It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race

Break through the barriers that perpetuate racism.

On November 5, 2014, the YWCA hosted the Twelfth Annual It's Time to Talk: Forums on RaceTM featuring keynote speaker RT Rybak, and introducing new initiatives to increase the sustained impact of this gathering of 1,200 leaders. Diverse leaders from business, education, arts and community service came together to move Minnesota forward through honest conversation and powerful action.

The strength of our future depends on our ability to develop new skills around inclusion and equity, understand the realities of racism today and to commit ourselves to action. 

Take Action
Corporations, nonprofit organizations, religious groups and schools have found participating in It's Time to Talk to be thought-provoking and inspirational. Based on feedback from attendees at previous events, you will leave inspired to personally take action to improve race relations at work, in the community, and with family and friends.

Make an Impact

12th Annual It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
View photos of the event.

Keynote Presentation: R.T. Rybak

R.T. Rybak began serving as the next executive director of Generation Next in early January 2014. R.T. served as mayor of Minneapolis from 2002-2013. During his tenure as mayor, R.T. has led efforts to make Minneapolis a national leader in innovative, cradle-to-career approaches to youth development, and has worked to highlight the crisis of our region's achievement gap and advance effective strategies for ending it.

As mayor, R.T. founded the Minneapolis Promise, an innovative cluster of coordinated efforts to get students college- and career-ready and put them on the path to success. The Minneapolis Promise says to young people that if they stay in school and focus on their education, Minneapolis will support them with high-quality summer jobs and work-readiness training through the STEP-UP program, counseling to help them plan a vision for their future at privately funded college and career centers in every Minneapolis public high school, and financial assistance to attend college through The Power of YOU, a collaboration between Saint Paul College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools.

R.T. has called STEP-UP the achievement of which he is the most proud. Since 2004, STEP-UP has put 18,000 Minneapolis youth -- 86% young people of color, 50% from immigrant families and 93% living in poverty -- to work in meaningful summer employment. The White House recognized STEP-UP as a national model for youth summer jobs at a conference that President Obama attended.

R.T. has been recognized as a national "Afterschool Champion" by the Afterschool Alliance not only for his leadership of the Minneapolis Promise, but for founding the Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, an innovative public-health approach that has dramatically lowered youth involvement in violent crime, for being a champion of the youth-led Minneapolis Youth Congress, and for his active involvement in Minneapolis' Youth Coordinating Board.

A Minneapolis native, R.T. Rybak spent almost 30 years working in journalism, the commercial real estate business, publishing and the Internet before being elected mayor in his first run for public office. He and his wife Megan O'Hara, a communications consultant and local-food advocate, have two grown children.