On June 12, WFMN hosted The Genius of Black Women: Vision & Leadership on the Frontlines of Minneapolis, a powerful and moving conversation with nationally recognized leaders in the movement for racial justice.

As the nation watched Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the police, this online conversation brought Minnesota visionaries to the table for a critical conversation on the power of Black women’s leadership, imagination, activism, and sustaining our collective commitment to change.

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota facilitated the event led by WFMN Vice President of Community Impact, Lulete Mola, and Lissa Jones of KMOJ Radio’s Urban Agenda, with Kandace Montgomery, Director of Black Visions, and Leslie E. Redmond, President of the NAACP Minneapolis, as a call to listen to and follow the vision of Black women leading at the intersection of a global pandemic and heightened anti-Black racial injustice.

The conversation invoked the spirit of Harriet Tubman as a time traveler in her vision to imagine and actualize freedom in a time that seemed impossible.

NAACP Minneapolis president Leslie E. Redmond reflected on her vision for liberation:

Black Visions director Kandace Montgomery spoke to the work they are leading with the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota and the WFMN Innovators—who receive direct, microgrant investments in their vision and leadership.

From historical mothers of this struggle for liberation to the young women and youth who are rising to demand racial justice on the streets of Minneapolis and around the world, the time is now to listen to their vision, and to build, yield, and share power to create a more equitable world.

Leslie E. Redmond shares how the realities of the lived experiences of racial disparities that create highly visible barriers and inequities Minnesota made her activism and voice in the movement for racial justice a duty.

Illuminated biennially in our Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota research, data shows that inequities in economics, safety, health, and well-being accumulate over a lifetime and are impacted substantially by race, place, LGBTQ+ status, and other identities. Qualitative and quantitative research drives our work and sets our annual grantmaking and policy agenda.

As we amplify the narratives of women and girls leading while experiencing economic and social injustice, it is ever more imperative to invest in gender and racial equity—the work we have led with communities across the state since our founding in 1983. As the nation watches Minneapolis, we have a tremendous opportunity and duty to amplify the leadership, vision, activism, and the narratives of Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color.

See the video of the full online event:

To connect with our panelists:
• Learn more about the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness & Realize Racial Justice, co-chaired by Lulete Mola, which is calling for transformation in the field of institutional philanthropy and investing in the MN Holistic Black-Led Movement Fund.
• Tune in to KMOJ (89.9 FM) on Thursdays at 6 p.m. to hear Lissa Jones, host of Urban Agenda, and check out her Black Market Reads podcast.
• Keep up with Kandace Montgomery, director of Black Visions, leading a radical vision for safety right now.
• Follow Leslie E. Redmond in her role as the youngest president of the Minneapolis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founder of the Don’t Complain, Activate (DCA) campaign, and at the center of civil rights advocacy in the Twin Cities. See more about the MN Freedom Riders work she discussed.

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