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Patricia Torres Ray made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the Minnesota State Senate. She is currently representing Senate District 62 in South Minneapolis.
Torres Ray studied law at the University of Nariño in Colombia and received her undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She also holds a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute.
She began her career with the State of Minnesota eighteen years ago as the Ombudsperson for Families. She was later recruited by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to serve as the program administrator responsible for coordinating child welfare, English assistance, cultural competency and early childhood services.
At the Minnesota Senate, Torres Ray serves on the Education Committee; the Jobs and Economic Growth Committee; and the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee. Areas of interest include education, health care, and economic equality.
Philip C. Chinn is a Professor Emeritus in the Division of Special Education, California State University, Los Angeles. He served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director for Minority Concerns (now Diversity Affairs) at the Council for Exceptional Children from 1978-1984. He also served as the Director of the California State University, Los Angeles Center for Multicultural Education until his retirement.
He is the co-author, with Donna M. Gollnick, of Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, Merrill Publishing Company, (Seventh Edition, In Press). He has also co-authored two texts in special education, and numerous textbook chapters. Until his recent retirement, he served on the NCATE Board of Examiners, served as vice-president of NAME, and as a Commissioner on the California State Advisory Commission on Special Education.
He served as co-editor of Multicultural Perspectives, the journal of NAME 1997-2001. He is a recipient of the National Association for Bilingual Education President’s Award, and the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education’s Advocate for Justice Award. In 2002, NAME honored him by naming their Multicultural Book Award in his name.
Carl A. Grant is Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University Wisconsin-Madison. He is a former classroom teacher and administrator, and has spent time in England as a Fulbright Scholar.He was President of the NAME from 1993-1999. He was also Editor of Review of Educational Research from 1996-1999, and served as a member of the National Research Council Committee on Assessment and Teacher Quality from 1999-2001.
In 1990 the Association of Teacher Educators selected Dr. Grant as one of the 70 Leaders in Teacher Education. In 1997 he received the School of Education Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2001 he received the G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator Award from NAME and the Angela Davis Race, Gender, and Class Award from the Race, Gender, and Class Project.
Some of Dr. Grant’s recent publications include – Grant, C.A. (2003). An education guide to diversity in the classroom. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; Grant, C.A. & Lei, Joy L. (2001). Global construction of multicultural education: Theories and realities. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum; Grant, C.A. & Sleeter, C.E. (2003). Turning on learning: Five approaches for multicultural teaching plans for race, class, gender, and disability (3rd edition). New York: Wiley and Grant, C.A. & Sleeter, CE (2003). Making choices for multicultural education: Five approaches to race, class and gender (4th edition). New York: Wiley. His book, Global Constructions of Multicultural Education: Theories and Realities (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001) received the Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award from NAME.
Carl A. Grant’s website: http://www.wisc.edu/ci/faculty/grant.htm
For more than 12 years Michael Reyes, has brought innovative and engaging performance to audiences across America and internationally! Reyes is a Chicano /Mexicano poet, emcee, actor, playwright, artist and community orga¬nizer (specializing in youth development). His combination of hip-hop, poetry and spoken word create a unique blend, where his narratives are infused into a rhythmically crowd pleasing performance. As a hip hop artist his work is a synthesis of radical soul, raw lyrical hip-hop, fresh beats and poetic style.
A leading voice in progressive and radical music, Reyes combines cultural stories of resistance, raw hip-hop and inspiring poems, to reach youth and elders alike. His work chal¬lenges and confronts the many social ills faced by communities of color. He has shared the stage nationally and internationally with many poets, artists and activists such as historical figures: Lolita Lebrón and Delores Huerta; poets: Tato Laviera, Pe¬dro Pietri and La Bruja; and musical artists such as: Roy Brown, Dead Prez, Boca Floja, Siete Nueve, and Grammy Award winner Malik Yusef.
As a poet and an artist he has been featured on HBO Latino’s Habla Series, nation¬ally on Latin Nation and the PBS documentary Dream Makers. He has released three novels of poetry and three performance CDs. His work has also been featured nationally in many magazines, anthologies and newspapers. Reyes has additionally worked with established in-stitutions including: Chicago Public Radio, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Museum Of Contemporary Art and the Poetry Center of Chicago.
As an actor, his credits include roles in Miguel Piñero’s famed play, The Sun Always Shines for the Cool, Urban Poet, Why Are U Running? Chicago Boricua, Public Theater’s 365 Project written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and the feature film Nothing Like the Holidays starring John Leguizamo and Debra Messing.
He has worked directly with famed NuYorican poet Tato Laveria on three productions titled The Spark, Chupacabera and the 1977 Division Street Riots; as part of his work with Laveria, Reyes has served, both as an actor and a director.
Currently Reyes is touring the country with his play Crime Against Humanity, co-wrote by former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Luis Rosa. Multitalented Reyes has played the role of actor, writer and director for the play. Crime Against Humanity has received tremendous community support and has completed several tours in the past year. He is also touring with his latest mixtape titled My Word Is My Weapon taking him as far as Spain.
Mwalimu J. Shujaa is professor of education and dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Southern University at New Orleans, LA. He holds an Ed.D. in Anthropology of Education (Social & Philosophical Foundations) from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
Dr. Shujaa was the founding executive director of African World Studies Institute at Fort Valley (Georgia) State University and led that institution’s effort to successfully launch a new degree program in that field. He held joint appointments in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the Graduate School of Education and in the Department of African American studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also was principal investigator of two Cross Hemispheric Partnership projects targeting the teaching of Afro-Brazilian culture and history and funded by the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Office and the United States Agency for International Development.
His scholarly interests focus on the intersections between schooling, education and culture; African centered education; and educational policy. He is also a former editor of the journal Educational Policy. His books, Beyond Desegregation: The Politics of Quality in African-American Schooling (Corwin Press, 1996) and Too Much Schooling, Too Little Education: A Paradox of, B1ack Life in White Societies (Africa World Press, 1994) are widely cited. Currently, he is Co-General Editor, with his daughter Kenya J. Shujaa, of the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, scheduled for publication by SAGE Reference in January 2015.
Mwalimu J. Shujaa has consulted on matters related to the inclusion of the African experience in curricula and teachers’ professional learning for the Community School District 17 in Brooklyn, NY; the Columbus, OH Public Schools; Chicago Public Schools; Center for Applied Cultural Studies and Educational Achievement at San Francisco State University; the Buffalo, NY Public Schools; and the Erie County, NY BOCES among others. Most recently, he has directed international development projects in Brazil related to the preparation of teachers to implement that country’s 2003 law that requires Afro-Brazilian history and culture to be taught at all levels of schooling – basic to university.
He is the co-founder of two independent, African-centered schools: Afrikan People’s Action School in Trenton, NJ in 1976, and the Nile Valley Shule in Buffalo, NY in 1991, and the former Executive Officer of the Council of Independent Black Institutions (990-2001) His accomplishments have earned him several awards which include the following: New Jersey Association of Black Educators’ “Outstanding Black Educator Award” in 1986; Graduate School of Education at the State University of New York at Buffalo “Dedicated Educator Award” in 1999; and the National Black United Front “Outstanding Educator Award” in 2000.
Ka Vang was born in Long Cheng, Laos, and came the United States of America as a child. Currently, she works for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office in the Diversity and Equity division. She is also a playwright, fiction writer and poet, and recipient of the Archibald Bush Artist Fellowship and several other literary fellowships and grants.
Her work has published in several anthologies including "Riding Shotgun:Women Write about their Mothers," "Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories" "Charlie Chan is Dead 2: At Home In The World," "Bamboo Among the Oaks," and, "How do I begin: A Hmong American Anthology.
Terry Cheng is a senior Server Software Engineer at Wells Fargo Bank in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who has more than 25 years of experience in the information Technology field with strong focus on Server Operating Systems, Enterprise Software Engineering Standards and deployment automation. He joined Wells Fargo in July 2000.
He has been in United States for 30 years. He has great passion and energy to workon leadership development programs, mentoring programs and human capital programs in Asian community members, making communication better, establishing community ambassadors to build bridges to local communities and preparing young Asian professionals for coming decades as leaders.
He has been involved with Wells Fargo Asian Connection team member network group and served on the Minnesota Diversity Council as the education task lead and supporting members of mentoring program and Career Development program at Wells Fargo. He founded Wells Fargo Boomers Connection Minnesota in November 2007 to address the challenges of the team members of this vast baby boomer generation and the challenges of the generations to follow. He served as Team Member Engagement officer on Asian Connection Enterprise Leadership Team for a short period of time. In April 2012, he founded Wells Fargo Twin Cities Running Club to strengthen and promote Wells Fargo's brand and community involvement at running events around the Twin Cities that Wells Fargo sponsors or those in which Wells Fargo team members voluntarily participate. In the community, Terry co-founded Minnesota Council Asian Network; he also served as a board member of Downtown YMCA and Chinese American Academic and Professional Association in Minnesota. He was appointed by Governor Pawlenty in 2007 as a member of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. He will serve as chair for Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans in November 2010. He completed his 6-year citizen service as member for Plymouth Advisory Committee on Transit and now is appointed by Hennepin County Justice to serve as Plymouth City Charter Commission member.
Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. She is graduate from Metro State University with a degree in Dakota Art and Culture and a minor in business, and is currently pursuing her advanced degree. For these past years and currently, she coordinates and directs the Indian Education Program at ISD279 Osseo Area School District. The purpose of this Indian Education Program is to enhance the cultural identity of the Native Child and promote post-secondary options. Ramona's greatest accomplishment is being the mother of her two children, Jillian and Reuben. Her greatest love is making plains style moccasins; she believes that this is not only a traditional show covering, but a representation of the path we choose to walk in this life. "As indigenous people today, we have to walk in two worlds and be successful in both. If we use our Native Identity and traditional values as a foundation, we can walk forward into the future with confidence and success."
James Bonilla is an Associate Professor, School of Business. James Francisco Bonilla is an internationally recognized consultant on diversity in higher education, multicultural organzational development and diversity in the environmental movement. He is the founding director of the Hamline University Race, Gender & Beyond Program: a multicultural teaching, faculty development program. He is a former chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the National Conference on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in American Higher Education. His research has explored racial diversity, faculty development and teaching for diversity in higher education. His current research includes diversity in outdoor and environmental organizations and assisting the emerging green movement in becoming more racially and culturally diverse. He lives in rural St. Peter on a 144 year-old farmstead in the middle of seven acres of restored native prairie and woodland.
Lero Odola was born and rasied in Akobo County, South Sudan. Odola fled Sudan when the was intensified in the 1990's. He went to Ethiopia in search of a safe haven. Odola moved to Boston Massachusetts, United States as a refuge in 2000. He went back to school and earned a Bachelor of Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in Ethnic and Multicultural Studies.
Roberto Danise, a Maya & Ancient Wisdom scholar, has been internationally recognized as the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authority on cultural diversity.
He founded his Company Cultural Wisdom in 1998. He is an award winning speaker, trainer, and clinical psychologist. Among the awards received by Roberto are:
The National Award for Community Development from the Department of Health.The distinguished" Mounted Medallion Award" from the National IndianHealth Board for Roberto's work in indian Health. The Cesar Chavez Award from National Migrant Education. The Federal Award from the Administration on Aging. The Humanitarian of the Year from The International Medical and Educational Trust of Columbia Missouri Univeristy. The Illinois Association of Agencies & Community Organizations for Migrant Advocacy award for Exemplary Dedication to IAACOMA and it mission.
Roberto is the author of numerous medical, research periodicals, feature news interviews, and a text book chapter in "Responce to Traumatized Children."His chapter “Cultural Perspective of Healing Trauma” begins with the statement “Cultural sensitivity is becoming a significant variable in the treatment and rehabilitation of traumatized children.” His two books, and Semillas De Esperanza (Seeds of Hope) can be purchased in the Bookstore, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many online bookstores. Roberto has been a columnist with Indian Country Today, the nation’s leading American Indian news source. He has been interviewed for a feature article from In Touch Center Point News. This newsletter published three times a year, combines interviews with Jungian analysts and a four-month calendar of courses and conferences offered by more than 701 institutes across the U.S. and in Switzerland, Canada, and South Africa. In the interview; “When Hope Makes Everyone of Us Relevant to the Circle”, the interviewer stated, “Jung valued the storyteller. He would certainly value an evening or many evenings with Roberto Dansie, who makes his stories live in the imagination.”
Roberto has been a long standing keynote speaker who travels frequently throughout the United States, Mexico, Latin America and Europe. His client list includes National and International Universities, Hospitals, Mental Health Organizations, Primary Care Associations, Center for Disease Control Departments, Insurance Providers, Non-Profit, National & Regional Disability, Migrant Health & Education, National Health & Human Service, Cancer Research, National Refugee & Immigrant collaborations, Minority & Multicultural Organizations, and International Gestalt Centers.
Kang Vang is a Hmong filmmaker; musician and writer who have worked in the media arts field for over 10 years as both an artist and a teacher, focusing primarily on issues that affect the AAPI communities. He strives through his work to bridge understanding between the generational, social, and cultural gaps by exposing the beauty, complexity and significance of the similarities and differences in the cultures.
He is currently the Director of Programming for Asian Media Access in which he coordinates a series of programs geared towards teaching students how to think critically about issues that affect their communities through vehicles such as media productions, discussions, and presentations.
Juventino Meza. “Illegal Democracy: Undocumented Youth Taking Their Futures into Their Hands”
Juventino Meza is a founding member of NAVIGATE, a network of undocumented students and allies working for access to higher education, jobs, and legal status for undocumented youth. Juve graduated from Augsburg College in 2012 with a major in Justice and Peace Studies and a minor in Sociology and was student body president in 2011-2012.
Professor Sethuraju have had extensive work experience in Student Affairs for over 15yrs. He started, at Texas Woman’s University, as a graduate student in the office of disability and a few years later moved on to Southern Methodist University and worked as the coordinator of Asian American programs. A few years later, he accepted a similar job at Texas A&M. After completing the doctoral program, he worked at the University of St. Thomas, Gustavus Adolphus Colleges and Carleton College in various capacities. Since then, Professor Sethuraju has made a transition from administrative work to teaching.
Professor Rosenthal is currently a professor in College Student Affairs, Department of Counseling Student & Personnel. No further biographical information were provided.
Jodi Yim James has worked in Africa, Europe, and China. She teaches French and Chinese. She set up the Fridley Chinese language program for a diverse student body. Her high school students won $6,000 scholarships to study at the University of Kunming in China. These scholarship winners were African American, African immigrants, as well as other ethnicities. Ms. James was on a committee of The MDE Minnesota Mandarin Initiative. Today she teaches at St. Paul Preparatory School with a variety of students from Minnesota and around the world. Ms. James is the Education Staff Writer for China Insight.
The Greater Mankato Diversity Council (GMDC) came into existence through the efforts of a 23-member planning team that announced the Council’s formation in June 2004. A Board of Directors, established in September 2004, governs the organization and represents governmental units, businesses and organizations. Any individual or organization can be part of the general membership and contribute to its mission.
Organizational collaboration and support for establishing the GMDC involved government, education, business and community-based organizations, including Blue Earth County, Nicollet County, North Mankato ad Mankato City Councils, Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato Area Catholic Schools, Minnesota State University South Central College, Greater Mankato Chamber of Commerce (now called Mankato Growth), the Mankato Area Foundation, the Greater Mankato Area United Way and its agencies, the more than 25 corporate sponsors. GMDC partnered with these organizations to remove participation barriers and tap into the benefits of diversity through diversity education.
Katlyn Romsa is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Student Personnel Department. Bryan Romsa is an Assistant Professor in the Sport Management Program. We have both learned what it means to explore multiculturalism from multiple perspectives, and we seek out opportunities where we can grow and learn from others who are different from ourselves. We believe in the importance of being immersed in diversity in order to become more culturally competent and effective in our work as scholars.
Tessa Donato earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in Spanish from Minnesota State, and operates LinguaOne, an interpreting and translation agency in Mankato. She recently received certification as a medical interpreter. During ten plus years of interpreting, Tessa has dedicated her time and energy interpreting in the medical and special education fields, serving as an At-Large Board member for the Minnesota Interpreter Stakeholder Group, and in the International Medical Interpreter Association as a Minnesota Chair. She enjoys sharing her passion presenting on issues regarding Language Access internationally, nationwide and locally, as well as coordinating interpreter trainings statewide.
David Larsen is a Dakota educator and elder, former Tribal Chairman of the Lower Sioux Community, Tribal Historian, and descendant of Chief Wapasha (Wabasha). David Larsen was born and raised on the Lower Sioux Reservation in Morton, Minnesota. A Viet Nam era Navy veteran, David completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota. He completed a fellowship in Dakota history at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Larsen served three terms as Chairman of the Lower Sioux Reservation Tribal Council. He spent 20 years as an educator for both the Morton and Redwood Falls schools. David taught American Indian history and cultural studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and also at Mankato State University. Mr. Larsen was appointed Chairperson of the first American Indian Advisory Council to the Minnesota Historical Society. For over 15 years, he has served as a resource person to the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, which conducts national workshops on undoing racism. He provided individual and spiritual counseling for incarcerated American Indians for ten years. Mr. Larsen currently is an educational consultant providing American Indian culture and history lectures for group’s age kindergarten through senior citizens.
David makes his home on the Lower Sioux Reservation in Morton, Minnesota. He is the father of four adult children, one adult stepson and an adopted daughter. He has 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Rodolfo studied for a PhD in History, at the University of Minnesota and came to Minnesota to complete his studies with extensive professional experience in demography and Mexican migration. He holds a degree in History, from the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City and a master's in demography from El Colegio de Mexico. He has served as an adjunct professor at several institutions such as the Metropolitan Autonomous University, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, and the Autonomous University of Baja California and most recently Rodolfo has taught history at the University of Minnesota. He brings a strong background in quantitative and qualitative research with an emphasis on the Mexican women's labor force, elderly populations, human rights and demographic change
Dr. Gutierrez is currently the Executive Director of HACER, Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER) is a nonprofit, community-based research organization that originated in 1988 as a collaborative effort between Ramsey County Human Services, Communidades Latinos Unidos en Servicio (CLUES), and Metropolitan State University to address the lack of information about Latinos and Latino issues in Minnesota’s public discourse. HACER is housed within the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).
Dr. Kirstin Cronn-Mills teaches literature, critical thinking, and writing classes at South Central College. Her interest in diversity and multiculturalism in the college setting spans 25 years and began when she was an undergraduate resident assistant at the University of Nebraska. She is the faculty advisor for SCC PRIDE (People Really Interested in Diversity Education) and has served as the faculty research/training assistant to SCC’s Diversity Committee. She also writes young adult novels with multicultural themes.
For more than 12 years, Michael Reyes has brought innovative and engaging performance to audiences across America and internationally. Reyes is a Chicano/Mexicano poet, emcee, actor, playwright, artist and community organizer, specializing in youth development.
His combination of hip-hop, poetry and spoken word create a unique blend, where his narratives are infused into a rhythmically crowd pleasing performance. As a hip-hop artist, his work is a synthesis of radical soul, raw lyrical hip-hop, fresh beats and poetic style.
A leading voice in progressive and radical music, Reyes combines cultural stories of resistance, raw hip-hop, and inspiring poems to reach youth and elders alike. His work challenges and confronts the many social ills faced by communities of color. More about Michael Reyes at www.Reyespoetry.com.