African Community “Conversation on Civic Engagement” in Twin Cities’ northwest suburbs

African Community “Conversation on Civic Engagement” in Twin Cities’ northwest suburbs
Participants at a November 15, 2012 event organized by African Immigrant Services (AIS) and The Advocates for Human Rights for the Voice Minnesota Monitoring Project at the Brooklyn Park City Council chambers. Photo: Tom Gitaa/Mshale

The African Immigrant Services (AIS), in collaboration with the Diversity and Equity Department of North Hennepin Community College (NHCC ), Brooklyn Park’s Diversity Team, and the Northwest Civic Engagement Coalition, will host and facilitate a community civic engagement conversation on Thursday May 9, 2013, at Brooklyn Park’s City Council Chambers, in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

The conversation will begin at 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Rescheduled from April 11 to May 9, due to inclement weather conditions, the event will provide an opportunity for the community to sustain an on-going conversation on how best to increase the quality of civic participation among African immigrants and other underrepresented groups in the Northwest suburbs of Hennepin County. Designed to help shift the roles of participants from observers to active leaders, the conversation will also involve an action session, allowing for participants to match their interests to existing civic opportunities and community causes.

“We are excited to work with a diverse group of stakeholders to create new possibilities for increased civic engagement within our communities of color in the Northwest suburbs,” said Abdullah Kiatamba, executive director of AIS. “This is a great opportunity to identify and motivate new leaders, to help address some shared challenges and to make our communities more inclusive.”

The conversation, employing the Art of Hosting, as well as other culturally competent participatory methods, will seek to create an environment that facilitates a collective exploration of diverse knowledge and wisdom inherent in community engagement.

“This community conversation forum is an excellent opportunity to develop and support diverse leaders, as well as work with our community to achieve our goals of providing solutions to real and perceived barriers to opportunities,” said Elizabeth Tolzmann, Brooklyn Park Community Engagement Coordinator. “This collaborative effort among various organizations is a significant stepping stone in the community’s desire and commitment to make Brooklyn Park a thriving community inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all.”

The planning team, comprising community leaders and activists, will use the outcomes of the event to help inform and strengthen a pathway from disengagement to sustained community engagement in the Northwest suburbs.

Funded by a modest grant from the Bush Foundation, the event also enjoys the support of a diverse group of community sponsors, including The Advocates for Human Rights, Pro-USA, Inc., Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM), and the Guinean Association in Minnesota.

African Community Civic Engagement Conversation
Thursday, May 9, 2013
5:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Brooklyn Park Council Chambers
5200 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443

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