Welcoming Community: Language Equity

Language plays an integral role in how we interact within our communities and feel a sense of belonging. Welcoming efforts around language can include the use of bi-lingual signage, availability of translators, and awareness of how our words are perceived and impact those around us.

Considering the relationship between language use 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 stories around language equity in the Northland.

Continued Learning

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide the community with 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 April is Language Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question:

“In terms of language equity in NE 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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Complete the Inclusion Readiness Assessment Online

On April 14, 2022, the virtual Inclusion Readiness Assessment session was hosted by Northspan in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality.

The meeting featured an orientation to the Inclusion Readiness Assessment and breakout rooms for participants to complete a portion of the assessment related to a community sector they are involved with (schools, health care, local government, businesses, law enforcement, faith organizations, and nonprofit organizations). Over 50 community members participated in the session.

The Inclusion Readiness Assessment is used to establish a baseline to understand how inclusive our communities are for individuals from all backgrounds and differing lived experiences. This includes individuals from underrepresented groups including but not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, veterans, persons with a disability, elders (65+), and youth (18-23).

Using the results from the assessments, Northspan’s Welcoming Community programming is launching learning cohorts centered around inclusion topics in these three communities:

  • Cloquet School District
  • Cook County School District
  • Rock Ridge School District

Do you live or work in one of the learning cohort communities?

Please visit this link to view the video of the orientation session and complete the assessment online.

The next step in the process includes a two-hour Zoom action planning meeting for each community where the results of the assessment are reported and used to inform the learning topics for the Inclusion Learning Cohorts in that community.

The Inclusion Learning Cohorts will be monthly in-person educational and conversational spaces for community members to come together to learn and discuss topics related to inclusion and take action in addressing inclusion gaps in their community. These are set to begin in each community in June or July 2022.

Please contact alewis@northspan.org for more information or if you are interested in participating in the action planning session for one of these communities.

Click Here To Take The Assessment

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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 May 4th, 2022.

  • The Lyceum Movement-Duluth Lyceum
    • Date: April 25th
    • Location: Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in Duluth, MN
    • Learn more here
  • Hello Iron Range: Welcome to Hibbing Event
    • Date: April 28th
    • Location: Hibbing Memorial Building, Hibbing, MN
    • Learn more here
  • Uniting for Democracy in the Northland workshop
    • Date: April 30th
    • Location: Lake Superior College, Duluth, MN
    • Apply here
  • Innovate 218: RINK Pitch Competition
    • Date: May 11th
    • Location: Rapids Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, MN
    • Learn more here
  • AICHO’s Business Plan Overview for Indigenous & BIPOC Entrepreneurs Session
    • Date: May 12th
    • Location: Online
    • Register here by May 9th
  • Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop: Bois Forte
    • Date: May 16th-17th
    • Location: Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower, MN
    • Register here
  • Celebrate Juneteenth
    • Date: June 19th
    • Location: KAXE Rotary Tent in Grand Rapids, MN
    • Learn more here

Ongoing Events

  • Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness: Northern MN Book Club
    • Location: Online or In-person
    • Register here
  • Minnesota Women’s Press Changemakers Alliance

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Invite a Friend 

If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please forward this email 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.