Our Community Reads 

How to Be an Antiracist 

by Ibram X. Kendi

A community reading event with the Mac-Groveland and Highland neighborhoods of St. Paul seeking to:

  • Recognize the need to center Black leaders and Black lived experiences and elevate Black voices in our neighborhoods.
  • Encourage white people to do the work of recognizing their participation in and contribution to racism in our communities.
  • Consider ways that we can move from reading and discussion to specific antiracist actions that create changes in our neighborhoods.

Participants will sign up with one facilitator below. Read chapters 1-9 for the first session and 10-18 for the second session. All sessions will take place via Zoom. Each group is limited to 20 participants.

Everyone is welcome to participate, though a recommended donation of $20 helps support the facilitators and interpreters who will guide the discussions. Donate to support the facilitators and interpeters here!

Scheduled Sessions

Sunday, July 19 and Sunday, July 26, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Facilitator: ShaVunda Brown

Monday, July 20 and Monday, July 27, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Facilitator: Arleta Little

Tuesday, July 21 5:00 – 6:30 pm and Tuesday, July 28, 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Facilitator: Damon Shoholm

Wednesday, July 22 and Wednesday, July 29, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Facilitator: Shá Cage & E.G. Bailey

Wednesday, July 22 and Wednesday, July 29, 4:30 – 6:00 pm
Facilitator: Karin Aguilar-San Juan  (Volunteer neighborhood co-facilitator Jessica Prody)

Thursday, July 23 and Thursday, July 30, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Facilitator: Shannon Gibney

Friday, July 24, and Friday, July 31, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Facilitator: Margaret Vaughan  (Volunteer neighborhood co-facilitator Amanda Humpage)

Saturday, July 25 and Saturday, August 1, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Facilitator: Harry Waters, Jr.

Sunday, August 2, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Closing Session: Coming Together for Change.  Everyone Welcome!

Our Amazing Facilitators!

Karín Aguilar-San Juan, Professor of American Studies at Macalester College, holds a PhD in urban sociology from Brown University. With Frank Joyce she co-edited The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (2015) featuring reflections by prominent U.S. antiwar activists and an interview with five U.S. ex-combat veterans now living in Viet Nam. Her other books include Little Saigons: Staying Vietnamese in America (2009) and the edited volume, The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s (1994). As a first-time director, writer, and cinematographer, Prof. Aguilar-San Juan is currently working on a short documentary film called “Rice: A Filipino Love Story.” Created as an homage to the French feminist Agnes Varda, the project is based on a small farm in the Philippines where the rice plays a central role in the drama of everyday life. At Macalester, she teaches courses such as The Problem of Race in U.S. Social Thought and Policy; Race, Place & Space; The School-to-Prison Pipeline; U.S. Imperialism from the Philippines to Viet Nam; and Hunger Games: Map and Mirror for the 21st Century.

E.G. Bailey is an award-winning artist who crosses the disciplines of theatre, film, and poetry.  He is currently focusing on play-wrighting, screen-writing, and directing and has been recognized by artists such as Bob Holman, Amiri Baraka and Nikki Giovanni as one of the leading spoken word artists of his generation. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, he is a founder of Tru Ruts Endeavors, Arkology, Speakeasy Records, and the MN Spoken Word Association. A recipient of numerous grants, he recently worked with Amiri Baraka on a stage adaptation of Baraka’s epic cycle of poems, Wise Why’s Y’s. E.G. is also a recipient of an Emmy Award, the winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award, and a former nominee for the Independent Music Awards. His writing has been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, and Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for creative writing.

ShaVunda Brown is an internationally award-winning spoken word artist, an actress, organizer, and spirit guided writer. She writes to empower and shed light on raw truths, with a sharp social consciousness. Using her knowledge of African diasporic spirituality, history, mythos and the southern folklore of her upbringing, she weaves stories and new visions of liberation. She has been seen in Art is Black Light a Mn. Original Series featured on PBS-TPT. She has originated a few roles in The World Premiere of stage plays produced by The History Theater (Mn), Children’s Theater(Mn) and The Arena Stage Theater (D.C.). ShaVunda is the recipient of a 2019 Performance Arts Award from Washington County. She is a 2017/18 inaugural cohort member of the Bush Foundation’s Change Network,  2016/17 Many Voices Mentorship at The Playwrights Center,  2015 Verve Grant for Spoken Word, Poetry Slam Winner of The Farrago Fresher Slam at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and one half of the duo that won the 2010 Whut it Do? Hip-Hop Competition and Peace fest in Dallas, Texas. Lastly however certainly not least she is a beaming Mother of two brilliant children.

Shá Cage is a writer, activist, theater/film performer, and director raised in MS and living in MN who has been called a Change-maker, one of the leading artists of her generation, and a mover and maker. Her work has been featured in several publications including Blues Vision and The St. Paul Almanac and her plays have been produced recently at Stages and Open Eye Theater. She holds both Emmy and Ivey awards and has been using art to elevate Black and Brown narratives through Tru Ruts for 20 years. 

Shannon Gibney

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of Dream Country (Dutton, 2018), and See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), novels which both won Minnesota Book Awards. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis College, where she teaches writing. In October 2019, University of Minnesota Press released What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, which she co-edited with writer Kao Kalia Yang. She is currently at work on her new novel, Botched (Dutton, 2022), which takes on identity and possibility in the context of transracial adoption.

Arleta Little

Arleta Little is a poet and writer living and working in Minneapolis.  Her literary work can be found in Blues Vision: African American Writing From Minnesota (2015) and in Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir of the Life of Dr. Josie Johnson (2019).  She currently serves as an Arts Program Officer and the Director of the Artist Fellowships at the McKnight Foundation.  Prior to working in philanthropy, she served as the Executive Director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature and continues to be dedicated to advancing and celebrating African American literature and writers.  Committed to establishing racial equity and justice in Minnesota, she also serves on the board of Headwaters Foundation for Justice.

Damon Shaholm

Damon Shoholm is Co-Director of Leadership Programs at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in Saint Paul. The leadership programs that Damon leads include the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, which provides established leaders the opportunity to gain clarity around values, purpose and those things that matter most to them, and the Neighborhood Leadership Program, which provides leadership development, skill building and networking for action for individuals seeking to become more engaged and active in their local communities. Damon sums up his real job description as supporting change makers among us in multiple ways and at multiple entry points in Community.

Margaret Vaughan

Margaret Vaughan works at Metropolitan State University as an Ethnic Studies associate professor in the Department of Ethnic and Religious Studies. Her interests are Indigenous studies, collective trauma, immigration, the study of popular culture and identity, and the study of environmental racism. She moved to Minnesota in 2006 and enjoys living in Saint Paul, MN. 

Harry Waters Jr.

Harry Waters, Jr., Associate Dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College, created the role of Belize in Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1991). He is most famous for his portrayal of Marvin Berry in Back to the Future (1985), which earned him a Gold record for his rendition of “Earth Angel.” He attended Princeton University and received his MFA in Directing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as an actor in New York City on and off Broadway as well as at theatres including Mark Taper Forum, Arizona Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, ACT and the San Jose Repertory Theatre. In the Twin Cities, he has appeared on stage at the Guthrie, Penumbra Theater Company, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things Theater, Pangea World Theatre, Park Square, Pillsbury House+ Theatre, and Dark & Stormy Theatre. Mr. Waters has directed numerous productions around the Twin Cities as well as around the country. As Professor and recent Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at Macalester College, he directed productions of Runaways, Proof, Angels In America Part I: Millennium Approaches, The Colored Museum, Tartuffe,  Cabaret, The Laramie Project Project, Hip Hop  Hopes, In The Blood, The Cradle Will Rock, “green: an elegy to summer” and URINETOWN. He is working with his son, Jordon Waters, on WING IT (inspired by the tale of Icarus and Daedalus).

Community Partners:  Macalester-Groveland Community Council, Catalyst Arts, the High Winds Fund at Macalester College, the Black Storytellers Alliance, and Saint Paul Public Library, and the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee (WSNAC).

Use this model to produce a community reading event in your neighborhood. Contact Michelle Filkins (michelle.filkins@metrostate.edu) and Danielle Hinrichs (danielle.Hinrichs@metrostate.edu).