The Ambassador Awards celebration, organized by the Facing Race We're all in this together® initiative of The Saint Paul Foundation, was created to recognize anti-racism leaders and promote the need for productive and open community‐wide conversations about race. "Racism plays a real role in creating and perpetuating inequity," says Rhodes. "And silence about racism prevents our community from making progress on this critical issue."
The Ambassador Awards will honor two longtime racial justice advocates: Dr. Josie Johnson, University of Minnesota Regent Emeriti, and Ellen O'Neill, Executive Director of the YWCA of Duluth. "Dr. Johnson and Ms. O'Neill have demonstrated remarkable leadership, personal sacrifice and commitment to making every member of their communities feel safe, valued and respected," says Rhodes. "We are honored to recognize their fight for racial equity."
Along with Ambassador Award recipients Johnson and O'Neill, three additional individuals nominated will receive honorable mention recognition for their efforts to end racial disparity in Minnesota. They include: Corinth Matera, teacher at Minneapolis South High School; Oluwaseyi Daniel Oyinloye, independent filmmaker and African American Students Program coordinator at the University of Minnesota Duluth; and Hli Xyooj, staff attorney for Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG).
The awards celebration will also feature a keynote address by Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. Dr. Pastor will discuss the dramatic demographic shifts currently underway in the U.S., and the gap between progress in racial attitudes and realities. He will offer a new set of strategies for both talking about race and achieving racial equity.
A reception with appetizers begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by a one-hour program and awards ceremony starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are free; RSVPs are required as seating is limited. RSVP at FacingRace.org or call 651.325.4265. Free parking is available in the Prom Center's parking lot. For more information visit FacingRace.org.