Anti-Racism Initiative Finalists

The Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative recognizes an organization that actively engages audiences in anti-racism activities. Nominated organizations should:

  • Work to eliminate prejudice and racism in society;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pluralism and inclusivity; and
  • Develop unique and thought-provoking strategies to combat racism.
Voting for the 2022 Minnesota Nonprofit Mission Awards has closed. 

Anti-Racism Initiative Award

2022 Anti-Racism Initiative Finalists:

Liberty Community Church  |  Minnesota Freedom Fund  |  Think Small

Liberty Community Church - March Against Gun Violence

Liberty Community Church (Liberty) is working tirelessly to co-create environments where dreaming is common and access to what individuals and communities need is a reality. 

Liberty is the first and only African American-led Presbyterian congregation in Minnesota.  Liberty is led by Rev. Dr.’s Ralph and Alika Galloway, and was founded in 2002 utilizing the liberation motif of the historic African American Church and its action-reflection model.

Liberty’s mission is to co-create restorative and radical spaces and places of healing; their first operational value is to cherish and prioritize relationships. Liberty operates with a love ethic, which means they value relationships and see the healing power of knowing and tell their truths.

Their work includes intergenerational cultural celebration, welcoming and inclusive spiritual practices, comprehensive civic action, and the promotion of ancient healing modalities.  Liberty co-creates, building on the wisdom of community, from toddlers to elders, from the University of Minnesota, the Northside Achievement Zone, and 16 community partners.  Liberty co-creates Homeplaces based on the tradition of African Americans creating safe community spaces for healing. 

As a Homeplace, Liberty is able to adaptively respond to crisis and expand or shift programming to meet the ongoing needs of community. Their North Minneapolis community has a legacy of strength and resiliance, concurrently suffering from a lethal absence of hope, inequity, and violence. North Minneapolis has a history of racism and generational poverty caused by redlining, disinvestment, and over-surveillance, which has created a climate of cross generational racialized trauma and intersectional racialized oppression.

Liberty’s community initiatives are the Northside Healing Space (NHS) which serves over 2,000 individuals each year and the 21st Century Academy which serves over 250 children and their families.  The 21st Century Academy helps prepare K-12 Northside scholars to be fearless global ambassadors of radical hope and power, eliminate generational poverty, and promote community and environmental healing.

NHS is open seven days a week and serves the Northside community and all who suffer from the impact of racialized trauma, generational poverty, and exploitation, including those who are victims of the commercial sex trade. The strategies we use to combat racism, oppression, and exploitation are rest, remembrance, resistance, and revival.

Liberty offers high-impact historical trauma recognition and healing centered engagement through active listening, mindfulness, story sharing, resiliency, perseverance, and embracing cultural healing techniques.   Offerings at NHS include: Organic gardening, community crafting, planetary health, yoga, survivor healing circles, birthing justice and maternal health, mental health support, support for food and housing, financial education and support, acupuncture, entrepreneurship, Sankofa, resource referrals – and space for our partners to offer programming that supports community healing.

NHS is an outgrowth of work stemming from two streams of participatory research in the early 2000s. Liberty listened and provided support to survivors and people involved in the sex trade, while a community-based research team, now at the University of Minnesota, was doing participatory action research in Minneapolis with survivor-leaders.  From these intersectional efforts NHS was co-created and launched in 2007.

Liberty Community Church and Rev. Dr.’s Galloway are the driving force behind Liberty’s work to eliminate prejudice and racism in society; demonstrate a commitment to pluralism and inclusivity; and develop unique and thought-provoking co-created strategies to combat racism.

With their community and partners Liberty is co-creating restorative and radical spaces and places of healing; Liberty is building the beloved community. 

Minnesota Freedom Fund

The mission of the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) is to end oppressive jailing by paying criminal bails and immigration bonds for people who cannot afford them while we work on the local, state, and national levels to end or transform the current pre-trial and immigrant detention systems. The organization’s programs serve immigrants detained across the state and region and people jailed pre-trial in Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington, Scott, and Carver Counties.

The racial disparities in Minnesota’s pre-trial detention system are severe. Compared to white Minnesotans, Black, brown, and Indigenous Minnesotans are more likely to be stopped and searched by police; more likely to be arrested; more likely to be assigned bail as a condition of pre-trial release; more likely to be assigned a high bail amount; and more likely, because of all these factors, to be jailed pre-trial: Black people represent seven percent of the state population but 31 percent of people in jails; Indigenous people represent one percent of the state population but eight percent of people in jails.

Immigrants detained by ICE face a similarly dire situation. Black and brown immigrants are more likely to be arrested and detained, less likely to be made eligible for immigration bonds, and more likely to have a bond set in an excessive amount. These disparities lead to more Black and brown immigrants being jailed indefinitely and subjected to abuse and COVID exposure and illness while incarcerated. MFF seeks to alleviate those disparities by paying bonds and supporting clients after their release.

Because MFF’s vision is to bring about a world where justice restores the humanity of all involved, in October the organization added a Post-Release Program to supplement the bail and immigration bond programs. Staffed by professionals with backgrounds in mental health and chemical dependency, some of whom are themselves formerly incarcerated, MFF’s Post-Release Team works through a trauma-informed, housing-first lens to connect clients with essential resources after they are released. These are resources and services proven to promote safety and well-being and to prevent future arrests, like housing, transportation, childcare, healthy food, and treatment for mental health and chemical dependency struggles.   

MFF’s work in these areas is innovative because it aims not only to blunt the material harms of a racist system, but also to operate in ways that increase public safety and community well-being. Research has shown that even a few days in pre-trial detention can have catastrophic effects regardless of a person’s guilt or innocence: people jailed pre-trial are at risk of losing housing, employment, and social support, making it more likely – not less – that they will be arrested again for a future offense.

Since January 2021, MFF has paid 823 criminal bails totaling $6,817,363, resulting in 707 people freed from pre-trial jailing who would have otherwise lost employment, housing, family support, and been more vulnerable to coercive plea deals. They have also paid more than 35 immigration bonds paid for a total amount of more than $300,000.

Think Small

Minnesota has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation when comparing white children to children of color. Think Small works to close that gap by prioritizing investments in early childhood, and ensuring that staff are equipped to provide the highest quality experiences based upon national research in best practice classroom policy, leadership and instruction, and they do so at a rate of 22,000 participants annually.   

Think Small’s goals include: preparing child care providers, including providers of color and English Language Learners, to support children’s development with high-quality programs, helping low-income families access financial child care supports, and leading advocacy efforts and systems change work to dismantle racism in early childhood and ensure all children can develop to their fullest potential. Think Small uniquely addresses these goals by providing high quality training and resources, often at little or no cost to participants, throughout the seven county greater Twin Cities area.

By championing policies and practices of equity that make training accessible to everyone, they encourage growth in every facet of the childcare industry which is especially important in communities that have been minoritized or historically underinvested in.

Think Small has worked to promote greater quality in the child care experience of all children and families, but specifically champions policies that are most beneficial to children of color. As an organization, Think Small has made a commitment to promoting forward thinking policy that makes a greater impact on those who most need it, and has shown their dedication to furthering these goals in the following ways:

  • In 2021,Candace Yates, the Strategic Leader of Equity and Quality Supports began working with staff to improve equity, diversity, and cross-cultural inclusion programs. By establishing higher quality practices and identifying steps necessary to remove any barriers that may have been affecting staff retention and advancement for people of color in the workforce. In the past 18 months, Think Small has launched two separate learning initiatives, the first focused on embracing equity, and later a second initiative entitled The Racial Healing Handbook.
  • Think Small hosts a series of in-person panel discussions called Small Talks, geared toward raising awareness of gaps that exist within the childcare industry. This speaker series draws more than 500 attendees per year and spotlights local and national industry leaders, who aim to bring about change in the field. Their efforts to address racism and equity amongst children of color is shown in several Small Talks sessions specifically. In the last 12 months they hosted Addressing Implicit Bias in Early Childhood a session focused on exploring what implicit bias looks like in an early childhood setting and specific practices for circumventing it.
  • ‘Early Risers’ is a podcast from Little Moments Count and MPR with frank facts, engaging stories and real how-tos for anyone who cares about raising children with a clear-eyed understanding of cultural differences, race and implicit bias. It is hosted by Think Small’s Executive Leader of Family Engagement, Dianne Haulcy. Launched in 2021, Season 1 had 6 episodes with over 20,000 downloads. Season 2 is underway and will include a live event, ‘Remembering George Floyd: How to Talk to Young Children about Racialized Trauma and Healing”.