Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

eleshia-picFuture History Dr. Eleshia J Morrison is an assistant professor of psychology, and clinical health psychologist at the Mayo Clinic Adult Pain Rehabilitation Center.  Dr. Morrison is a young professional who uses who passion for medicine and helping others to explore ways for removing barriers to equity.

As a young girl Dr. Morrison was very much inspired by her parents’ and grandparents’ work ethic and their approach to enjoying life.  Her parents immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean for greater educational and employment opportunities. Morrison says, “My family members value education and modeled hard work, but also there was a lot of laughter and love in my family. This encouraged me to obtain an education, but also strive for a balanced life of enjoying diverse experiences.”

Dr. Morrison, a native of Toronto, Canada moved to Minnesota in 2014. Dr. Morrison completed her doctoral degree in clinical health psychology at The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), followed by a clinical internship at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL), and a postdoctoral fellowship in Medical Psychology at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN).  

Today as a clinical health psychologist Dr. Morrison researches health disparity/diversity factors impacting illness trajectories and health behaviors. In addition, Dr. Morrison’s clinical work has been with individuals with acute and chronic illness, with specialty in oncology, chronic pain, and organ transplantation. Dr. Morrison also spends a significant amount of time training and mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows in learning about psychosocial factors impacting illness and the delivery of evidence-based psychological treatments.

While Dr. Morrison is just beginning her career she as all the makings of a bright future. Moreover, Dr. Morrison’s drive and ambition  is complemented by a passion for helping others. Dr. Morrison says, “As a clinical health psychologist, I often meet people when they are at their most vulnerable, physically and psychologically. I am thankful to be able to help someone shift from experiencing hopelessness to feeling hopeful about what lies ahead. To be a part of such a transformation is truly a privilege.”

 

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

Some of my most rewarding work experiences are two-fold-being able to work with compassionate colleagues every day and seeing individuals’ lives improve through interventions that are designed to improve functionality and get people back to living life in spite of their health challenges.  

What Inspires You

I am greatly inspired by my family-they are a blessing. While I find my work to be important, valuable, and fulfilling, it is my family life that provides ultimate meaning and balance to my life. There is value in being able to find meaning in personal relationships in order to experience a sense of a balanced existence.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

My general advice is to always pursue what you enjoy. We all have talents and abilities, but they don’t always necessarily coincide with our passions. There is a great deal of work that goes into building a professional career. Being able to say that you genuinely and thoroughly enjoy your learning, training, and work life makes the inevitable challenges and barriers easier to manage.

Hometown

  • Toronto, Canada

Education

  • Clinical Health PsychologyMayo Clinic College of Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellowship –
  • The Ohio State University, Ph.D. – Psychology (Clinical)
  • The Ohio State University, MA –  Psychology (Clinical)
  • McGill University, BS- Psychology

Legacy Leader


WilliamsLike Dr. Morrison, today’s Legacy Leader, Dr. John Williams was a respected civic leader. Dr. John Williams was born in 1945 in Jackson, Mississippi, and was raised in Toledo, Ohio, where he was an All-City athlete in both football and basketball. He was heavily recruited by numerous colleges, but attended the University of Minnesota, where he was a star football player. In 1967, he was named as a First Team All–Big Ten tackle and was instrumental in the Gophers winning the Big Ten title that year.

In 1968, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and became the first-round draft pick for the Baltimore Colts. He was an offensive lineman for the Colts, playing in the Super Bowl twice, and winning Super Bowl V.  Dr. Williams also played for the Los Angeles Rams and went to Super Bowl XIV with them. During the off-season, he worked on a doctorate of dental surgery degree from the University of Maryland. After playing professional football for 12 years, he moved back to Minnesota to open a dental practice.

Dr. Williams opened his dentist’s office on West Broadway, practicing in north Minneapolis for almost 25 years. He leveraged his education and influence to increase access to health care in minority communities; working to eliminate health care disparities. Dr. Williams won the Minneapolis volunteer of the year award in 1992 and for almost two decades was active in leading a prison ministry team. He served as president of the West Broadway Business Association and a board member of the Minneapolis Urban League. 

Dr. Williams was trained in forensic dentistry and was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Following the September 11th tragedy in New York City, he participated on the identification team at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. Williams was appointed in 2002 by Gov. Jesse Ventura and reappointed twice by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  Dr. Williams was a highly regarded leader who deeply cared for the North Minneapolis community. 

 

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

 

susanFuture History Maker Susan Bass Roberts is Vice President/Executive Director of The Pohlad Family Foundation. Roberts is a result driven leader who has a passion for empowering community. Roberts serves as a role model to future generations who spends a considerable amount of time giving back, both personally and professionally. 

A native of Columbus, Ohio,  Bass Roberts is a graduate of the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations. Throughout her career Bass Roberts has acquired experience in philanthropy, community relations and communications. Early on Bass Roberts owned a boutique agency specializing in foundation management, community outreach and communications strategy for professional athletes.  After much success Roberts was tapped as Vice President of Communications and Community Relations for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, where she managed public relations, community relations and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

More recently, Bass Roberts served as Senior Director of Community Relations/Diversity & Inclusion for Best Buy, where she directed all charitable contributions and community involvement. She also worked with Best Buy leadership to create a culture where diversity and inclusion were key differentiators. Today, as Executive Director of the Pohlad Foundation Bass Roberts oversees all aspects of the foundation’s giving and community outreach activities, working closely with family members representing both the second and third generations of the Pohlad family.

Throughout her career, Bass Roberts has received several honors, including being named to Business First Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” and winning two “Beacon Awards” from The Cable Television Public Affairs Association. Roberts is  actively involved in strengthening communities. She’s previously served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations in Columbus, Atlanta and the Twin Cities. She currently serves on the boards of The Minnesota Council on Foundations, The Minneapolis YWCA, and Breck School.

 

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

I have worked in community relations and philanthropy for most of my career, and found the work to be rewarding at each stop along the journey.  Whether it has been in creating initiatives to address family violence at the Limited Foundation, or helping underserved children through the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, to now working to improve life on the Northside of Minneapolis in my current role,  I have been blessed with a career that includes helping people. 

What Inspires You

I am inspired by people who take whatever life gives them and make the most of it.  I have seen people emerge victorious from some of the most difficult situations, and it inspires me to keep going.  My late mother was a single parent with a high school education, and we did not have much.  But she built a stable life for us.  She told me I could become anything I wanted to be if I worked hard and believed in myself.  I still hear her voice today, and when I do, I’m inspired to be better and to do more for young people, especially those who are growing up like I did.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

I would advise young people to work really hard in school and go to college.  Higher education opens so many doors to new experiences, opportunities and people who are also pursuing their dreams.  It’s not just the degree that’s important, but the total experience that expands the possibilities for your life.  I would also tell them to persevere in the face of obstacles and remain positive.  Life is hard, and learning to become an adult can be even more difficult.  But you have to push through difficulties and get to the other side. Never give up on your dreams. 

Hometown

  • Columbus, Ohio

Education

  • Ohio State University, BA

Legacy Leader

 

carlsonLike Roberts, today’s Legacy Leader Emmett D. Carson, is a proven leader who guides plantorphic organizations to do their best work.  Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D. is the founding CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. An international thought leader in the field of philanthropy, in 2006 he led the unprecedented merger of two community foundations, creating SVCF. With a growth in assets from $1.7 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion by the end of 2016, SVCF is the nation’s largest community foundation. SVCF’s 2,000 family and corporate donor funds support a wide range of causes in the Bay Area, across the nation and around the world.

Before this, Carson had a distinguished 12-year career as CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation and, prior to that oversaw the Ford Foundation’s U.S. and global grantmaking program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Emmett has published more than 100 works on philanthropy and is an authority on issues of social justice, public accountability and African American giving. He is consistently recognized as one of the most influential nonprofit leaders in the U.S. and has honorary degrees from Indiana University, Morehouse College, Becker College and The National Hispanic University. Emmett received both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in public and international affairs from Princeton University and his bachelor’s degree in economics, Phi Beta Kappa, from Morehouse College.

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Sondra Samuels_High Res.jpgFuture History Maker Sondra Samuels is the President & CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), a collaborative of over 40 partner non-profits and schools.  Along with parents, students, partners and staff, Samuels is leading a revolutionary culture shift in North Minneapolis that is focused on ending multigenerational poverty through education and family stability.

While the NAZ Collaboration is relatively new, formed in 2008, Samuels has long been a staple in the North Minneapolis Community. Samuels and her husband (Don) moved to North Minneapolis with a desire to immerse themselves in community. Samuels quickly became active organizing for progress. She began with gathering together small groups of neighbors for block meetings to address ongoing issues of community unrest and violence. Building on this work Samuels took on leadership roles in the Jordan Area Neighborhood Association and was instrumental in convincing her husband to represent the North Side on the Minneapolis City Council.

Samuels’ passion for cultivating change in her community led her to launch a non-profit organization, PEACE Foundation, which built a grassroots movement across race, class and geography toward the common goal of significantly reducing violence in North Minneapolis. The PEACE foundation was immensely successful in uplifting community and Samuels quickly gained the respect of her peers. Samuels viewed the issue of community violence with a fresh perspective. She says, “If a person has no future or vision, then they are going to pick up a gun. If they instead have a community encouraging them to be successful and providing them with the resources necessary to accomplish such, things will be different.” 

In 2008 the North Minneapolis community, desperate for real change and inspired by the results of the Harlem Children’s Zone, pulled together to explore solutions to the seemingly intractable issues that plagued the neighborhood.  From this developed an achievement-focused model that creates a permanent solution to the “cradle to prison/grave pipeline”—and builds a roadmap for sustainable community transformation. As a result of Samuels’ proven leadership, the community called on her for this work, and as a result NAZ was created.

Today the NAZ Collaborative is working toward a single goal—to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. NAZ has scaled up in support of over 1,000 parents and 2,300 students as they turn the social service model on its head and lead the creation of a college-bound culture throughout the community.

Samuels, her staff and their partners, work tirelessly to ensure the integration of effective cradle-to-career solutions across the NAZ collaborative; to scale and sustain results across the community, and to achieve the systems and policy changes needed for low income families and children of color to truly share in the prosperity of the Twin Cities Region. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal Promise Neighborhood, and has become a nationally recognized model for community and systems change. Samuels serves on the leadership team of Generation Next, (a Strive Initiative); the boards of Minnesota Private College Council, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee Advisory Board. She was also appointed by Governor Dayton to serve on the Hennepin County Forth Judicial Selection Commission.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

Being a partner in the NAZ Collaborative. My involvement with NAZ has been a dream come true. When my husband and I first moved to Minneapolis we didn’t have a plan or agenda, but instead a desire to help. We let the community drive what we needed to do.  I’m grateful that the community has embraced me and my work. 

What Inspires You

The mothers, fathers, and children of the Northside. I’m inspired by their ability to push past life’s obstacles and seek out success. I see people who are not afforded the privileges of education or economic opportunity like I am get up and take on the world with bold confidenc, and serve as role models to others. My community is made up of awesome people and I am blessed to be a part of it.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Every generation out of relative obscurity must discover its’ mission, fulfill it or betray it.  (Franz Fanon- African Philosopher) 

Value and honor people you work with, for, and whom you serve, like your life depended on it.

Hometown

  • Scotch Plains, NJ

Education

  • Morgan State University, BA
  • Clark Atlanta University, MA

Legacy Leader
bill green.jpg

 

Like Samuels, today’s Legacy Leader William D. Green is an dedicated community leader who marries history and education to empower the communities he serves. Green was born in Massachusetts and as a child spent a lot of time at Fisk University where his father was dean.   During this time Green was able to meet such luminaries as W.E.B. Du Bois and Thurgood Marshall. These experiences help shape Green’s love of history and passion for impacting change.

Green is a well-respected and familiar leader in the Twin Cities community. Green served as superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools from 2006 to 2010. In this role he was credited for restoring public confidence in this Minneapolis School District’s ability to educate its’ children. Today, Green is a professor of history at Augsburg College. Green is also an award winning author who has published many articles and  op-ed pieces, on history, law, and education.  He has also published two books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history-A Peculiar Imbalance in Early Minnesota: 1837-1869, and Degrees of Freedom. The Origin of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1914, which won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award-Hognander Prize. He is presently working on a history of Minnesota during the period of the Civil war and Reconstruction.

Green received his B.A. in History from Gustavus Adolphus College, and his M.A., Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has spoken widely at such places as the Ramsey County Bar Association; Bethel Lutheran Church, the Friends of the Ramsey County Library; Unity Unitarian Universalist Church in St. Paul, and William Mitchell Law School. He has also lectured at Peabody College-Vanderbilt University, St. John’s University, and Lincoln College-Oxford University. While serving as Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, he studied school reform at Harvard University. Green currently serves as vice president of the Minnesota Historical Society.

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

coxFuture History Maker Roderick Cox is breaking barriers in Minnesota, and inspiring future generations to surpass any and all limitations. Recognized as one of America’s fastest rising young conducting talents, Cox currently serves as the Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, a position to which he was appointed in April 2015. 

A native of Macon, Georgia, Cox grew up in the heart of Georgia football country and family engaged in sports. However, even at a young age Cox sought to chart a different path. He would spend time in his room playing gospel records and imagining himself as a conductor. As a young student Cox explored his love for music as a percussionist and French horn player at a fine-arts high school in Macon. Yet, at the time Cox did not foresee a career as a conductor, instead he thought he would perhaps become a band director or music teacher. Later as an undergraduate student at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, Cox was inspired by symphony performances and decided there were pieces he would like to conduct that would not be possible as a band director.  Not wanting to limit himself, Cox decided to make the sacrifice and put in the hard work necessary to accomplish his goals.

In 2009, he received a bachelor of music degree in music education from Columbus State University, graduating summa cum laude. Cox later received a master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University.  After graduating from Northwestern University, Cox served two years as the music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra and the assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. In this position he led the symphony in new works by contemporary composers Gabriel Kahane, Andrew Norman and Henry Panion. During this time he was awarded the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival in 2013, which led to national recognition and a return to the festival as a fellow.

Now as Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, Cox has a range of responsibilities from leading Young People’s Concerts, family programs and outdoor community concerts to serving as cover conductor for many classical subscription and “Live at Orchestra Hall” concert performances. During the 2015-16 season, Cox made his conducting debut with the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.), Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Florida Orchestra. Cox was selected by the League of American Orchestras as one of five conductors to present in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview, a prestigious showcase for young conductors from around the country. Cox’s highlights for the 2016-2017 season includes a subscription concert debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, debut concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. Cox also conducted a performance sponsored by Google and the Colour of Music Festival for the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C.

Cox is passionate about his music and uses his influence to make an impact on community. Cox seeks to challenge the European monopoly in classical music. Cox says, “As one of the very few African-American conductors in the world, unlike some of my colleagues, I have to think about how to inspire young African-American musicians.”  He supports initiatives that support black string players. He thinks critically about issue of diversity and inclusion and wants to ensure black string players have the opportunity to play in orchestra, or become soloists.  Cox’s work is focused on connecting young string players with managers, agents, orchestras to help bridge that gap.

Acting on this passion, Cox recently led the Minnesota Orchestra in a debut performance at Minneapolis’ Shiloh Temple International Ministries in North Minneapolis. Cox performance was an inspiration to many, particularly young people who aspire to advance in the music field. Cox continues to serve as a key link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

My classical subscription debut concert with the Minnesota Orchestra was quite the rewarding experience for me. A marquee concert with one of the nation’s best conductor is something every young conductor dreams about. For me, it became reality, and now I feel I can turn a corner by setting new goals for myself.

I worked extremely hard over the course of a year to prepare the music. However, I really used what felt like a lifetime of experience to help with my approach to the concert. 

What Inspires You

The music motives me. The music is bigger than any one person or organization.  In the midst of any disappointment, the music is dependable and is something I can always return to for inspiration to continue onward. Music keeps me grounded, but also pushes me to work harder to tap into a greater potential.

I’m inspired by examples of great leadership. I have many people who inspire me from Serena Williams to Barack Obama. Anyone who is in a high pressure position of leadership and doing the best they can inspires me to pick myself up and keep going.

Advice for Inspiring Professionals

I chose to be a part of an elusive profession. There is no path that is the same for any conductor. If someone is seeking a life as a professional musician, I would advise them not to do it if they can imagine themselves doing anything else. You can’t want to be a musician; you have to need to be one. This is the only way you will have enough hunger and determination to fight and claw your way to the top. Once your decision has been made to pursue a career in music, there should be no turning back. There should be no distractions and allow nothing to prohibit you from reaching your dream.

Hometown

  • Macon, Georgia

Education

  • Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, BA
  • Northwestern University, Masters of Conducting

 


Legacy Leader

bellamy_louLike Cox, today’s Legacy Leader Lou Bellamy is an artistic pioneer who broke through barriers and serves as a role model to future generations. Lou Bellamy is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota. During his thirty-nine year tenure, Penumbra evolved into one of America’s premier theaters dedicated to dramatic exploration of the African American experience. Under his leadership, Penumbra grew to be the largest theater of its kind in America and produced 39 world premieres. 

Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director, an accomplished actor, and for 38 years was appointed as Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Directing credits include plays at Arizona Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Penumbra Theatre, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Hartford Stage Company.

Bellamy was born and raised in the Rondo district of St. Paul Minnesota.  He received his bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University-Mankato and received his masters in theater arts at the University of Minnesota.

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

baker-smithFuture History Maker Chanda Smith Baker is an accomplished senior executive with a career record of providing business insight, transformational leadership, and strategic vision leading to strengthened operational performance, innovative solutions and high performing teams. To translate – Baker is a leader who gets things done.

Baker’s career began in early childhood education. A mother and entrepreneur, Baker was very involved in the at-home provider community. She managed her own daycare and supported other at-home providers in developing and sustaining their business. It was through this experience that Baker developed a passion for children and families.

Today, Baker serves as President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities, responsible for 130 employees and the operations of five neighborhood centers, a training center and eight social enterprises. Baker says, “I was raised with an orientation of contributing to community as a way of life. As a young person I was always keenly aware of the challenges that my community faced. I grew up in North Minneapolis and I always felt very passionate about uplifting what’s best in the community while working to tackle the challenges.”

Baker leads with an unwavering focus on closing racial disparities and measuring outcomes—boldly pushing Pillsbury United Communities to become more focused, more creative, and to include the voice of community in its solutions that allow for the emergence of new ideas.  In 2014, she led a planning process that resulted in a new strategic framework titled; “One Pillsbury, United – our plan for creating thriving communities.”  This led to securing over $1 Million dollars to implement Pillsbury United Communities organizational strategies.

Recently Baker led Pillsbury United’s gun buy-back initiative where residents were urged to surrender firearms in exchange for Visa gift cards. The guns were decommissioned and given to Twin Cities’ artists to create statements about the impact of gun violence in the community. The buy-back initiative was an undisputed success and one in which Baker was personally invested. Baker says, “My cousin Kristopher Miller was shot and killed the same week I was named CEO of Pillsbury United. Last year was the fifth anniversary of his death. The buy-back program was a result of me taking something that affected me personally and looking for a way to make an impact on community violence.” Baker believes there are too many Minnesotans losing their lives to street violence, suicide, domestic violence and accidental shootings.  She says, “I am  not willing to look the other way, believing that there’s nothing we can do—but rather I’m committed to doing my part to make our community safer. We have a public health crisis with gun violence. It affects all of us, and we all must be part of the solution.”

In addition to her work with Pillsbury United Communities, Baker is a member of the boards of directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Public Allies National, the International Federation of Settlements, and CommonBond Communities. Baker sits on the national advisory board of the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. She has received several recognitions including the Hubert H. Humphrey Leadership Award, and in 2012 she was a Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal Diversity in Business honoree. Baker was recognized as a  Hometown Hero in 2011 for her role leading the recovery efforts following a tornado in North Minneapolis.

Baker holds a Master of Arts – Organizational Management and Communications degree from Concordia University. She is also a graduate of MenTTium 100 Executive Leadership Program and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Executive Leadership Institute.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

My most rewarding experience was receiving my masters from Concordia College. I went through this program while working and parenting, and this was not easy. Obtaining an advanced degree help propell my career and provided me with an opportunity to marry my lived experiences with formal training and technique.

What Inspires You

I am inspired by the success of others and my children of course.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

My best advice is to invest in your own development. Embrace who you are as a leader, read, stay committed to professional development and support others success.

Hometown

  • Minneapolis, MN

Legacy Leader

myrtleLike Baker, today’s Legacy Leader I. Myrtle Carden, was a zealous community advocate committed to  empowering children and families. When black families from St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood needed basic services or just a place to hang out, they turned to I. Myrtle Carden.  Carden led the Hallie Q. Brown Community House, a social-service agency inspired by the era’s settlement house movement. Named after an Ohio educator who led the establishment of black women’s clubs across the country, Hallie Q. Brown soon became St. Paul’s second-largest neighborhood center.

Carden, a social worker from Pittsburgh, mentored a generation of young girls shut out from white school groups and social programs. Among other activities, teenage girls taught nutrition and home economics to other teens. Carden served as executive director of the Hallie Q Brown community Center for 20 years, from its founding in 1929 to 1949.

In Minneapolis, Carden’s ideological counterpart was W. Gertrude Brown, who ran the Phyllis Wheatley House, a magnet for famous guests such as Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson and W.E.B. DuBois.

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Future History Maker Jason Sole, president of the jsMinneapolis NAACP, is a thrice convicted felon-turned-Hamline University professor who volunteers in juvenile prisons across Minnesota and lobbies for restoring the voting rights of ex-offenders.

Raised on the South Side of Chicago, at an early age became involved in street gangs. He was charged with possession of an illegal firearm at age 18, and at age 21 he was charged with drug possession. After serving time in prison and spending several years on probation, Sole has now become a model for determination and redemption. He’s fought hard to find work, get into college, raise a family and eventually work towards a Ph.D at Capella University. For Sole attending college was an act of desperation. Sole says, “I was asked to select a major and at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I was interested in criminal justice because it was my life story. I knew it and felt it, but didn’t understand the disparities in criminal justice.  I recognized I’d committed wrongs in my life but didn’t understand why my punishment was unequal in comparison to my white counterparts.”

A major in criminal justicewas a perfect fit for Sole who excelled in his studies. Motivated by his past and desire to help others, he worked hard and excelled.  He completed his four year degree program in three years and was the recipient of many awards and scholarships. As a student at Metrostate University Jason served as president of the African American Student Union and was awarded the Metrostate Male Student Leader Achievement Award two years in a row. After college, Sole obtained a masters degree in Criminal Justice.

Today, Sole is nationally recognized expert on criminal justice issues. He has been an educator for nearly eight years, serving as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University ( 8 years) and Hamline University (2 years). He is also a writer, keynote speaker, and trainer for the One Circle Foundation.

Sole is a leader in the push to restore voting rights to convicted felons and combat oppressive or collateral consequences.  Sole views voter disenfranchisement as a serious form of oppression. He says, “ex-offenders are denied access to welfare benefits, public housing, education loans, and the right to serve on a jury or run for office. These barriers make it extremely difficult to find redemption.” Sole lost his voting rights in 2006 and wasn’t set to have them restored until 2026.  However, after petitioning for an early termination of his probation, he was able to vote for the first time in ten years.

Through his firm, Jason Sole Consulting LLC, Sole provides juvenile and criminal justice agencies with the knowledge and resources they need to assist people affected by delinquency, incarceration, poverty, and other social ills. Sole was a 2013 Bush Fellow  focusing on reducing the recidivism rate among juveniles throughout the state of Minnesota. He is currently traveling the country discussing his memoir, From Prison to Ph.D.: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances. Sole says, “criminal justice is my life, it’s a lived experienced and being able to use my degree in the community is a blessing.”

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

It’s so rewarding to be able to lead a group of engaged and powerful leaders who are committed to bringing change to their community. I’m amazed by the number of new activists who are interested in criminal justice reform. I take pride in connecting with people who want to get involved. I enjoy bridging gaps and creating relationship with groups that differ in opinion. Right now I’m learning that we can disagree on tactics, and yet be able to put those differences aside to unite for the greater good of community. I’m focused on building coalitions, eliminating silos of work, and finding opportunities to uplift great work.

What Inspires You

I get inspiration from various people and situations. In my pursuit of justice I’m inspired by the many trailblazing civil rights leaders who have come before me. For example, Harold Washington, Fred Hampton. I’m also inspired by my daughters. I find joy in teaching them, giving them the tools to lead well beyond my years on this earth.

Also, I look up to my mother Shelia Sole and uncle Jonathon Walton III, two people who believed in me before I believed in myself.

I must say I was blessed to be a part of the NAACP when it was led by all women. I look up to Black women in this community as phenomenal leaders, admiring their strength and ability to problem solve.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Go with your gut. Don’t be led by rhetoric, and be careful of who you’re aligning yourself with. Don’t be impressed solely by energetic personalities and big ideas, but instead work with people who have good hearts. Also aspire to do work that fulfills your core values.

Hometown

  • Chicago, Illinois

Education

  • Mestrostate University, BA
  • Hamline University, Master of Criminal Justice

Legacy Leader

nkLike Sole, today’s Legacy Leader, Nathaniel Khaliq  is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Nathaniel Khaliq, served as president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP for fifteen years. As president,  Khaliq lead efforts to create an anti-racial profiling agreement with the City of Saint Paul  and was instrumental in securing needed changes to racially biased state and county gang databases.

During his tenure, Khaliq advocated for the hiring of more minority firefighters, policies to hire and contract with minority workers, and improved affordable housing.  Mr. Khaliq has served as an interim City of St. Paul City Council member (Ward 1), and  today continues to advocate for civil rights issues serving on the advisory board for the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP.

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Future History Maker

 

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.

 


Future History Maker 

momoh-adine

Future History Maker Adine Momoh is a trailblazing attorney whose work ethic and commitment to excellence have quickly garnered her recognition and respect. Momoh began practicing law in September 2009. On January 1 of this year, she became a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP.  In 2018-2019, Momoh will become president of the Hennepin County Bar Association as the organization celebrates its 100th year anniversary. She will be the youngest and first black woman to hold that role in the 8,000-member organization’s history.

Momoh is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her parents, who emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone in the 1970’s, instilled in Momoh the values of education, hard work, humility, and giving back. When she was just a six-year-old student in first grade, after having put aside dreams of being a horseback rider or ballet dancer, Momoh decided she wanted to be an attorney.  She set in motion a plan that would one day lead her to make history.  Momoh did not have any immediate family members in the legal profession, but eagerly learned as much as she could about becoming an attorney. Throughout grade school and beyond, she strived for excellence in her classes and sought out mentorships from, and developed relationships with, Twin Cities attorneys. Momoh asked questions and never shied away from opportunities to learn or lead.

Momoh’s thirst for knowledge led her to the University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business.  There she developed a love for business.  Mastering subjects such as accounting, finance, micro- and macro-economics, and industrial organizational psychology, Momoh developed the blocks that would later shape a career in bankruptcy, banking and securities litigation. Momoh graduated summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA, majoring in legal studies in business, psychology, and pre-law. Momoh received her Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law, graduating magna cum laude.

Today, Momoh is a trial attorney representing clients in various aspects of litigation including:  case development and strategy,  discovery, motion practice,  trial, and appeals in state and federal courts across the country.  She has also successfully defended clients facing fraudulent conveyance, preferential transfers and other avoidance actions from bankruptcy trustees seekingamounts up to millions of dollars. In her seven years of practice, Momoh has been recognized locally and nationally.   In 2013 she received Stinson Leonard Street’s Pro Bono Services to the Indigent award, and that same year was also named a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In 2014 she was honored with the Minnesota State Bar Association’s first-ever Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award.   In 2015 she was named one of two finalists for the American Bar Association’s National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.  And in 2016Momoh was one of four recipients of the Service to the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association Award. She was recognized for her legal excellence in bankruptcy law by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, naming her a Blackshear Presidential Fellow.  

Momoh’s credentials are mirrored by her commitment to giving back. Since she began practicing in 2009, Momoh has dedicated up to 200 hours of her time to pro-bono service each year. From 2013-2016 Momoh received the North Star Lawyer designation from the Minnesota State Bar Association for her commitment to pro bono work.  Momoh also serves on the boards of various organizations, including The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Federal Bar Association’s National Younger Lawyers Division, Federal Bar Association’s Minnesota Chapter and International Women’s Insolvency and Reorganization Confederation–Minnesota Network.  She co-chairs the Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Equity Committee, which works to develop and implement action steps to achieve equity for women in the Minnesota legal profession.  Momoh also mentors law students at the three local law schools in Minnesota.

 

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

I certainly enjoy motion practice and trial work because I love being in court and relish opportunities to hone that particular skill set. That said, my most rewarding work experience is being able to be the trusted advisor to clients.  As an advocate, it’s my responsibility to be a problem solver and to do so as objectively and persuasively as possible, by anticipating, understanding and refuting the other side’s best argument.  To know that someone has placed this immense amount of trust in me is a true privilege.

 

What Inspires You

I’m inspired by my parents, Kofi and Mabel, who have been my champions and sponsors since day one (even before those words were even being used), and who always taught me the power of resilience.  They taught me that if anyone makes me feel discouraged, I should work harder and prove them wrong.  I also look up to my two older brothers, Kenny and Kofi, who have always supported me and set the bar high for me. Moreover, I’m grateful for the support of all the mentors I’ve had throughout my life. And of course, I am inspired by my husband, Vince.  Without his support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today; he inspires me to be my best self.

 

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Don’t be afraid to chart your own course and don’t be afraid to say yes.  Many of the doors that have been opened for me throughout my legal career and in my life in general came from me taking chances and simply saying yes. I didn’t always know what would be required of me, but I was confident that I could rise to the challenge. To those interested in a legal career, I encourage you to stay focused. Make it your goal to not only get good grades, but also to understand what’s being taught fully. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class, speak up and ask questions.

Hometown

  • St. Paul, Minnesota

Education

  • University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business
  • William Mitchell College of Law

Legacy Leader

Like Mompafeoh, today’s Legacy Leader, Justice Alan Page is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back.

Justice Alan Page is a jurist and former professional American Football player. While he played for the Minnesota Vikings, Page attended the University of Minnesota Law School, from which he received a Juris Doctor in 1978. After graduating, he worked at the Minneapolis law firm Lindquist and Vennum from 1979 to 1984 outside the football season. Page was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General in 1985, and soon thereafter promoted to Assistant Attorney General. In 1993 Page became the first African American justice to be appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

Page and his wife Diane are the founders of the Page Education Foundation, which assists students of color with postsecondary education. Page also helped establish the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education, and he is a frequent speaker to groups of students about the importance of education. Justice Page also has a long history of community service and has been named on both 100 Influential Minnesotans of the Century and 100 Most Important Sports Figures of the Century. Page is a member of the American Law Institute, Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, National Bar Association and American Bar Association.

 

 

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