR

Master's degree in public health or a health-related field AND 1 year supervisory or managerial or 2 years advanced professional public health experience described above; OR

Bachelor's degree in a non-public health field AND 3 years supervisory or managerial or 4 years advanced professional public health experience described above.

Must successfully pass a background check.

Preferred Qualifications: Knowledge of:
Theories, principles and practice of public health and community based health promotion and education;
The design and conduct of statewide strategic and stakeholder driven planning processes;
Methods and resources for preparing and disseminating information to the public;
Methods for evaluating programmatic activities;
Department functions, policies and procedures;
State and federal program and budgetary requirement;
Current understanding of the scientific literature related to cancer control, chronic disease risk factors, clinical and public health care systems; and,
State law and statutes regarding data privacy and reporting requirements.

Ability to:
Supervise staff;
Facilitate work groups and project teams to design and develop population-based cancer control activities at the state and local level;
Prepare and review a wide variety of reports and papers, including the results of research projects, surveillance fact sheets and reports, program evaluations, grants and reports to grantors;
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with academic researchers, professional health personnel and other partners;
Effectively describe and discuss program work in oral presentations;
Write, collaborate in writing, or assist others in writing articles or papers on the results of program activities and outcomes; and,
Work independently.
Selection Process: The selection process is a resume-based, skill-matching process. All applicants who apply to this posting will be evaluated against the Minimum Qualifications stated above. If your skills match the required skills for this position, the department may contact you.

Recently Separated Veterans (RSV) - Effective July 1, 2009, legislation provides that the top five RSV applicants who apply and meet the qualifications for a vacancy be granted an interview. To qualify as a RSV, you must meet all of the following criteria: 1) have separated under honorable conditions from any branch of the armed forces of the United States; 2) have served on active duty for 181 consecutive days or more or for the full period ordered to active duty or have separated by reason of disability incurred while serving on active duty; 3) be a United States citizen or resident alien; and 4) have served in active military service at any time on or after September 11, 2001, as shown on your DD-214 form. To be considered under this legislation, you must: 1) meet all of the Minimum Qualifications identified in this posting; 2) meet all of the above RSV criteria; and 3) submit a copy of your DD-214 form by the closing date to or fax to 651-201-5779. Please include the vacancy number with your email or fax. Failure to submit your DD-214 form will affect your consideration for an interview under the terms of this legislation. Note that all vacancies will be filled in accordance with applicable union contract provisions.

Certain Disabled Veterans - Effective August 1, 2012, legislations provides state agencies with the option to appoint certain disabled veterans on a noncompetitive basis if you meet the following criteria: 1) meet service requirements and has verified service-connected disability rating of at least 30%; 2) provide qualifying documentation verifying the disability; and, 3) meet all of the Minimum Qualifications identified in this posting. To be considered under this legislation you must submit all documentation by the closing date to or fax to 651-201-5779. Please include the vacancy number with your email or fax. 
How to Apply: This vacancy is open to all qualified job seekers. If you are interested in being considered for this position and are eligible to bid, please do one of the following by the closing date:

1) Submit your resume through the on-line Resume Builder at You may copy and paste your existing resume or let the software create a resume for you. After you?ve completed your on-line resume, apply directly to this job posting (#14HEAL000519) by checking the "Apply for This Job" box and then clicking the "Apply to Selected Jobs" box at the bottom of the posting.

2) If you are unable to apply on-line via Resume Builder, submit your resume and a completed State of Minnesota Employment Application form to: Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB), 200 Centennial Office Building, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155. Please include this job posting number (#14HEAL000519) on your application. The paper application is available on the MMB website at or by calling 651-259-3637.