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YWCA Minneapolis Racial Justice and Public Policy Team
Vice President of Racial Justice and Public Policy
Rubén Vázquez is Vice President of Racial Justice and Public Policy at YWCA Minneapolis, responsible for overall leadership and strategy for YWCA Minneapolis Race Equity and Public Policy programs in support of YWCA Minneapolis' mission, vision and goals, in the areas of: quality program and event delivery, program development, implementation and evaluation and budget development and management. Rubén represents YWCA Minneapolis on racial justice and public policy related issues both locally and nationally. Rubén joined YWCA Minneapolis in November 2017 as its Racial Equity & Public Policy Strategist, which provided strategic leadership, proactively built community partnerships and managed the seamless integration of YWCA Minneapolis race equity initiatives among partners and members.
As an immigrant from Mexico 35 years ago, Rubén has been committed to working with unrepresented communities to help them become a primary stakeholder in their community. His philosophy is that diversity is what makes us different, inclusion is how we incorporate those differences that yield stronger organizations and communities. He comes to YWCA Minneapolis with an array of experience in social justice, advocacy, civic engagement, community base initiatives and fighting for racial equity within the legal field. Rubén has experience in nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors.
Rubén holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Hamline University and a Certificate in Global Arbitration Law & Practice from Hamline Law School & Queen Mary University, London, England. Rubén is an active member in several organizations in both his immediate community and throughout the Twin Cities. Rubén and Sarah have been married for over 15 years and have two children ages 13 and 10. Rubén and his family live in New Brighton, MN.
Ruthie Johnson is YWCA's Consulting Manager. In this role she is responsible for race equity consulting business procurement and delivery.
Ruthie comes to the YWCA Minneapolis from the higher education sector. In academia, the saying goes "you are what you study," and for Ruthie this is true. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Intercultural Communication. Her research focuses on multicultural identity and is fueled by her experience living in diverse communities.
Ruthie was raised in Miami and is from a multiracial family. She has used her cross-cultural skills community organizing, doing multicultural programming in Higher Ed and helping organizations grow and celebrate diversity. She also serves on the Equity Advisory Committee for the Metropolitan Council and is a 2017 cohort member in Wilders' Community Equity Pipeline.
Deqa Sayid is YWCA's Training Coordinator. In this role she is responsible for the recruitment, planning, implementation and development of the Racial Justice Facilitator program.
Prior to joining YWCA Minneapolis, Deqa worked with Minneapolis Public Schools as a Family and School Advocate where she oversaw efforts to address and overcome incoming community complaints relating to school operations. She brings over 16 years of community service experience and a wealth of relevant education to YWCA Minneapolis. Deqa has worked with diverse communities at San Diego State University, the University of Minnesota and the International Rescue Committee.
Deqa holds a Mastery Certificate from Harvard Medical School in Global Mental Health and Refugee Trauma. She also holds a Master’s in Education—with a concentration on multi-cultural counseling—from San Diego State University, and a BA in Psychology from California State University-San Marcos.
Racial Justice Coordinator
Liz Dwinnell is YWCA's Racial Justice Coordinator. In this role she is responsible for leading the logistics of It’s Time to Talk: Forums on RaceTM, other event planning activities and administrative work for the department.
Liz joins the YWCA Minneapolis with over seven years of experience working in the nonprofit sector as a fundraising and event coordinator. Her work with nonprofits, combined with nearly two decades working in the restaurant industry, has provided her with a high level of customer service and event management expertise.
Liz is a graduate of Saint Olaf College with a B.A. in Art History. She’s an active volunteer with Ready for Success. In her down time, she is an avid yogi and enjoys spending time with her dog, Dharma.
Racial Justice and Public Policy Strategist
James serves as the Racial Justice and Public Policy Strategist for YWCA Minneapolis.
In his 15 years as a political and community organizer he has served as a successful campaign manager, political strategist and trainer. He has created issue-focused organizations and coalitions and was responsible for the creation of over $100,000 of diversity programming for the University of Wisconsin. More recently James led the Community Equity Pipeline (CEP). CEP engaged and developed organizers and nonprofit professionals of color to advocate for their own communities at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Additionally, James has served as a legislative staffer for the Minnesota State Senate and the Legislative Affairs Coordinator for Minnesota’s largest health insurance provider during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.