​Historical Development of REASN

Coming Together: The Birth of REASN

Minnesota has the worst racial disparities in the nation. As a part of Wilder’s engagement in initiatives addressing racial inequity, we began to ask the question “Why Minnesota?” 

What is it about how we think, act and behave in Minnesota that causes these inequities?

In February and April of 2014, Wilder convened two cohorts of racial equity champions from various disciplines, which included more than 50 champions representing nonprofits, state and local government, philanthropy and community groups at various levels.
The answers we heard indicated that despite progressive thinking about addressing racism, exclusion and bias persist because of inattention to the assumptions, thought patterns, and unspoken cultural norms that shape the way disparities are understood and addressed. They indicated a readiness to shift from reacting to disparities to addressing the root causes of inequity. We also heard that this would require a deeper level of conversation, one that brought together our best thinkers – racial equity champions and advocates – to collaboratively advance innovative strategies and solutions.      
Together, participants began a conversation about the new norms, behaviors and strategies that will be required to transform systems to foster equity. These sessions helped identify the goals for the second phase of the Racial Equity Action Support Network.

REASN’s Current Goals

  1. Create a supportive space for cross-pollination, shared learning and co-creating solutions by increasing connection and collaboration among those at the leading-edge of racial equity work.
  2. Craft a vision for systems transformation by surfacing the assumptions and norms that are perpetuating inequity and identifying new norms to work towards together.
  3. Develop a repository of "what works", successful systems change practices, generated by racial equity leaders in Minnesota.
  4. Integrate new learning into practice and identify coaching strategies to assist others in learning and shifting perspectives and behaviors.

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