Welcoming Community: Expression Equity

The freedom to express oneself, see expressions of one’s culture, and feel those expressions are heard and valued are important to how community members are welcomed and experience a sense of belonging in their communities. Historically, power imbalances between different groups have centered the expression and expansion of the perspectives and culture of the majority population. A recognition of the imbalance of the power dynamics involved in expression equity can help organizations and community members support the inclusive expression of diverse groups. 

Expression equity is a topic that can be explored by community members to engage difficult conversations and support diversity and inclusion, en route to equity. Some questions we might ask are: Are limits to expression necessary? What is the value of allowing for expression of diverse or even controversial voices in our communities?     

Welcoming efforts around expression equity might include: 

  • Highlighting voices of community members representing minority groups 
  • Supporting artistic expressions from diverse cultures and methods 
  • Programming to encourage community members to engage across difference

Considering the relationship between expression and inclusion is essential to understanding a more complete picture of equity across the Northland. Visit the Resources to Explore section to learn more about some current initiatives and stories around expression equity in the Northland. 

“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” – Tammy Baldwin 

Continued Learning  

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide continued opportunities for learning and connection related to topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region. In our monthly emails, we highlight a specific equity topic and provide resources related to the monthly theme. 

The theme for the month of August is Expression Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question: 

“In terms of expression equity in northeast Minnesota, where have we come from, where are we now, and what steps do we need to take to reach an equitable future?” 

Resources to Explore

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The Duluth Lyceum at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. 

After a pause to allow Northlanders a chance to enjoy the beautiful July weather, the Duluth Lyceum returns to Bent Paddle Brewing Co. on August 22nd! We are excited to welcome Director of the Duluth Art Institute Christina Woods as our presenter to launch us into our discussions for the night. 

Our topic for August is: Art and the Meaning of Life. This month’s theme will deal with why art is important to humanity and what function it plays in our society. From the time of the early cave paintings to now, human beings have treated art as an essential part of life. Why is art important to us and why are we driven to create it? How can it help us to make sense of our lives and of our world? 

The Lyceum Movement is a national non-profit movement with the purpose of bringing community members together to discuss important topics and learn together in a social and historical setting. View a short video to learn more about the Lyceum here.  

Register for the August Duluth Lyceum here! 

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Registration Continues for Inclusion Learning Cohorts 

Registration is still open for the  Inclusion Learning Cohorts in the Cloquet and Cook County areas! Participation in the Inclusion Learning Cohorts is limited to those who live or work in the school district areas of the respective communities.  

The planning process for what the unique workshops in each community will look like has continued and been informed by the Inclusion Readiness Assessment in each community. Topics of interest and relevance have been agreed upon and educators asked to participate based on input from community members at the Inclusion Readiness Assessment and Reporting virtual meetings, through open ended comments in the Inclusion Readiness Assessment survey, and with feedback from the NE MN Welcoming Community Advisory Committee. More information below!

Cloquet Area Inclusion Learning Cohort 

Third Monday of the Month, September-March

First Meeting: September 19th, 2022  

Agenda: Dinner and Socializing, 5:00-5:30PM; Interactive Program, 5:30-7:30PM 

Location: Cloquet Public Library (320 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720)  

Register here!


Cook County Area Inclusion Learning Cohort 

First Thursday of the Month, October-April 

First Meeting: October 6th, 2022 

Agenda: Dinner and Socializing, 5:00-5:30PM; Interactive Program, 5:30-7:30PM 

Location: Cook County Higher Education Building (300 W 3rd St, Grand Marais, MN 55604)  

Register here!


The Inclusion Learning Cohorts are learning opportunities where community members engage in hands-on activities with stakeholders, subject matter experts, and community members. The monthly cohort workshops provide a framework for communities to:

  1. build relationships  
  2. learn inclusive community practices 
  3. discuss areas of need in the community, and  
  4. identify a community venture project to move forward together.

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Welcoming: In the News!

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Welcoming Events Across the Northland 

Many initiatives are ongoing to support Welcoming across northeast Minnesota. Listed below are some in-person and digital opportunities to explore and participate in!

Do you know about a connection opportunity we could highlight in an upcoming newsletter? Submit proposals to alewis@northspan.org by September 5th, 2022.


 ILT Academy: Innovate 218 Fall Cohort 2022 

Date: Applications Due August 17th  

Learn more here


True Tuesdays 

Date: August 16th, 3rd Tuesday of the Month 

Location: Online 

Learn more here


The Lyceum MovementDuluth Lyceum  

Date: August 22nd 

Location: Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in Duluth, MN 

Learn more here


Native Governance Center: Indigenous Data Sovereignty in a Post-Roe World 

Date: August 24th 

Location: Online 

Learn more here


Duluth Superior Pride Festival   

Date: August 30th – September 5th 

Various Locations 

Learn more here 



Ongoing Events


Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging: Classes, Workshops, Trainings 

Learn more here


Entrepreneur Fund: Stride 

Learn more here


The Culture: 8 BIPOC Businesses-One Building 

Learn more here


St. Louis County Historical Society: Ojibwe Storytelling 

1PM every Wednesday and Saturday, June 26th through Labor Day  

Where: St. Louis County Historical Society


Members Cooperative Credit Union (MCCU): Financial Education Webinars 

Learn more here 

Banzai Financial Wellness Library


City of Virginia: Music in the Park Series 

Learn more here


Wednesday Events: Fond du Lac Language and Cultural Center 

Time: 5PM-8PM 

Learn more here


American Indian Community Housing Organization: Indigenous Art By Shaun Chosa 

Learn more here


Uniting for Democracy in the Northland 

Learn More here


Employer Champions Initiative 

Register here


Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness: Northern MN Book Club 

Register here


Minnesota Women’s Press Changemakers Alliance 

Learn more here


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Invite a Friend  

If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please share this blog post so they can learn more & Click Here to join our email list. 

Contact Northspan’s Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org with any questions.