2022 Design for Racial Justice Mini Grants
The real experts on racial justice work are those with lived experience, fighting for equity on a daily basis. When wide swaths of our local community are engaged, connected, and included in equity work, transformative change becomes possible in ways that may not have seemed possible before.
Through the Design for Racial Justice minigranting initiative, the Science Museum is combining our existing museum resources with community-led programming to increase local participation and leadership through $20,000 in grant funds. In its second year, the initiative centered Indigenous youth to support them to use the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition as a resource for equity work.
Learn more about the six grantees and their projects!
Wabigonikwe will be cooking their favorite meals in their ancestral language, Anishinaabemowin, in a four-part video series. In addition to being an immersive language resource, the series will contribute to the larger food sovereignty movement. The meals created for the videos will be shared with local community members.
Wabigonikwe is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles, a student in the Anishinaabemowin undergrad program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and an intern at Bdote Learning Center, a K-8 Ojibwe and Dakota immersion school, with plans to teach in the future. Wabigonikwe previously worked as a cook at The Sioux Chef (now Indigenous Food Lab), as an intern at the Rome Sustainable Food Project in Italy, and as an active member in the fight against Line 3, which threatens the cultural livelihood of Anishinaabe and Dakota people.
Yajaira will partner with Indigenous Roots Cultural Center, ARTS-Us Center for the African Diaspora, and Summer Cypher Mpls to offer community workshops about race, healing, and wellness for young people under the age of 25. The workshops will cover how the concept of race has been used to justify oppression; Dr. Camara Jules P. Harell’s theories on mental health; and the historical context of reproductive healthcare. These conversations will be enhanced with wellness practices centered in Indigenous cultures.
Yajaira is an honors student of psychology at Howard University with a special interest in the intersections of academia and ancestral practices in mental health. Her project will bridge her curiosity with engaging and enriching conversations within herself and her community.
Rayaan will be starting a community pantry in Minneapolis that prioritizes accessibility to Minneapolis youth and people of color experiencing homelessness. The pantry will serve as a resource center, including materials on mental health and harm reduction resources.
Rayaan is the founder of Be The Dream, a youth-focused social justice group that provides education and community projects, such as mental health kits for teens in shelter. Rayaan has a special interest in community collaboration and increasing accessibility to food and education.
Raices, a youth-led and youth-based community program, aims to fill in the gaps in intergenerational youth work through multigenerational, multi–platform programming. Through this project, the group will provide empowering classes on leadership skills, math, science, poetry, theater, and art in a safe, caring, and accepting space with an emphasis on spiritual and emotional support. Classes will be supported by community Culture Bearers, who will mentor students and empower them to share their skills and knowledge with their families and communities.
Raices is a part of the International Indigenous Youth Council-Twin Cities Chapter (IIYC), an organization that seeks to organize youth through education, spiritual practices, and civic engagement to create positive change in communities. Through action and ceremony, the IIYC commits to building a sustainable future for the next seven generations.
Unity Dance Company
Unity Dance Company will produce a dance drama called Colors of the Fabrics, combining folklore with traditional Hmong dance as well as other creative styles. The project funds will support the group with expenses such as performance space rental, equipment, awareness-raising, and dancer supplies.
Unity Dance Company is a Hmong dance company that teaches dancers the same passion, leadership, sportsmanship, and talent they have for dance through different cultures, including Hmong, Thai, Lao, contemporary Chinese, Mongolian, Dai, Tibet, and Bollywood.
Niniijaanis MMIW is a youth traveling basketball team, named to raise awareness of the trauma and impact of Missing, Murdered, and Indigenous Women (MMIW). The team’s project will be hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, using the sport as a way to support healing, further raise awareness, and engage in critical conversations about the MMIW endemic and the impacts of race and racism on the community.
The Niniijaanis MMIW team is made up of Twin Cities-based players Robert Henry, Dakota LaFloe, Chaske Henry, and Sean Smith. The group anticipates visiting players coming from their reservations to attend and play the tournament.