Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

St. Paul youth take a stand against racism

Posted on 09 June 2015 by Calvin

Great River School students come together to raise awareness about apathy and take action against injustice


IRace 2Every spring, Great River School takes a day to talk about the effects of race and racism in our society. The IRACE Summit, which stands for Identity, Racial Awareness, and Cultural Education, is a student-founded and student-planned event. The summit brings together the school’s community and works to create open dialogue about racism and social injustice.

In the wake of the National Black Lives Matter movement, this year’s summit was held in a context that created a broader outlook on how race affects our world. The response from the Summit has been overwhelmingly positive from both community members who participated in the event and the students in attendance.

Through the day’s theme of “Apathy, Action, and Awareness,” this year’s IRACE Summit was focused on exploring what it means to overcome apathy by raising awareness, and taking action.

IRace 1The student leaders who planned IRACE worked with community members from around the Twin Cities to bring together a wide array of thought-provoking workshops that the students attended. Local experts and activists led the workshops covering topics ranging from the Prison Industrial Complex to the basics of having a positive conversation about race to the effects of institutional discrimination.

Great River School brought in college professors, midwives, and activists from throughout the Twin Cities to contribute. The goal of the workshops was to:
—generate conversation to raise awareness about topics and issues related to race, racism, gender, or economic inequality;
—think about the apathy we have towards those issues as a community; and
—give the students the tools to foster action in response to their newfound awareness.

To continue the growth of IRACE and the development of long-lasting conversations about race in our communities, this year the summit incorporated two local keynote performances to start and end the day.

Mina Moore, a local R&B artist and activist, discussed the marginalization of people of color in the music industry, and performed multiple songs with her wonderful band.

Mu Daiko, a local drumming group, performed and talked about traditional Taiko drumming. Mu Daiko is part of a multifaceted performing arts company that focuses on giving voice to the stories and culture of Asian Americans. Each performance allowed our students to interact with performers and learn in a more exciting and meaningful way.

One goal of the summit was to ignite the flame of conversation amongst St. Paul youth to kindle a burning fire in the fight for racial justice through creating safe and comfortable space for discussion.

The IRACE Summit is based entirely on the work of volunteers in the student and surrounding communities. If you’re interested in helping plan or facilitating a workshop at the 2016 summit, contact Andrea Christensen at achristensen@greatriverschool.org.

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