2017 Facing Race awards recipient Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood

2017 Facing Race awards recipient Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood


(intense music) – Power’s been used and abused, you know, within our community. Power’s about how are
resource is allocated. You know, we live in a
neighborhood and our work is in a neighborhood of, you
know, historic disinvestment, and that’s not by mistake, right, is that as we look at, you
know, the destruction of Rondo with the I-94, as we look at,
you know, the disinvestment, the lack of funding that
has gone into our schools. All of these things
have a cumulative effect on black, southeast Asian, Native American and Latino
families and children who live in our neighborhoods. So Saint Paul Promise
Neighborhood, when we think about equity or inequity,
we actually like to think about the education debt. There’s an invisible debt
that has been accrued, generations over generations
that is invisible, and when we talk about the achievement gap it’s really just like that’s the interest on that debt, right? Like the problems we’re facing
today aren’t necessarily new. This is around, developed through history. It’s developed through, you
know, many many many generations have lived in our neighborhood. – A lot of us have been
made to feel disposable and that we’re not important. And I think a big part of our work here in the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood is to challenge that message
and to challenge that narrative that we are disposable,
to work very arduously and very deeply with people in our schools and in our neighborhood to just remind them of their sacredness as people and as family members
and as community members and as parents and as
teachers and as principals. And as elders. – What makes a difference
here is that we’ve got cultural classes, cultural activity, and we’re partnered with organizations that culture is their primary
job, duty, and responsibility. It’s important to be you,
cause kids have to see a model. And they can’t be
something they can’t see. And if we incorporate our
culture into somebody else’s, that doesn’t give a sense of pride, and also doesn’t give you anyone that you can model yourself off. And also, you need to be
able to see beyond that. You can create a vision for
yourself with your culture and still be successful, and
children need to see that. Families need to see that as well. – My work in the school
has taught me a lot about life, from kids, believe it or not, from the child perspective. I’ve always done things for
kids, and I’ve never had the opportunity to have
kids be the main people that steer the things that I do. They are the most, they’re the
driving force for what we do. – I think the most inspiring
part of our work is our work with parents, right? Our parents are the greatest assets. They’re the first teachers
in our kids’ lives and, we’ve seen family members, you know, who went from homelessness
to home ownership. We’ve seen family members,
you know, who’ve gone from being, you know, jobless,
to having, getting a job. But I really think the
greatest inspiration about Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood is our parents being down,
you know, in the trenches of the state capital,
and demanding resources, for our neighborhood, and demanding that, for second chances, you
know, for folks who have been part of voter disenfranchisement. Down at the capital to say, we
need more housing resources. So really kind of looking
at how our parents serve as these powerful actors to reimagine sort of the possibilities. (upbeat music)

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