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Welcome to North Hennepin Community College's First Annual Truth & Transformation Conference: Racial Healing for Justice!

Join us June 14-18 for a week of invigorating keynotes and workshops centered on anti-racism, allyship, racial justice, and healing! All virtual and free to attend. Keynotes and workshops include: 

Keynote/Mainstage: 

  • Decolonization and Rematriation: Cultivating Roots for Connection and Healing with Lakota Harden
  • Race and Disability with Johileny Meran
  • The Walk of the Immigrants with Saul Flores
  • The Importance of Juneteenth with Dr. Carl Ellis
  • The Rise in Anti-Asian Violence and Fostering Allyship Today with Dr. Erika Lee
  • Closing Remarks by Minnesota State Chancellor, Dr. Devinder Malhotra

Workshops:

  • Restoring Balance to All Our Relations Through Decolonization
  • Unconscious Bias – Creating Brave Spaces with Julio Vargas-Essex
  • What Can You Do? How to be a Change Agent with author LaToya Burrell
  • Justice Poetry - Reflections of an Inspirational Rap Artist with scholar and spoken word poet Foreignziks
  • City of Brooklyn Park presents a Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Panel with Wokie Freeman-Gbogba

Registration information and conference details are below. Please register in advance. 

  • Monday, June 14  

    • 10:00-10:30 A.M. | Welcome Remarks: NHCC President, Dr. Rolando García

    • Access Link: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/91314293074

    • Land Acknowledgement & Conference Overview by Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Rassheedah “Eda” Watts

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    • Bio: Long-time organizer and community leader Lakota Harden (Minnecoujou/Yankton Lakota and HoChunk) draws on her life experiences, ancestral memory, and four decades in Native American struggles to look at how we can liberate ourselves, our society, and cultivate roots for connection. Lakota uses the framework of decolonization to counter its manifestations in gender, race, knowledge, and educational systems as well as rematriation, the act of returning or aligning with a collective worldview under the stewardship and leadership of women. She will help us reclaim our original way of being and feel revived, encouraged, and empowered to continue our walk on this earth with self-respect, love, and deeper connections on a path to healing ourselves and our world.
                     

    • 3:00-4:00 P.M. | Breakout Session: Anti-Racism Lessons Learned 

    • Access Link: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/91349584090

    • Presenters share their findings.

    • o   Kendi’s How to be an anti-racist with faculty Nancy Shih-Knodel & Thomas Staael

      o   Narrative change through Art with Dean Kathy Hendrickson

    • 7:00-8:30 P.M. | Keynote/Mainstage: The Rise in Anti-Asian Violence and Fostering Allyship Today with Dr. Erika Lee

    • Registration: https://minnstate.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VXx9plpTRDagl4I8DAow7w

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    • Bio: One of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians, Erika Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Regents Professor and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. Since the start of the pandemic, Asian Americans have been the targets of growing anti-Asian racism and violence. But as Erika Lee reminds us, what we are seeing today is rooted in a much longer history. Join us as we explore both these historic roots as well as why and how xenophobia and racism surged along with the virus - and what we can do to foster allyship today.

  • Tuesday, June 15

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    • Learn how to leverage an inclusive leadership style to examine how implicit attitudes and stereotypes result in subtle forms of prejudice that can undermine a managers' effectiveness in fostering inclusion and recruiting diversity. Includes group conversation, case study reviews, and solution-oriented strategies

    • Bio: Julio Vargas-Essex is the Vice President of Student Success at North Hennepin Community College. He provides operational leadership for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, by establishing strategic direction, priorities and goals for the overall unit and for each department within the unit. With a tremendous desire to see students succeed, Mr. Vargas-Essex places a significant importance on making higher education accessible and achievable for everyone. His experience with culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse communities has reinforced the importance of helping others find their vocation in life. With a holistic approach, Mr. Vargas-Essex believes that individuals can realize their true “calling” in life through education and by focusing on values that inspire others to be “Idealistic Leaders.” He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Stout and M.A. in Psychology from Metropolitan State University–St. Paul, MN.

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    • Racial Justice must be disability-inclusive and intersectional. In this session, you will have the opportunity to learn about how racial justice is influenced by an intersectional approach and why it is important that social justice movements be disability-inclusive. What is intersectionality and how is it reflected in racial justice work? Johileny Meran will share how her intersectional identities have informed her activism in different spaces including disability rights. Participants will leave with resources to continue to learn about intersectionality and disability inclusion in racial justice work.

    • Bio: Johileny Merán (she/her/ella) graduated from New York University in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Public Health with a concentration in Sociology and a minor in Disability Studies. Johileny hopes to combine her education in Global Public Health with her passion for disability rights. During her undergraduate studies, Johileny served as Co-President of the NYU Disability Student Union. She believed that including disability in the diversity conversations on campus was crucial to improving accessibility on campus. In the summer of 2018 she was an American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) intern at the National Disability Rights Network, an opportunity she applied for while spending a semester studying away at NYU Washington, DC. Later she went on to study abroad at NYU London where she created the “London Access Culture Guide.” Johileny Merán is a young Afro-Latina with a disability and a Dominican immigrant. Her leadership beliefs are based on integrity, advocacy, and community service. Johileny also enjoys rock climbing, scuba diving, sled hockey, and writing poetry. She shares her story as motivation to encourage people to rise above and redefine the perception of disabilities.

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    • Bio: Saul spent three months walking, hitchhiking, and sleeping on the ground and in hiding places. His journey began in Ecuador and ended in Charlotte, North Carolina. In three months, he walked 5,328 miles through ten countries and nine border crossings to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico. In this keynote, Saul speaks about how as a North Carolina State University senior, he took the “Walk” in the summer of 2010. Student audiences get the opportunity to relive The Walk of the Immigrants along with Saul and create a deeper understanding of the struggles, hardships, joy, and hope that immigrants experience on their journey.

  • Wednesday, June 16

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    • Do you want to see a change around race relations? Join author of Be Bold: How to Prepare Your Heart and Mind for Racial Reconciliation for a workshop that answers What Can You Do? The response: Examine Yourself, Listen, Learn, and Be Bold. This presentation will be engaging, fostering dialogue, along with guidance on the 4 action steps. 

    • Bio: LaToya Jones Burrell wears multiple hats, including wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend! She is Executive Director of the Anderson Foundation, former College dean, professor, attorney, mentor, change agent and writer. After the murder of George Floyd, she was inspired to BOLDLY do something including writing a book, launching a YouTube channel, and writing for Medium. Born and raised in Louisiana, she is a first-generation college student, and education and learning have been foundational in her life! In her current role, she leads a foundation with the mission of empowering girls and women through education. Burrell serves on the board of directors for People Serving People, Bountifield International, the Mona Foundation, and as the global DEI champion for Zinpro Corporation. She believes that sustainable change will take place when people examine their hearts and minds and commit to being the change that they want to see.

    • 12:00-1:00 P.M. | Keynote/Mainstage: The Importance of Juneteenth with Dr. Carl Ellis

    • Registration: https://minnstate.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ih3WTuAKTPuR8sW3leCdmQ

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    • Dr. Carl Ellis presents Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day commemorating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas. Learn why we continue to celebrate it today.

    • Bio: Cultural analyst, theological anthropologist, minister, author, lecturer, husband, father and son, Dr. Carl Ellis Jr. is Provost’s Professor of Theology and Culture at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) and Director of curriculum for the Edmiston Center at RTS. Dr. Ellis equips individuals and organizations to meet today’s challenges, including facing today’s cultural crises’ and understanding the dynamics of diversity. Dr. Ellis has contributed to numerous publications and has written several articles and books. He holds a Ph.D. from Omega Graduate School, where he also received the President's Award for Research Showing the Greatest Potential for Societal Change. He has received several other awards including an honorary D.Litt. from Missio Theological Seminary. He appears as a contributor in national and international forums – in person and virtual. Carl is married to the former Karen Angela Bishop and has the privilege and pleasure of teaming up with Karen in national and international ministry.

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    • You will learn how BrookLynk, a youth workforce development program partners with employers to recruit, hire, and retain BIPOC talent, particularly young people facing barriers to employment. You’ll understand how BrookLynk promotes economic inclusion and empowerment within the cities of Brooklyn Park & Brooklyn Center and how the investments from the cities enhance employment outcomes and opportunities for BIPOC youth and young adults.
    • Bio: Catrice is a licensed graduate social worker with over 10 years of experience leading, designing, implementing, and evaluating community-based programs for youth and families.  Catrice received her Bachelor of Social Work from St. Catherine's University, and her Master of Social Work in Program Development, Policy, and Administration from Augsburg University. She is the MN state representative for Black Girls in Social Work and Adjunct Faculty member in the School of Social Work at the University of St. Thomas. Born and raised in Minneapolis, and a proud graduate of Minneapolis public schools, Catrice attributes much of her success to the youth development programs that provided her with the relationships, access, and opportunity that have shaped her into the youth program leader she is today.
  • Thursday, June 17

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    • live performance of original rap and spoken word poetry from his upcoming book “Justice Poetry”, interwoven with the personal story of growing up in the urban streets of Los Angeles as a struggling first-generation, low-income, African American student. You will learn how faith, hip hop and poetry served as a form of racial activism and as an escape from physical and psychological abuse. Attendees will be invited to share their experiences and connections to hip hop/poetry to confront racism and injustice.

    • Bio: Kareem is a scholar practitioner, inspirational rap artist, and spoken word poet aka Foreignziks (pronounced Forensics). Performing for over two decades, he’s used his creative lyrics to paint a picture and tell a story, while addressing topics of faith, racial justice, Black history, identity, hip hop culture and much more. Kareem provides keynote speaking, rap and poetry performances and workshops, racial justice presentations, and intercultural workshops as a licensed Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator. Full bio at repthename.com

    • 2:00-3:00 P.M. | Breakout Session: City of Brooklyn Park presents a Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Panel with Wokie Freeman-Gbogba, Assistant City Manager

    • Registration: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/95858247212

    • roundtable panel on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) work at the City. The panel will present a historical perspective on the work, as well as a renewed commitment and evolution of the leadership, following the tragic killing of George Floyd.  They will discuss the establishment of a Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and specific actions the City of Brooklyn Park has taken, and plans to take, to advance anti-racism and better serve the residents of Brooklyn Park.

    • Bio: Wokie Freeman-Gbogba, Assistant City Manager for the City of Brooklyn Park, partners with the City Manager on overall administration and general management of city operations. She also directs the Administration Department comprising: Human Resources, Communications, Community Engagement, the City Clerk’s office, and now Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  Originally from Liberia, Ms. Freeman-Gbogba has held several positions in the educational, hospitality, and insurance industries.  She formerly worked at the University of Minnesota, and also served as the Founding Director of Public Affairs & Engagement for African Career, Education & Resource, Inc. (ACER), as a mentor with Liberian Women's Initiatives – MN, and participated on the Osseo Area Schools Community Collaboration Council. Ms. Freeman-Gbogba holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Strategic Management and Marketing and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. 

    • 7:00-8:30 P.M. | Keynote Workshop: Restoring Balance to All Our Relations Through Decolonization with Lakota Harden

    • Registration: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/99379885086

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    • In this interactive workshop, Lakota discusses how we can right historic wrongs rooted in white supremacy, settler colonialism, and patriarchy by lifting up cultural practices that restore balance to our lives and all our relations- human and non-human relatives alike. 

    • Bio: Long-time organizer and community leader Lakota Harden (Minnecoujou/Yankton Lakota and HoChunk) draws on her life experiences, ancestral memory, and four decades in Native American struggles to look at how we can liberate ourselves, our society, and cultivate roots for connection. Lakota uses the framework of decolonization to counter its manifestations in gender, race, knowledge, and educational systems as well as rematriation, the act of returning or aligning with a collective worldview under the stewardship and leadership of women. She will help us reclaim our original way of being and feel revived, encouraged, and empowered to continue our walk on this earth with self-respect, love, and deeper connections on a path to healing ourselves and our world.

  • Friday, June 18

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    • Chancellor Devinder Malhotra will discuss how the Minnesota State System is upholding the work of anti-racism, equity and racial justice, and why this work is important in education and society-at-large. Chancellor Malhotra leads the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, the state’s largest provider of higher education. He also leads the strategic direction for Equity 2030 which aims to close the educational equity gaps across race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location by the end of the decade at every Minnesota State college and university. 

    • Bio: Devinder Malhotra was named Minnesota State chancellor in 2018 after first serving as interim chancellor in 2017. He leads Minnesota’s system of seven state universities and 30 state community and technical colleges that serve over 350,000 students in 47 communities across the state. Dr. Malhotra is passionate about the Minnesota State commitment to providing access to exceptional higher education for all Minnesotans. He is excited to support the powerful work faculty and staff are doing at every Minnesota State college and university to serve our communities and help people all across the state succeed both in college and beyond. Before serving as chancellor, Dr. Malhotra was interim president of Metropolitan State University and provost and vice president of academic affairs at St. Cloud State University. Prior to that he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern Maine. At the University of Akron, he served as chair of the Faculty Senate, chair of the Department of Economics, and associate dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Malhotra earned his doctorate in economics from Kansas State University and also is a graduate of the Management Development Program of the Harvard University Institutes of Higher Education. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Delhi in India.

 

Woman smilingThank you for joining us and participating in a week designed to be transformative through the power of truth, healing, and change agency. Whether you are a speaker, presenter, or attendee, your participation in this conference signifies your commitment toward helping our humanity dismantle racism and all forms or racial injustice. Minneapolis has been a global focal point since the death of George Floyd, and our community has been directly impacted by this and many other forms of racial violence including the rise in anti-Asian violence, and the shooting of Daunte Wright located just minutes away from our campus. As a college that is actively serving our community, our aim is to be a part of the solution by inspiring critical thought and action, which is why I chose the conference theme Racial Healing for Justice! My hope is that you leave this week of knowledge-sharing inspired and ready to continue the work of anti-racism.” – Dr. Rassheedah “Eda” Watts, AVP Equity & Inclusion eda.watts@nhcc.edu

 

Questions or issues specific to a link, email: diversity@nhcc.edu