2017 Annual Report: Accomplishments

The Diversity Council focuses its work in three areas: civic equity, educational equity, and health equity. Every year the Executive Director sets specific goals and measures for what we hope to accomplish in each equity area. These measures are outlined here, and accompanying data for 2017 is provided below each item or in brackets within the item.

Civic Equity

Civic equity is the realization of a society where all individuals receive equitable access to resources, protections, and opportunities. Each person enjoys: (a) equal treatment under law, both through law enforcement and the judicial system; (b) equitable access to and representation in the political process; and (c) equal opportunity to engage in the design of and benefit from inclusive public policy. 

2017 Civic Equity Goals & Measures

The Diversity Council establishes and/or maintains relationships with crucial entities at the local, state, and regional level that impact its Civic Equity focus areas, and provides resources and activities for individual development and participation in thoughtful and deliberate civic action. Its activities include environmental scanning, assessment, interpretation, and implementation of actions related to civic participation and inclusive government. 
1.    Improving trust and understanding between citizens and law enforcement/judicial systems by convening a minimum of 3 [3] community dialogs and facilitating or participating in 2-4 [4] inter-organizational planning sessions.  



  • DC co-sponsored 3 inter-organizational planning sessions between local law enforcement and members of the Latinx community.  (pictured below)

  • DC participated in a community dialog on use of force hosted by Rochester Police Department and FBI Minnesota. 

  • DC held 1 inter-organizational planning session to develop a final report on community listening sessions we hosted on behalf of the Third Judicial District Equal Justice Committee. The report was shared with the community. A FUSE event (Fun and Unique Social Event) was also held in partnership with the judicial branch. 

  • DC hosted 2 community dialogs under the REMn umbrella with citizens of St. Anthony Village. Work with that population is focused on reducing tension and improving understanding. 

2.    Working directly with 2 [3] or more Law Enforcement or Judicial Agencies on organizational culture, community relations, and/or policies and procedures. Formal trainings and consultation will result in a) 70 percent of participants [no data] reporting an increase in knowledge; b) one [no data] organization reporting significant change in organizational culture and/or community relationships. 




  • DC provided training to the MN Department of Public Service, including the MN State Patrol, on racial profiling and ethics. 

  • DC consulted with MN Third Judicial District Human Resources on diversification of workforce and creating an inclusive culture.

  • A first meeting was held with St. Anthony Village Police Department on inclusion and equity. These efforts are slated to run for roughly 30 months.

  • The MN Sheriff's Association also requested permission to use DC's online materials for internal training  

3.     Identifying and publicizing critical information related to policing and judicial equity issues and activities a minimum of 5 [4] times. 




Promoted events occurring locally and in the Twin Cities related to policing including:

  • Q&A with Rochester Police Department

  • DACA Clinic

  • Police Oversight Commission Report to the Community

  • MN Dept. Of Human Rights events. 

4.    Convening or participating in 3-4 [4] regional public policy discussions. 



  • DC participated in a state-wide session convened by the MN Department of Human Rights on diversity and equity policy topics.

  • DC is currently working with local law enforcement on policy and language.

  • DC participated in a meeting convened by the MN Department of Human Rights on policies that will affect the expansion of that department to SE MN. A meeting with leadership of the department addressed potential roles for DC to play in promoting the opportunity and planning for expansion.

  • DC is currently working with the SE MN Workforce Development Board on workforce policies at city and county levels. This will prove to be an important partnership for DC as the focus on workforce shortage continues.

5.   Working directly with 2 [5] or more municipalities and/or governmental entities on integrating underrepresented viewpoints and voices through community engagement efforts and/or appointment practices. 




  • DC is on retainer with Olmsted County. As part of that agreement DC will look at committee recruitment policies and practices.  Diversity Council staff also provided advice on inclusive signage to Olmsted County Public Assistance.

  • DC is contracting with Washington County Youth Services and Hennepin County Public Works to review and recommend changes to policy and practices. 

  • DC worked with Olmsted County on the development of the One Olmsted Resolution. A meeting with the Deputy Administrator addressed ways in which DC can support the equity efforts of the county, both internally and focused on residents.

  • DC has held two community conversations on behalf of St. Anthony Village Human Service Collaborative (we have three clients in St. Anthony Village) as part of a three-year effort to create inclusive environments and policies. City leadership, including the mayor, chief of police, and several department heads are actively participating in planning and implementation.

  • DC executed a work plan for MN Department of Public Safety to address diversity and inclusion needs across the broad scope of service sectors.

6.   Identifying and publicizing 2-3 [9+] critical public policy issues with significant impact on marginalized populations. 



DC publicized events and information related to numerous public policy issues including:

  • A workshop on legal issues affecting transgender individuals 

  • Several training and networking events around disability employment and employment for previously incarcerated

  • A workshop on daycare policy for in-home providers, an effort to address the local child care shortage

  • Mental Health Day on the Hill, a community lobbying event on state mental health policy

  • Participated in and promoted a legislative forum on disabilities and mental health

  • Participated in and publicized Project Community Connect, an annual event that brings together service providers for homeless people.

  • Participated in and publicized community meetings on the sanctuary movement.

  • Participated in and publicized community meetings on DACA. 

  • Participated in and publicized community meetings on housing policy

7.    Developing diverse and engaged leadership in civic circles. DC is participating in and/or delivering the following:


A.   The Ready to Lead initiative relates directly to the development of skills important to government and nonprofit board participation.  DC will continue in this collaborative work by a) convening and certifying 2 [2] cohorts of 10-12 [11 & 12] individuals from underrepresented groups and fostering them into board and committee membership; b) consulting on and lobbying for change in local governmental board/committee appointment processes; and c) increasing diverse membership on local NPO boards by 10 percent [no data].  



  • Two Ready to Lead training series were held over the summer and fall with cohorts of 11 and 12. The next series will begin in January.  

  • A nonprofit and prospect “speed boarding” event was held to connect nontraditional aspiring leaders to local boards and committees. 

  • DC continued conversations with the City of Rochester on making City boards and commissions more inclusive. The City announced a number of changes based on these conversations: accepting applications through the online employment application portal, having applications reviewed by an HR representative in addition to the Mayor's office, conducting interviews with a panel rather than just the mayor, requiring a one-year hiatus between terms of service, and offering orientation to new members.

  • New Facebook page promoted dozens of openings to the diverse alumni of Ready to Lead. A mechanism for tracking participation is under development. 


B.   The Art of Participatory Leadership builds facilitation, grassroots organizing, and convening skills.     



This program was revamped and a new class will begin in April 2018.  


C.   Community Leaders Creating Change, a new DC leadership initiative, provides individuals from underrepresented populations with self-advocacy skills and an understanding of bias. DC will: a) convene an initial cohort 0f 15-20 [20] individuals; b) provide real-life experience in community action; and c) create connections between graduates and civic organizations and initiatives.  



20 people continue to participate in the first CLCC cohort. The group has selected two community projects and begun planning: persuading all candidates for local public office to sign a civility pledge for their campaign, and organizing cross-cultural after school activities. Both projects meet the goals of providing real-life leadership experience and connecting participants to civic organizations and initiatives.



DC is also partnering with More Women on the Move, an organization committed to increasing the number of women in political leadership. DC serves as the fiscal sponsor, and we assisted with a luncheon that was held in the fourth quarter (pictured below).

Educational Equity

Educational equity exists when all individuals are fully prepared for the roles of their choice, regardless of personal or social circumstances. Educational equity requires systems of support that result in full access to opportunities that lead to personal growth.

2017 Educational Equity Goals & Measures

The Diversity Council focuses on three educational issues: addressing the school to prison pipeline by building individual advocacy skills in students, strengthening and diversifying career pathways, and improving communication and connectivity between existing and developing educational resources and potential students.


1.     Deploying youth programming and curriculum modules that address individual empowerment, self-advocacy, advocacy for others, understanding bias, and active participation in school culture - all central to creating positive school and life experiences, establishing a foundation for success, and reducing interactions with the criminal justice system. DC will deliver:


A.   Research-based student and whole family trainings and workshops. DC will a) reach 4,000 [0] grades K through 8 students; b) reach 50-75 [0] families with whole family curriculum and resources; c) reach 400 [295] grades 8 through 12 students with curriculum and interactive skill building forums. 



On hold pending funding. DC continues to discuss approaches to training with Rochester Public Schools and has approached Kasson, Byron, and Lourdes Schools as well. DC delivered equity training to students from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Lourdes, and Rosa Park’s School. 

B.   Peacemakers Camp interactive advocacy, self-expression, and leadership skills sessions. DC will: a) host 2-3 [2] camps with various partner organizations; b) reach a diverse array of students; c) adapt the curriculum as appropriate to fit specific community needs and requests as they arise. 



2 Peacemakers Camps were held in partnership with ACHLA over the summer for 27 at-risk students. 


C.   Student Leaders Creating Change student empowerment and leadership development workshops that improve school culture. DC will: a) establish SLCC after school programs for targeted youth populations; b) engage a minimum of 15 [20] at-risk youth; 3) include siblings and families in related activities as appropriate. 



20 Somali students participated in SLCC through the Somalia Rebuild Organization. The project portion of the program focused on stories and photographs.  

2.    Becoming involved in discussions and activities regarding improved access to and participation in educational programs that promote college readiness, vocational exploration, and skill development for individuals from underrepresented populations. DC will:


A.   Actively engage with a minimum of 4 [4+] community efforts around skill building, nontraditional education, career transitioning, and/or vocational training.




  • DC partnered with CLUES (Communidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio), Workforce Development, Inc., and the regional carpenters union to develop an initiative to train minority workers for careers in carpentry. The first cohort of 9 was completed over the summer. A second cohort is being recruited for session beginning in January. 

  • DC is partnering with Workforce Development, Inc. on a skill-building initiative with the formerly incarcerated population. This effort is supported by DEED funding and is required by WIOA. 

  • DC is actively involved on the SE MN Workforce Development Board of Directors and  the MaxAbility Workgroup.

  • DC provided two opportunities for UMR's Health CORE program to promote themselves through Diversity Day at Thursdays on First and through cosponsoring a FUSE event (Fun and Unique Social Event).

  • DC also publicized numerous cross-cultural employment opportunities through our biweekly newsletter, whose readership is disproportionately from underrepresented populations.


B.   Actively publicize educational issues, opportunities, and solutions a minimum of 5 [8+] times. 



DC publicized: 

  • A Somali workshop on IEP services

  • A Somali addiction and mental health workshop

  • SEMCIL Summer Camp

  • Writing Diaspora: an event featuring Minnesota authors of African heritage

  • Mayo Clinic’s Career Immersion program targeting high school students from underrepresented populations

  • Scholarships for the East African Student to Teacher program designed to increase diversity among educators

  • SEMCIL classes for adults with disabilities

  • Mentorship opportunities with Bolder Options, which targets low-income youth.

3.    Working directly with 4 [5] or more educational institutions to improve organizational culture and address issues of equity on campus. Formal trainings and consultation will result in a) 70 percent of participants reporting an increase in knowledge [63%]; b) one organization reporting significant change in organizational culture/campus relations [no data].



  • DC signed a contract with RCTC to deliver Diversity Office services on behalf of the institution. We also presented training at the Annual Leadership Summit and to an Intercultural Communications class. 

  • DC is working with Winona State University on institutional culture.  

  • DC is partnering with UMR to offer IDI services to clients.

  • DC is working with Riverland College on diversity and inclusion, presenting a workshop on Islam to leadership. 

  • DC presented on inclusion as an ethical issue to an Augsburg University MBA ethics class

Health Equity

Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of wellbeing for all individuals, regardless of personal or social determinants of health. Health equity requires social, economic, and environmental conditions that result in full access to opportunities that lead to healthy lives.

2017 Health Equity Goals & Measure

The Diversity Council monitors critical Health equity issues in the region, moving to advocacy and action as prescribed by collaborative examination and inclusive design. Focus is on creating impact in three main areas: poverty/homelessness, sustainable employment, and community connectedness, which disproportionately impact marginalized populations. 

1.    By establishing or supporting “meta councils” in focus areas, DC will a) collect both quantitative and qualitative information regarding crucial health-related community issues, planning processes, and activities that impact wellness and access to equitable health; b) critically review and publicize related information in a broad and inclusive manner; c) convene around, advocate for, and support actions related to 3 - 4 [4] publically identified health equity topics. 



  • DC is active in three Olmsted County Community Health Improvement Plan workgroups: Advisory, Financial Stress and Obesity. We also participated in the CHIP (Community Health Improvement Plan) planning summit.

  • In its leadership role in the development of a nonprofit consortium, DC prepared a Letter of Intent to distribute to nonprofits and agencies in the Olmsted County to support the shared space initiative. The leadership group (including the DC) also wrote a grant to facilitate hiring a business consultant and investigated pooled healthcare options.

  • DC has a leadership role in Community Networking Group, a group of organizations and individuals who convene around important social issues affected by growth. The ED is heading a workgroup focused on housing. 

2.    By deploying programs and initiatives that directly impact focus areas. 


A.   Allies & Advocates creates a safe place for people experiencing difficulty or distress to talk about and react effectively to concerns and issues. The program is delivered by volunteers in response to requests that come into the Diversity Council by phone, email, or through social media. DC will a) enlist and train a pool of 80-100 [56] volunteers who will interact with a minimum of 50 [27] requestors; deliver a minimum of 5 [3] Allies & Advocates training sessions for the community; host a minimum of 3 [12] Ally Bootcamps with total attendance of 100 [368]; host a minimum of 3 [2] Advocate Conversations with total attendance of 50 [18]. 



  • Trained 56 volunteers

  • Provided one introductory training for 26 students in an RCTC class

  • Delivered 3 A&A trainings for the community at Zumbrota Lutheran Church, Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville, and the DFL. 

  • Presented 12 bootcamps reaching 368 people at RCTC, First Unitarian Universalist Church (twice), Planned Parenthood (twice), Born After Roe, Mayo Clinic, Lourdes High School (twice), the Overcoming Racism Conference, the Women and Spirituality Conference, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, and UMR Connects).

  • Held 2 Advocate Conversation with Christ United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church.

  • Presented on Allies & Advocates at the Overcoming Racism Conference at Metropolitan State Universit

  • Launched Bystander to Upstander, an Allies & Advocates program for colleges in partnership, with the Elimination of Prejudice Foundation. The first training was presented to 200 students at the Pi Lambda Phi national conference in Pennsylvania (pictured below). We signed a formal agreement with the foundation and developed customized curriculum.

B.   enCounter Poverty Southeastern Minnesota (enCPSEMN) community-based response to poverty that includes collaborative visioning (exploring service gaps and redundancies, improving communications and access, maximizing funding potential), cooperative programming, and the development of educational tools that expose individuals to the challenges of poverty in ways that build empathy and lead to action. DC will a) inventory and convene a network of providers consisting of at least 75 organizations of varied size and scope; 2) establish and populate an interactive metadata site reflective of these organizations and their services; c) align with the goals of Olmsted County Public Health Community Health Needs Assessment; d) host a minimum of 2 [2] meta council meetings to galvanize the poverty response sector.



On hold pending funding.



C.   The Human Library program is proven to increase understanding, empathy and equity at the community level by reducing bias and improving cultural understanding at the individual level. DC will a) launch the Human Library initiative using a collaborative model; b) implement 3 [0] pop-up libraries and 1 [4] major public event; c) execute 2 [1] workplace events with key organizations. 


  • Trained 39 Human Books. 

  • Offered introductory presentations at First Presbyterian Church and the University of MN Extension. 

  • Launched the Human Library with a celebration at Rochester Public Library

  • Human Library events were held at Thursdays on First, First Presbyterian Church, the United Way's Big Bold Block Party (pictured below), and International Day of Persons with Disabilities programming at the Civic Center. 

  • 1 workplace event was held at U of M Extension.

3.    Staying abreast of trends in health equity at the national, state, and regional levels and supporting external educational programs and resources that help meet community goals. Identifying and publicizing a minimum of 3 [10] critical health equity issues.   


  • Publicized a Somali workshop on mental health and addiction, designed to address the barriers immigrants face in accessing treatment.

  • Co-sponsored a Kids Count Coffee with the State of MN and Olmsted County to publicize data on vulnerable children from the Children’s Defense Fund. 

  • Co-sponsored an event on human trafficking of males with Assisi Heights.

  • Co-sponsored Faith and Health, an event on the role of faith organizations in public health

  • Co-sponsored, promoted, and participated numerous dialogues on affordable housing with CURE (1), DMC (1), Mayo (1), the Olmsted County Financial Stress workgroup (4), and CNG (2)

  • As part of our weekly blog, we released a podcast addressing sexual harassment and assault and the "Me Too" movement.

  • Co-sponsored an expo on assistive technology and resources that promote inclusion for persons with disabilities

  • Co-hosted and promoted dialogues on child care shortages with the Olmsted County Financial Stress workgroup, Families First and Family Service Rochester, and the Community Networking Group.

  • Co-sponsored the Supplier Diversity Conference along with Mayo, the Chamber of Commerce, and the City, with the goal of promoting minority-owned businesses.

  • Publicized and participated in the Mayo Clinic Equity and Inclusion in Health Care Conference, promoted equity in health care access and practices.

4.    Hosting, attending, and/or convening cultural awareness events and programs to improve community connectivity and awareness of equity issues. DC will:


A. Participate in a minimum of 8 [11] outreaches to community events or audiences, promoting DC and diversity resources and services available in the region.



Hosted booths at:

  • World Festival

  • Diversity Day at Thursdays on First

  • United Way's Big Bold Block Party

  • Women and Spirituality Conference

  • Juneteenth 

  • Supplier Diversity Conference


Made presentations to:

  • ELCA pastors

  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

  • Kiwanis

  • Mayo disability MERG (2)

  • Mayo Onboarding Workgroup

B.    Host a minimum of 3 [3] Fun & Unique Social Encounters (FUSE) events in partnership with community partners.



DC hosted FUSE events with Third Judicial District, UMR, and Bolder Options.


C.    Co-host 3 [2] diVERSE public events in partnership with Rochester Art Center.



The first diVERSE event on the theme of Black History was held in combination with the MLK youth poetry contest recital (pictured below), with 130 people in attendance. The second diVERSE event on the theme of LGBTQIA rights was held with 56 people in attendance.

D.    Participate in developing and implementing a minimum of 3 [14] culturally-significant community programs, events, or performances.  


  • Co-hosted Youth Empowerment Day with Ajani Carr

  • Co-sponsored a public informational event with the Mexican Consul General

  • Hosted the Annual Celebration featuring Dr. Duchess Harris and international musical performances (pictured below)

  • Co-sponsored the Green Card Voices Exhibit with Rochester International Association

  • Co-hosted CURE Housing conversation

  • Co-sponsored Stand Against Racism Open Mic

  • Co-sponsored Transgender Troops Rally

  • Co-hosted and helped organize Being Muslim

  • Organized Diversity Day at Thursdays on First

  • Co-hosted and helped organize Community in Motion

  • Co-sponsored Food for Thought

  • Co-sponsored Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans listening session

  • Co-sponsored Woman Stands Shining

  • Co-sponsored Love Music/Hate Racism


1130 1/2 7th Street NW

Rochester, MN 55902



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