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home : community : community Monday, November 20, 2017

10/31/2017 5:21:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Twin Cities Community Gather To Discuss Race

By Emily O'Gara

Sun Yung Shin
More than 1,200 Twin Cities community leaders gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center on October 17 to discuss race relations at the 15th Annual It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race. The issues of race and racism in our local communities and the country are as timely as ever. YWCA Minneapolis organizes the event as part of its on-going mission to foster cross-cultural understanding and strengthen our communities' commitment to advance racial equity.

This year's keynote presentation were moderated by Sun Yung Shin. Shin is the editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, a provocative book where 16 of Minnesota's best writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. Shin is the author of poetry/essay collections Unbearable Splendor; Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black; a co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption; and the author of a bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper's Lesson. She has received artist grants from Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, The McKnight Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation.

Shin facilitated and guided a panel discussion regarding current concerns in our community with contributors from the book, A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, which included:

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color, a young adult novel. Her writing has appeared in Al Jazeera America, The Crisis, Gawker, and other venues. A Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow, she lives with her family in Minneapolis.

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Her most recent book, Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir, was a 2015 Minnesota Book Award finalist.

David Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese, a Josephine Miles Book Award/Oakland PEN winner and a New York Times Notable Book, and Where the Body Meets Memory. He's written four books of poetry, including The Last Incantation and one novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire.

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria is a writer and spoken word poet of Peruvian heritage involved with Palabristas, a Minnesota-based Latin@ poets collective. He is an MFA student at Hamline University and writes about fatherhood, the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish, and Spanish, and issues pertaining to his community.

Following the panel discussion, attendees participated in small-group, dynamic and thoughtful dialogues about race, moderated by YWCA-trained facilitators.

The largest event of its kind in the country, thousands of individuals have attended It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race since its inception. Feedback from many who attended last year showed the event motivated them to take action to improve race relations in their communities.

At YWCA Minneapolis' 15th Annual It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race luncheon, community members became allies, activists and friends, working together for racial equality and understanding. Everyone engaged in conversations about race and privilege, creating cultural understanding and committing to work toward social change. The State of Minnesota, City of Minneapolis and City of St. Paul proclaimed October 17, as "Dialogue on Race Day." Recognizing dialogue as a proven process to improve race relations is historically significant. Each of us is called upon to "Continue the Conversation" by sharing life experiences and listening.

YWCA Minneapolis is a national leader in the field of racial justice, facilitating change and generating meaningful action in the workplace and the community. YWCA Minneapolis works with more than 4,100 people annually through our Racial Justice community programs, which include public forums, community dialogues, and training in unlearning racism and understanding privilege.




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