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Local Partnership Shares Experiences of Women’s, Race and LGBT Rights

By Dr. Arnoldo Curiel, Vice President, YWCA Racial Justice
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Partnership with Cantus

Recently, YWCA Minneapolis partnered with Cantus, an eight-member men’s vocal ensemble, by having YWCA Racial Justice Facilitators and employees share stories of their experience regarding women’s rights, race rights and LGBT rights in Minnesota. The video narrated Cantus’ “America Will Be!” concert which focused on the victories and continuing struggle for those rights. For my part, I shared a story about my experience as a Latino person growing up in Minnesota.

Opening Night

On opening night, I watched the concert with curiosity on how our stories would be interwoven with the music. I sat in that moment listening and relating to the other stories in the video of how people have experienced assumptions and unconscious bias, similar to my own experiences.

Cantus put on an excellent show, bringing the topics of women’s rights, race rights and LGBT rights in Minnesota to audiences that may not have otherwise been engaged in these discussions.

Beginning to Engage with Racial Justice Topics

At the conclusion of the concert there was time allotted for audience members to engage with the performers and YWCA Racial Justice staff in a facilitated talk back session. There were a few questions around social justice issues and how to be more engaged, but were at the surface level of engagement. However, in a state that has some of the biggest racial disparity gaps in the country, we must go beyond surface level and engage in deep purposeful conversation.

Highlighting Complex Issues

YWCA Minneapolis’ Racial Justice Department works with individuals and organizations to look at the complex issues highlighted in Cantus’ concert, with the intention of understanding how the systemic policies and practices in Minnesota have contributed to those disparity gaps.

Help Along Your Journey

We meet people where they are in their journey and help broach the often uncomfortable subject of oppression. One of the ways we do this is by providing opportunities for individuals to engage in conversations about race through It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race™. Another is through racial justice workshops and consulting to help individuals and organizations find a way to be part of the solution. Since we are all part of this system, we also all need to be part of the solution.

Learn More About YWCA Racial Justice