2021, in a lot of ways, is just as difficult as 2020. Extroverts are clamoring to get out of the house, while introverts are hoping for a few moments of solitude. How have you found purpose through difficult times? For us, it was the ability to gather virtually with changemakers through convenings like MasterMind Cohort! Here are updates to inspire you if you’ve felt “out of steam” lately.
Jeanelle Austin is from our very first cohort and continues to impress us with her initiative and passion for social justice work. She is the lead caretaker at The George Floyd Global Memorial and was recently featured in a video produced by two-time Emmy award nominated journalist Georgia Fort. In the video, Jeanelle discusses the current state of George Floyd Square and how the space will be preserved as a global memorial site. The streets currently exist in a state between open and closed. In this ambiguous environment, Jeanelle continues to embody hope and resilience as well as models how justice is a way of life. For Jeanelle, the city of Minneapolis could be a model of restorative justice if city officials divert their attention to integrative health and wellness resources. Community is the key word here and, according to this seasoned MMC Alum, they are currently the driving force. She says it best herself: “Wherever you are… Do not be discouraged. Do not lose hope. Do not stop imagining a world beyond policing. This stand for justice is bigger than us. Know that we are not alone. Keep loving each other. Keep leaning into the community. Keep practicing self-care. Keep advocating for restorative justice. Know that community is the antidote to racism, justice is a way of life, and justice is a process of making things right.” To learn more about Jeanelle’s work, please visit: https://raiofjustice.com/minneapolis/
We’d like to congratulate Heidi Kim of Cohort #3 on her upcoming new job position as the Director of Talent and Organizational Culture at Propel Nonprofits in the city of Minneapolis! Heidi is excited to be working in an environment “with a deep commitment to be an anti-oppressive organization, that is also building capacity in other non-profits here in the Twin Cities” -- and we are so ecstatic for her! For those of you in later cohorts who don’t know what a dynamic person Heidi is, here is a little bit about her: From 2014-2019, she served as the staff officer for racial reconciliation with The Episcopal Church, serving two million people in 109 dioceses across the U.S. and in 16 other countries. She currently lives in Minneapolis, MN, and her previous line of work allowed her to continue in the area of racial healing in both the church and in a PK-12 Episcopal school. Heidi’s cohort took place in the middle of the pandemic during a period of great unrest -- she served as a beacon of hope for us both then and now!
Sometimes you just need a “win” or some good news. Meisha Robinson joined us for cohort #4 and we’re inviting you to share in her victory! In March, she released a book titled: “The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening.” Before the pandemic hit, Meisha took a road trip across the South of the United States where she listened to peoples’ stories and became familiar with the pain, love, and hope associated with their stories. After returning to D.C., Meisha felt that the media was predominantly negative, and that reality was not only different, but better. Her book re-tells the stories she heard during her trip with the hope that it will inspire and unify those who read it. Who has read her book thus far? Well, among the more famous readers is Jon Bon Jovi! If you’d like to watch him read a passage from Meisha’s book, you can find that here. Meisha has never been a fan of heavy metal or rock n’ roll….but Bon Jovi seems to be a fan of hers!
If these updates awakened something within you and you’re an alumni wanting another go at participating in our MasterMind Cohort program...we’ll be hosting three re-focus groups this July! These 45 minute focus group conversations are designed to glean insight from program alumni in evaluation and improvement of Bridge Alliance's work and potential through MMC.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a platform to amplify your voice…we’ve got it! You may have heard that Bridge Alliance recently acquired The Fulcrum -- a media platform that has in the past exclusively covered democracy and electoral reform issues. We are in the process of doing a redesign on the website and adding columnists! We are looking for columnists who wish to connect kitchen table issues with democracy reform. Our very own Brian Rubin of Cohort #2 has agreed to be one of our newest columnists! His column is going to be called “Civic Soul” and we can’t wait to publish his content this coming August. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact [email protected].