When talking publicly about racism, tempers flair, people's comfort levels are stressed and tensions are high. There are ways to harness this energy to make some positive changes and avoid tense encounters. Seminar speaker, Gita Kar, who works with the Asian and Hmong communities in the Twin Cities, says community leaders can become more effective and compassionate if they use the power of their position to mobilize others.
Kar, a Minnesota Humanities Commission Scholar, uses the principles of non-violence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi to teach leadership techniques. These skills were learned from her father, Ranchhodlal Amritlal, who for years served and worked closely with Gandhi.
"Leadership is not a right, but a responsibility," Kar said. "If you are understanding of people, if you share your power, you give power to those you lead."
That power fosters self confidence, respect and determination, creating a strong sense of humanity and morality in those affected.
Kar has shared her leadership training course with thousands of people over the last three years and continues to carry on her father's tradition of fostering non-violence. She also uses conflict-resolution techniques to give students in St. Paul schools solutions to creative stories they write. She came to Minnesota from India 15 years ago. She has attended Bombay University and the University of Minnesota.
Creating Trust Between Cops, Courts and Minorities
In every facet of the justice system, people make decisions that affect other peoples' lives. The exercise of discretion from a police officer's decision to stop and charge a person to final decisions made by a judge in a case, can be affected by feelings of bias and prejudice.
Those who work in the court system must learn more about how bias can affect decisions and about the communities of color who come into contact with the courts. Law enforcement agencies and our courts should also reflect the diversity of the people who they serve.
District Court Judge Salvador M. Rosas was the co-vice chair of the Minnesota Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force and is currently a member of the Supreme Court's Implementation Committee on Multicultural Diversity and Fairness in the courts and the Minnesota Court Interpreter Advisory Committee. Before joining the bench he worked for various public service agencies dedicated to representing the poor and minorities in criminal cases. Rosas frequently speaks on bias in the justice system and he is an advocate for measures that insure that the courts provide "justice for all."
Understanding Comes From Healing the Soul
Jack Brightnose, known as Wounded Wolf, a gifted spiritual teacher of the Cree Nation, says it is not enough to just educate people that racism hurts others; the oppressed also need to heal.
"Racism is oppression and brutal human isolation of individuals," Jack Brightnose says. "A lot of things happen to oppressed people that we don't see."
Oppressions causes people to feel shame about their cultures. They block the shame and no longer stay in touch with morality.
Hope abounds for the oppressed, Brightnose says. They can find their voice and imaginations again; they can be empowered.
Brightnose will take you into the realms of startling self discovery as he integrates indigenous and western wisdom for cross-cultural unity, transcendent values and harmony of humanity and nature.
Brightnose combines western psychology and North American Indian cosmology to help people understand the causes of community, family and individual breakdowns.
Born and raised on the Cross Lake Indian Reservation, in Manitoba. He now lives in Erhard, Minn., where his counseling service, Wounded Wolf International is stationed.
Education Ends Racism, Fosters Unity and Respect
John M. Taborn
To rid our communities of racism we must educate our masses about differing people in our city and be inclusive of other cultures.
"What we are trying to do here is create a climate and format for constructive dialogue between the races," John M. Taborn said, who is a member of the Diversity Foundation Board.
Taborn, a licensed psychologist, a professor of educational psychology and former chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, at the University of Minnesota, currently is the president of J.Taborn Associates, Inc., a psychological services firm. He is a diversity, race relations, mental health and multicultural education consultant to groups in the public and private sectors.
His teaching research and publications reflect his interest in personal and organizational functioning, mental health and the impacts of racism and other forms of discrimination. A retired captain of the U.S. Navy, Taborn is listed in "Who's Who in the Midwest," Who's who among Black Americans, Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans," and the "National Registrar of Health Service Providers in Psychology."
Dr. John M. Taborn received a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University, a master's degree from the University of Illinois and a doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota. As a Bush Leadership Fellow he performed post-doctorate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Business.
About the Seminar
The Honorable Salvador M. Rosas, Minnesota Second Judicial District court judge, serves on numerous state and national race relations committees and addresses these issues in law enforcement and the courts.
Dr. John M. Taborn, a licensed psychologist, professor of educational psychology, and former chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota, discusses the ways to create a climate and format for constructive dialogue between the races.
Gita Kar, a Minnesota Humanities Commission Scholar, uses the principles of non-violence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi to teach leadership techniques. These skills were learned from her father, who for years served and worked closely with Gandhi.
Jack Brightnose, better known as Wounded Wolf, a gifted spiritual teacher of the Cree Nation. Participants will explore the realms of startling self discovery as Brightnose integrates indigenous and western wisdom for cross-cultural unity, transcendent values and harmony of humanity and nature.
The statewide conferences will also include multi-cultural entertainers, including artists, comedians, storytellers and musicians. Why Attend: The Diversity Foundation, Inc., network of resources aims to motivate, educate, enlighten and entertain communities across Minnesota, bridging gaps between people of all cultures and ethnicity.
This two-day seminar will provide insight and possible solutions to concerns that come with managing growing diversity. As more people of color fill the streets, shops and homes of a community, the city's leaders can actively turn their new diversity into opportunities.
The seminar has been endorsed by the St. Cloud Mayor's Office, the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota League of Human Rights, St. Cloud State University and several minority organizations.