Insight News

Feb 07th

Seventh Annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards celebrate Minnesota Racial Equity Leaders

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The Saint Paul Foundation on April 29, 2013 will honor five anti-racism advocates at the seventh annual Facing Race Ambassador Awards at 6:00 p.m. at the Prom Event Center, located at 484 Inwood Avenue North, Oakdale, MN. "We are proud to host this annual event that celebrates the leadership and courage of individuals working to end racism in Minnesota," says Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of The Saint Paul Foundation. "We believe their work is vitally important to helping to end Minnesota's racial disparities and to ensure equal access and opportunity for all."

josie johnson 7761c v3ellen oneill 06corinthmatera headshotoyinloye daniel 6357hli xyooj  croppedThe 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 or call 651.325.4265. Free parking is available in the Prom Center's parking lot. For more information visit

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