Overcoming Racism: Truth Telling
November 15 – 16, 2013
Metropolitan State University, St. Paul MN

View/download conference program (Link to come)


Video of the Friday morning plenary by Brotherhood, Inc. works to break the devastating cycles of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration facing young African American males in the twin cities, ages 16-24, who have had contact with the criminal justice system or gangs, or who are at risk of such involvement. Their comprehensive reentry and prevention program takes a holistic approach to empowerment by providing culturally-sensitive social services, educational opportunities and on-site employment for participants through the creation of social enterprises.

Through their original theatrical and spoken word performance The Forgotten, A Look at the Lives of Young Black Men, participants of the program provide a unique window into their lives as they strive to overcome adversity and rise above the infrastructures that impact their lives.

Video of the Saturday morning plenary by Diane Wilson, Mdewakanton descendant, is an award-winning author, writer and gardener.  Her essays and memoirs use personal experiences to illustrate broader social and historical context. Ms Wilson’s first book, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, won the 2006 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir, Autobiography, and Creative Nonfiction.  Her second book, Beloved Child: Dakota Way of Life, released in 2011, is a collection of personal stories and has received awards from the Jerome Travel & Study program, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Ragdale Artist Residency, and the Hedgebrook Residency for Women Writers.

Ms Wilson is the Executive Director of Dream of Wild Health, a native owned 10-acre farm in Hugo, MN.  A master gardener, she maintains a large butterfly garden filled with native plants.  She is a member of the Dakota Kiciya and helps organize the Dakota Commemorative Marches on the Lower Sioux reservation.

More Conference Background:

Truth telling can be a powerful means of undermining racism. What do we mean by ‘Truth telling’? Truth telling is sharing history and stories that have been silenced or repressed. It is sharing the beauty, strengths and contributions of racial and ethnic communities. It is sharing the stories of what racism and colonization* have done to us, how we have participated, and how we have resisted.

Truth telling is an act of resistance to racism, of decolonization, of liberation. It connects our individual and collective stories to a narrative about race and racism that can compete with the white racial frame. “Historically and in the present, these counter-frames have regularly provided valuable tool kits for oppressed Americans, offering both individual and collective tools” for surviving and combating racism. (Joe R. Feagin, The White Racial Frame)

 “Until lions have their historians, the tale of the hunt will only glorify the hunter”  — African Proverb