Shared Learning Community Circle

Sponsored by FREC and the East Side Freedom Library

MONTHLY SPEAKER AND DISCUSSION SERIES

Join us every 2nd Tuesday of the month for learning and discussion

FREC’s online shared learning community circle is a way to share ideas, stories, articles, videos, books, blogs, poems and more with others who are interested in learning together to gain new perspectives, exchange bold ideas and build knowledge. 

May Guest Speakers:

Sindy, Kirsten & Antonia from the Community Engagement for Equitable Systems Change Collaborative

TOPIC:

Equity & Systems Change

NOTE: FIRST Tuesday, May 7th 2024

4:30-6 PM (CST)

Join us for the last FREC Shared Learning Community Circle until fall, when Antonia Wilcoxon from Equity Strategies, Kirsten Johnson and Sindy Garcia Morales from the Courageous Change Collaborative will lead us in a stimulating dialogue on equity and systems change.
The Community Engagement for Equitable Systems Change Collaborative has grounded itself in investing in aa process of birthing and cultivating that is not just about the tools and frameworks we produce, but about developing a model of collaboration that offers an alternative way to develop solutions to systemic problems and advance equitable systems change. 
We create flexible, adaptive frameworks + tools that support people across Minnesota in creating equitable community-driven systems. We will provide an overview of the tools and frameworks created by Community Engagement for Equitable Systems Change Collaborative for practitioners seeking to create equitable systems:
These tools were created for people who:
– Work in systems and are seeking to create change
– Are a part of organizations whose work is focused on creating more equitable systems
– Seek to center community voice in advancing equity within our systems

April Guest Speaker:

Beverly Bushyhead

TOPIC:

Stand With/Withstand 

Tuesday, April 9th 2024

4:30-6 PM (CST)

A recovery cohort program for overcoming the impacts of Supremacy

Speaker Bio:
Beverly Bushyhead (she/her) is an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and grew up with her nation on their original lands in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Beverly is a restorative practitioner, transformative leader, and strengths-based community builder focused on the intersection of cultural and complex trauma response.
Bev is a systems thinker gifted at creating innovations that inspire action steps toward social justice. Beverly Bushyhead has over 25 years’ experience. She shares original curricula through cohort designed learning and workshop facilitation. Beverly earned a degree in psychology at Augsburg College and two master’s degrees in public administration and Nonprofit Management at Hamline University.

HOW TO JOIN US

We will be meeting online using the Zoom link through the button below. Please contact us if there are any additional accommodations we can provide to encourage comfortable participation. All are welcome!   

WHAT TO EXPECT

Previous shared learning sessions have included topics such as what does reparations look like, traits of whiteness and how they show up, redistribution of wealth and privilege, BIPOC farming and more. 

There will be a highlighted speaker and/or content to preview prior to each session for a more in depth discussion on the presented topic. 

The group will share introductions and review the FREC Guidelines for Dialogue document to be sure we are all honoring the space and care of ourselves and others prior to conversation. 

All are welcome! We are excited to have you join our learning community.

Can’t join us?
Attend a quarterly orientation/information session to learn more about FREC committees and programs.
Check out our Get Involved page to learn more!

NEXT MONTH'S TOPIC AND SPEAKER - 2/16/23

Dr. Antija Allen & Justin Stewart

Based on the Book “We’re Not OK”

Black Faculty Experiences & Higher Education

In Fall 2018, there were 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting post-secondary institutions with 53% full time and 47% part time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020). 76% of full-time faculty were white, while only 6% were Black. While many institutions tout the idea of diversity recruitment, not much progress has been made to diversify faculty ranks (Hazelrigg, 2019). In fact, professors are more likely than their students to be White (Flaherty, 2019). These statistics display a disparity, resulting in the unique experiences of Black faculty left to work in spaces as either the only Black faculty member, or one in a limited population, which sometimes results in feeling like you don’t belong. 
In this hands-on workshop, the authors of “We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies” will take a deep dive into the potential ramifications of these racial disparities on inclusion, retention, and mental health. Topics include tokenism, microaggressions, code switching, and imposter syndrome. Participants will dissect narratives from Black faculty, engage in group discussion, take part in reflective exercises, and explore practical strategies to promote mental wellness, foster inclusion, and retain Black faculty.
Dr. Antija M. Allen is the Director of the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) and a tenured Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pellissippi State Community College with two decades of experience as an educator. She was the 2021-2022 recipient of the Roger Crowe Excellence in Teaching award and is certified in both DEI and online teaching. Antija championed Pellissippi Academy’s Emotional Intelligence cohort successfully for 2 years and served as the 2019-2021 PACE Faculty Fellow for First Year Experience. She was selected by the Tennessee Board of Regents to be a 2021-2022 Maxine Smith leadership fellow; her cohort developed a toolkit of best practices for Black male: student success, faculty recruitment and faculty retention in public higher education. Dr. Allen is the Owner of Allen Ivy Prep Consulting (www.AllenIvyPrep.org), which specializes in career coaching and professional development. Antija’s recent publications include a chapter on Academic Freedom in Classroom Discussions and a bestselling edited collection entitled, We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies. This Cambridge University Press publication discusses promoting mental health, diversity recruitment, faculty retention, and fostering an inclusive environment for Black faculty. It was book of the month for the society of diversity and recommended by the Journal of Blacks in higher education, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse: Issues in higher education, Teaching in higher ed, and several DEI experts. She has led and conducted research on several topics at NYU, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Teachers College Columbia University. Dr. Allen earned her BA in Psychology from Neumann University and MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Most recently, Antija has returned to Columbia University Teachers College where she earned her EdD in Adult Learning & Leadership to teach as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in their Summer Principals Academy, educating aspiring school leaders.
Justin T. Stewart s a risk program execution and administration adviser in financial services/commercial banking, a member of the company’s BOLD (Black Organizers Leaders Doers) network, and co-owner of Allen Ivy Prep Consulting. Justin has worked in multiple industries including higher education, career services and corporate banking. These experiences have exposed him to diverse individuals, cultures and perspectives, enabling him to share the stories of those he has encountered. Since his days as an adolescent, Justin has gravitated towards literature, transforming into a passion to become a storyteller. Alongside his colleague Dr. Allen, We’re Not OK is an opportunity to shine a light on racial disparities and continue conversations that can lead to a meaningful and progressive shift in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justin earned his B.A. in Journalism from Clark Atlanta University.

What did you miss?
Shared Learning Bios & Topics Library

Review this section to find previous Shared Learning Circle discussions and  materials facilitators have shared with the community. 

February Guest Speakers:

Joan Hyman, Sandy Gerber & Ginny Rovainen 

TOPIC:

How a Major Branch of Judaism (Reconstructionism) Passed a National Reparations Resolution with Help From a Minneapolis Congregation

In January 2023, the governing board of the national Jewish Reconstructionist Movement (called Reconstructing Judaism or RJ) passed a substantive resolution approving reparations for the descendants of those who were harmed by the practice of slavery in the United States, and by subsequent discrimination over the centuries. The reparations resolution also extends to the Indigenous people in the United States whose lands were stolen and who experienced genocide and discrimination over several centuries. Passage of the reparations resolution at the national level was the culmination of a three-year effort that included the drafting of a 3-1/2 page document, led by a multiracial leadership team. Prior to approval by the RJ Board of Governors, a task force comprised solely of people of color representing rabbis, rabbinical students, and Jewish lay leaders reviewed, edited, and approved the resolution. Passage by the Board was contingent on a democratic process that required approval by a majority of the 100-plus Reconstructionist congregations across the United States. Our workshop intends to foster understanding of the actual reparations resolution that was passed by having participants take turns reading the sections of it aloud; discussing the meaning and implications of the resolution; touching on relevant Jewish liturgy; noting significant scholarship on how to calculate monetary reparations; discussing German Holocaust reparations to some congregant families; and viewing a humorous skit. This is the same educational process that congregants in our synagogue participated in during three “teach-ins” that the Mayim Rabim Antiracism Group led.

Speaker Bio Information:
Ginny Rovainen is a born-and-raised Minnesotan who grew up with progressive values derived from family and personal experience. Her family had deep roots in the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, supporting equal opportunity. She converted to Judaism because it supported her social justice values, and she went on to teach at a Twin Cities Jewish Day School for over 25 years. She is a Board member of her Minneapolis synagogue, Mayim Rabim, and is a co-founder of Mayim Rabim’s Antiracism Group.
Joan Hyman came from the East Coast to the Midwest in 2018. She has a long history of professional work in eldercare and healthcare administration as well as numerous volunteer pursuits. After the murder of George Floyd, she cofounded the congregation Mayim Rabim‘s Antiracism group. She is also the current Community Engagement Specialist for Friends for a Nonviolent World.
Sandy Gerber has been dedicated to community development in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, and to multicultural participation, throughout her life and work. Most recently she was employed by the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) of Minneapolis in Community Development, focused on the creation and growth of multi-sector Indian Business Alliances, primarily in South Dakota and Wisconsin. She also trained banks and community organizations in the Community Reinvestment Act and how to increase loans and investments in LMI communities. Prior to the FRB, she was a field researcher for Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) on a national pilot program to increase employment levels in public housing projects, a program officer with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, a project specialist for a racial inclusiveness initiative at the Minneapolis United Way, and the director of an inner-city community mediation program in North Minneapolis. Currently she is active in antiracism work at her south Minneapolis synagogue. Sandy received a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship, which she utilized to obtain a master’s degree in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School.  FREC member.

NOVEMBER 2023

Betsy Raasch-Gilman

Betsy Raasch-Gilman, born and raised in St. Paul, has participated in a wide range of social movements since 1965.  Since shortly after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, she’s been active in Showing Up for Racial Justice (Twin Cities chapter).  
 

Topic:

Accountability for White People Working for Racial Justice

For many years, Black movement leaders have called on white people to address white supremacy in their own families, workplaces, schools, and social circles.  How can white people set up mechanisms which keep themselves motivated, open to new input, and accountable to people of color/culture?

 

MAY 2023

Crixell Shell, MS

(Executive Director, Peacebuilding Trainer, and Coming to the Table Racial Talking Circle Facilitator at the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute) She/Her

 

Topic:

The links between Trauma, Harm and the Cycles of Violence

In 2022, Crixell assumed the role of Executive Director of the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute. From 2020-2021, she held the position of Assistant Executive Director. Crixell is a legal, technology and higher educational professional who holds a Master of Software Systems degree from the University of St. Thomas, a Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from Southern Illinois University, and is a Rule 114 Community Mediator. She graduated from the STAR Training in 2010 and has been passionate about sharing STAR with others since then. In 2013 she attended the STAR Level II Training at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and the Restorative Justice 101 Training in 2014. She is a charter member of Peacebuilding’s Community Advisory Board. In June 2013 she become a Peacebuilding Associate Trainer. She facilitates the free monthly Minnesota Peacebuilding Film Series and Coming to the Table program.

 

April 2023

Kate Towle

Finding Our Place in the Talk about Race: A Path Toward Reclaiming Whiteness as Caring, Open and Courageous

Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands, writes that “White activists can deliberately reclaim whiteness. They can first call it out as the sleight of hand and the swindle it has always been.  Then they can publicly redefine it as something caring, open, and grown up.”

What does it look like for white activists to reclaim whiteness?  As our society looks at the ways we all must heal from racialized trauma, how can white people who are committed to racial justice find an authentic path to liberation?  Kate Towle’s novel, Sweet Burden of Crossing, is uncommon for its perspective of a white woman humbling herself to learn about the impact of white supremacy on her Black friend–and in her own life.  Kate will share how white people must do their own work for racial healing to do less harm in a society that has prioritized white dominance.  She will help us all reflect about building muscle for white agility over white fragility and the unique place in history to play an important role in dismantling personal and systemic racism.

Kate Towle is author of the novel, Sweet Burden of Crossing, a story of interracial friendship, racial justice and healing from trauma as a path to shared humanity. As a writer, community educator and weaver, she works with organizations, non-profits and community leaders to organize and facilitate events and story circles that advance racial and gender equity through trauma-informed community action. She is a founding organizer of the community-building model Sweet Potato Comfort Pie® and was editor of the Sweet Potato Comfort Pie Guide.

March 2023

Hector E. Garcia

Intergenerational Alliances to Counter Silo Mindset, which Leads to Division, Confusion, Paralysis and Violence

This presentation is intended to add a broader and deeper perspective to the currently predominant one. Millions of citizens and residents of the U.S. and other nations have been increasingly influenced by the forces of Reductionism and Positivism. Since the mid 19th century, these forces have eclipsed The Age of Reflection and created the illusion that reality is only that which can be measured and has a monetary and popularity value during one’s lifetime. What future are some acclaimed international thought leaders proposing we live for and bequeath to our children?

 Hector E. Garcia is a published author of English and Spanish articles and essays in American, Canadian and Mexican printed and e-publications as well as the 2017 Rowman & Littlefield textbook Clash or Complement of Cultures?: Peace & Productivity in the New Global Reality.” Hector is also a University of Minnesota OLLI Course Leader and speaker on subjects covered in said book and article below published by Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies U of MN May 2020  “Optimizing Globalization will become Possible through a New Paradigm”

Hector serves on the following advisory positions: Americans for Humanity Advisory Team, Bethel University, Business & Economics Department’s Business Advisory Council, Caux Round Table (global association of corporate CEOs) MN Character Council, MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing).

February 2023

Dr. Antija Allen & Justin Stewart

In Fall 2018, there were 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting post-secondary institutions with 53% full time and 47% part time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020). 76% of full-time faculty were white, while only 6% were Black. While many institutions tout the idea of diversity recruitment, not much progress has been made to diversify faculty ranks (Hazelrigg, 2019). In fact, professors are more likely than their students to be White (Flaherty, 2019). These statistics display a disparity, resulting in the unique experiences of Black faculty left to work in spaces as either the only Black faculty member, or one in a limited population, which sometimes results in feeling like you don’t belong. In this hands-on workshop, the authors of “We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies” will take a deep dive into the potential ramifications of these racial disparities on inclusion, retention, and mental health. Topics include tokenism, microaggressions, code switching, and imposter syndrome. Participants will dissect narratives from Black faculty, engage in group discussion, take part in reflective exercises, and explore practical strategies to promote mental wellness, foster inclusion, and retain Black faculty.

January 2023

Trahern Crews

St. Paul’s Response to Address Reparations for American Descendents of Chattel Slavery
Trahern Crews is a Reparationist, Social Justice Advocate, Grassroots Organizer and Saint Paul Native who is a descendant of the Rondo Neighborhood. He also hosts a talk show called The Trahern Crews Show and operates Original Man Farms which teaches youth about urban agriculture. Trahern has run for public office and has held the following positions; Former Chair of the Green Party of The United States, Former Chair of The Green Party of The United States Reparations Working Group, Former Chair of The National Green Party Black Caucus, Former Chair of The Green Party of Minnesota, Co convener of The Saint Paul Recovery Act Reparations Commission, Chair of the Saint Paul Recovery Act Steering Committee / Minnesota Migration Act Steering Committee, Co-Founder and Lead Organizer with Black Lives Matter Minnesota.