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Hopkins Race & Equity Initiative

Hopkins Race & Equity Initiative is a collaborative effort creating opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of race, equity and diversity, and promoting a sense of community that welcomes and values all residents. Members include Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins Police, and Gethsemane Lutheran Church. 

Recent Events

HREI Update
Pastor John Nelson and Pastor Sarah Moat

We wanted to give you an update on the amazing work we are accomplishing together through our partnership in the Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative. 

1.  Mini Grants
Last year HREI was awarded an Innovation in Leadership Award from the Humphrey Institute which came with a $5,000 gift. The team wanted to pay it forward to inspire others in our community to continue the conversation of this good work in their context. Wanting to focus on the needs and concerns of our youth, we put out the word that we would offer mini grants to any local organization needing resources to hold creative conversations about race and equity in their group. 
We had several requests and awarded seven grants: 
  • The Hopkins Early Learning Center held Cultural Connections field trips.
  • Hopkins North Junior High held a student and parent movie and book club event about race.
  • Meadowbrook Elementary and Kaleidoscope Preschool each created Community Awareness through Play activities.
  • West and North Junior High schools created three classes on Community Humility as a Framework for Learning Across Differences.
  • The district hired Alison Swiggum as a secondary music staff person in the Music in Residency Program.
  • Shafi’l Tutoring & Homework Help licensed three teachers to assist immigrant students. 
The creativity and depth of ways these groups brought this topic to bear are not only impressive but hopeful. Together, the impact we are making is not just for a healthier community, but for a better world. 

2.  Regional Leadership Summit
We do not exist in isolated communities but live, work, and play in many different places. This is why our HREI team felt it was important to bring together the various leaders from our surrounding communities to share the importance of the topic of race and equity so that all may thrive. In unprecedented fashion we were able to bring to the table the Mayors, City Managers, Chief of Police, Superintendent of Schools, HR Directors, Public Works Directors, Equity Leaders, Faith Leaders, and other community leaders from Hopkins, Edina, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie. Together we were able to learn the importance of civic leaders taking the lead on this issue and creating awareness in our institutions and communities. Individuals were able to share with their direct counterparts what is working in their communities and what they are struggling with. Each has a unique context but together we can hold each other accountable and be encouraged to do the hard work of creating a place for all to belong. We have a long way to go but it gives us great hope to watch our leaders work together and support one another in this effort.

3.  Community Conversation on Race
HREI hosted our fifth community conversation in October on how to be an ally in the struggle against racial bias. We all naturally have bias, but when our bias leads us to snap decisions about another person due to race we not only do ourselves an injustice, but often harm our neighbor. To be an ally is to be self-aware and to support those marginalized by bias. We gathered a large group at Eisenhower Community Center on Oct 10 to talk about how we can best do this together. It begins by listening and recognizing where we need to grow ourselves. 

HREI Wins Local Government Innovation Award
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota named 19 projects as recipients of its 12th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA).

From streamlined dispatch of emergency responders and childcare licensing services, to breakthrough conversations about race and county-tribal collaborations, local governments in Minnesota are finding creative ways to deliver services to their residents with greater impact and at lower cost. 

The awards program is organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation and its Native Nation Building Initiative; and co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Association of Townships and the Minnesota School Boards Association.

In the Public School Category: Hopkins Public Schools, City of Hopkins, and Gethsemane Church — won with their Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative.

The Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative is a collaborative effort creating opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of race, equity, and diversity while promoting a sense of community that welcomes and values all residents. The initiative, which was formed in 2015, has offered five community conversations on race and equity topics to address and unravel social constructs specifically designed to promote and exclude particular racial groups.

The four Leading Innovators for 2018 will receive a grant from the Bush Foundation to continue their work, and a professionally produced video to use for marketing and awareness. The winners in the city, county, and school categories will receive a $5,000 grant. The Local Government and Native Nations Collaboration Award winner will receive a $10,000 grant.

“This year, like every other, we’re struck by the innovation that’s happening in Minnesota. It’s always evolving, which is inspiring for the judges to see,” says Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School’s Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center and LGIA program lead. “The exciting part is sharing all of this innovation with the broader community in hopes that they see opportunities in these innovative models to apply to their own communities.”