Creator & Director of programs for youth and families challenged by poverty
A former outstanding running back for Colorado State University that led to a legendary nine-year career as a running back for the Minnesota Vikings that included seven NFL Division championships, along with 3 Super Bowl appearances. Mr. Reed later served 15 years as youth programs director for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. He is now director of the Community Empowerment and Prevention Program in Minneapolis, and a consultant on the circle process for preventing violence and resolving conflict. With fellow Viking legend Jim Marshall, he is co-founder of a youth and family service agency, Lifes Missing Link, Inc. He has an extensive background in the Native American restorative justice program, and in leading programs for youth development, employment and pre-apprenticeship, as well as many other experiences related to volunteerism, community Public Relations and charitable fund-raising.
Sgt. Singleton, after 25+ years of experience serving in the patrol, investigative and administrative divisions of the St. Paul Police Department retired and began work in Washington with Homeland Security. In addition to being one of the first African American females in Minnesota law enforcement, she was also selected to serve as one of first female field training officers for 10 of those years. Prior to graduating from the St. Paul Police Academy, Ms. Singleton received a scholarship to study communication at Macalester College. She has since completed the criminal justice program at the College of St. Thomas and is continuing to pursue her Education in Business Management at the University of Minnesota.
Active in church and community, Mamie is founder (1994) and director of the Youth Initiative Mentoring Academies (YIMA) which partners adult law enforcement and community mentors with at-risk youth in tutoring and aviation flight training; In addition, shes a founding member of the Ramsey County Community Sentencing Program, co-founder of the African American Breast Cancer Alliance of Minnesota; board member of the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians and of the American Cancer Society, Advisory Board president at the Free At Last Church of God in Christ and assistant to the St. Paul Central District missionary of her denomination. The St. Paul Urban League and Free at Last church honored her with their prestigious Community Service and Millennium Awards for outstanding service. Recently St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly presented Sgt. Singleton with the City's Karl Neid award for 2002, given annually to the City's top employee who does the most for the entire community through their off-duty public service.
Betty Smith Rochester, MN
Betty Jean (Ives) Smith was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota. She has been employed at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center for the past 25 years. She recently completed her two year college degree in Supervisory Management while working full time and attending night classes! She is currently pursuing her four year degree.
She first learned about the Diversity Foundation when she attended the 1st annual Winona Dakota Homecoming while she sat listening to the beautiful flute music played by Bryan Akipa during the Sunday service. Little did she know she was listening to one of her long lost cousin’s from Sisseton, South Dakota! The Winona-Dakota Homecoming was co-sponsored by the city of Winona and the Diversity Foundation.
Betty’s mother (Nora Jetty Ives) was born on the Spirit Lake Reservation in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She and many of her siblings were educated At St. Michael’s Little Flower School, Fort Totten Government Boarding School and Marty (SD) Indian boarding schools. Like so many Native American men had done, Nora and her sister, Sarah Jetty Hoven, left the “Rez” and joined the Navy during WWII, and worked in Washington, DC.
After her Mother’s death in 2001, Betty and her sisters (Shirley and Pam) began researching their family history. They realized their mom was never really proud to be Native American, due to her negative Indian boarding school experiences. They have since located and met many more relatives at the Sisseton-Wahpeton, South Dakota and Spirit Lake, North Dakota reservations. Betty discovered her great-great-great grandmother; Anna Jetty Williams Siyakka (Hunka) was a well-respected Dakota Sioux Indian princess who married a French Canadian fur trader prior to the Minnesota 1862 Dakota Uprising and Exile. Betty says “Without my Hunka’s determination to keep her children safe during and after the U.S.- Dakota War, we would not be alive today. She is my inspiration!”
Her family history blends both Norwegian and Native American heritage, so their upbringing is somewhat unique. Growing up in Rochester, they never really learned much about their Native American heritage. They now feel like sponges trying to soak up the rich history and culture missing from their childhood experiences. They have learned many things from their new-found relatives that were not part of their public school education in southern Minnesota. After beginning to learn the history of her ancestors and the autrocities that they endured, she is striving to help educate others and “helping bridge the gap” in her local communities.
After beginning to learn about the history of her ancestors and the attrocities they endured, she has joined the Diversity Foundation's board and is striving to help bring cultural awareness by "bridging the gap" in Rochester and South Eastern Minnesota. The Diversity Foundation appreciates Betty Smith in joining our efforts.
Mette Greising Rochester, MN
Mette Greising a lifelong resident of the Rochester community. She graduated from Mayo High School. Mette has an Associate’s Degree from Rochester Community & Technical College. More recently, she earned a Bachelor’sdegree in Technical Management from DeVry University and graduated Magna Cum Laude this pastFebruary (2012). she has worked for the Mayo Clinic most of her adult career in various progressive rolesranging from secretarial to management. She left Mayo Clinic for a shorttime to pursue a position offering more direct community involvement. This position was with theRochester Downtown Alliance, where she worked from August 2008 to September 2009 as the SpecialEvents Coordinator. She handled planning/logistics for events in the downtown area the year that thepopular “Thursday’s on First” event doubled in size and gained a great deal of appreciation for volunteercoordination. After recognizing that she needed a better work-life balance, she left RDA and returned to MayoClinic.
Her interests, skills and work background include project management, communications,logistics/operations, and diversity in business. She was also a volunteer member of the planning committeefor the 2008 Chamber of Commerce Diversity in Business Conference. Currently, She is a member of theMayo Clinic Celebrate Dakota! Diversity Networking Group, and is now a member of the boardfor the Diversity Foundation of Minnesota. In addition, she is a volunteer member of the RochesterHealthy Community Partnership which meets Tuesday evenings at the Hawthorne Center.
She only learned about the history of her people as an adult, and since her grandmother was taken from her mother on the reservation and forced into a Catholic boarding school to be “assimilated” as a small child, neither her grandmother,her mother nor herself ever had any of the Dakota culture or traditions taught or passed down to them. Unfortunately, since her grandmother and aunts/uncles all come from “mixed blood” and since, historically, those of mixed blood have notbeen readily accepted by either part of society (white vs. Native), her family basically has not had a culture to identify with at all for over three generations. This has created a disconnect in the way she feels about fitting into any community, which she says makes her very sad. This is why she is getting involved in things to help educate herself about her lost culture, as well as reaching out to help causes/communities who need it most today.
Although she says that she is sickened by the organized assaults and conquests against Native American peoples by previous European generations, she strongly believes that the “us-them” conversation needs tochange in order for cultural healing to occur among all those impacted.
She goes on to say "The injustices that have occurred need to be acknowledged and corrected, but we must all be careful to respectone another’s desire to help and not blame the crimes of the past on people today. Racism and intolerance for other cultures still existsin America today, but the power behind them is dwindling because we as a society do know better!Although this is very painful and uncomfortable for many to discuss or revisit for various reasons, it is critical for us (humanity) to move forward;we cannot continue to sweep history under the rug or ignore it as a society if we want to get anywhere."