Nominations Are Open For The Facing Race Awards – Recognize A Community Leader Now Through March 29



Recognize A Community Leader In Your Life

Each year, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation honors anti-racism advocates in Minnesota through their Facing Race Awards.

Now in their 18th year, these awards recognize the community leaders who challenge absent and harmful narratives on race, build solutions that unite and push for justice and equity. Through these awards, the Foundation celebrates and learns from those leading the way forward.

Nominations are open from March 11 through March 29. Learn about the awards and submit your nominations at

Meet last year’s award recipients:

Trahern Crews

Trahern Crews is the co-founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Minnesota – one of the nation’s most active chapters. As a reparationist, social justice advocate and grassroots organizer, the Saint Paul resident strives to make Minnesota a more equitable state.

Over the course of his career in activism, Trahern has led the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission and worked on the Minnesota Migration Act. He has also run for public office as a member of the Green Party and is currently working with other leaders to put together a textbook on how to create social change in an effort to pass down their strategies and techniques to the next generations.

Rayona Kardell

Rayona Kardell is one of two client advocates at Breaking Free, a nonprofit that assists clients who have experienced sex trafficking or sexual exploitation. She is passionate about helping her clients overcome the barriers they face and achieve the goals they’ve felt they would never reach.

“Rayona goes out of her way to bring clients food and hygiene items at their homes or treatment facilities after already putting in her eight hours for the day,” said her coworker and nominator. She has helped women, both young and old, break generational curses and find purpose, using her life experiences to provide clients with love and inspiration when they need it the most.

Rose McGee

Rose McGee is an activist who uses an unlikely tool to advocate for justice – sweet potato pies. Since 2014, after the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, Rose has been delivering comfort to those impacted by racial trauma with what she calls ‘the sacred dessert of Black culture.’ Since then she has expanded her concept to Sweet Potato Comfort Pie®, an organization that serves as a catalyst for caring and building community.

With the help of volunteers, Rose has baked and delivered over 4,000 pies across the country in response to racially driven events in Charleston, South Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Standing Rock and our very own Twin Cities.

Asha Shoffner

Asha Shoffner is her most authentic self when she’s surrounded by nature. She leads Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s outdoor and environmental education work. She has initiated and managed groundbreaking programs to create opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the Twin Cities to enjoy the outdoors. In the past year, Asha has organized 45 BIPOC-specific events, reaching over 500 people.

She is the founder and creator of BIPOC Outdoors Twin Cities, a safe and welcoming space for BIPOC and queer folks to experience the excitement of fishing (including ice fishing) workshops, cross-country skiing and snowboarding lessons, Indigenous plant medicine hikes, camping/canoeing trips and more.

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is a statewide community foundation that is working toward an equitable, just and vibrant Minnesota where all communities and people thrive. The Facing Race Awards, established in 2007, are just one of the ways that the Foundation advocates for equity. Learn more about their anti-racism efforts here.

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