Community Conversation on Race

A community conversation about race was held on January 18th for members of the community and local police at the Apple Valley community center.

The event was initiated by two moms-  Renita Fisher, a mom and candidate for the Minnesota Legislature in 56A, which covers Savage and the northern parts of Burnsville, and Rose Judkins from Apple Valley, who is worried about the effects racism is having on her family . These two moms worked with the police chiefs in three suburbs to include this dialogue with local officers, and the event was hosted by South Metro Community and YWCA Minneapolis.

Speakers before the conversations began were Iman Mohammed Dukuly, who presides at the Burnsville Mosque, and  Rose Judkins.

The purpose of hosting these dialogues is to:

  • Develop and facilitate dialogues that move participants toward an understanding of how race plays out in the community
  • Provide an opportunity for all voices to be heard
  • Develop deeper awareness of diversity, culture and equity and the possible experiences of participants
  • Develop deliberate space for participants to identify tactics to help them reach equity goals

Participants formed circles where a talking stick was passed as everyone shared their perspectives on why they had come, their perspectives/experiences with racism, why they thought these conversations were so important and the need to continue what we started there that night.  As a participant, I can share that the conversations weren’t always easy or comfortable, but are essential- especially when addressing race relations with law enforcement officers.  Police from Apple Valley, Burnsville and Eagan were members of each group. Elected officials from the area in attendance included Minnesota State Senator Greg Clausen and State Representative Erin Maye Quade.

Suggestions to continue these conversations, and perhaps hold them around the south suburban area were made and we hope that this can happen. A big thanks to the two moms that made this happen!

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