Welcoming Community: LGBTQI+ Equity

Northeast Minnesota, like many other regions, has a history of LGBTQI+ discrimination, activism, progress, and ongoing challenges. As June is recognized as LGBTQI+ Pride month, we want to challenge you to consider the topic of LGBTQI+ Equity in this month’s newsletter.  

LGBTQI+ individuals have seen significant progress in achieving equality and acceptance in northeast Minnesota, but challenges still persist in many of our rural areas where LGBTQI+ individuals can face discrimination, harassment, and prejudice. 

Supporting equitable environments for LGBTQI+ individuals is a significant factor that can contribute to their potential to achieve success and be fully engaged in the community. Ensuring that all LGBTQI+ community members have the ability to access fair housing, employment, social, health, and other resources is an important piece to creating equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities.  

Efforts are being undertaken by individuals and groups in northeast Minnesota to promote LGBTQI+ equity and provide every individual within our communities with equitable opportunities be their full, authentic selves. 

A recognition of past and continuing inequities can help local governments, community members, and organizations advocate for LGBTQI+ community members in the region.  

Welcoming efforts around LGBTQI+ equity might consist of:  

  • Increasing community access to support networks and resources for LGBTQI+ individuals who may be experiencing feelings of isolation 
  • Supporting schools and parents working together in creating inclusive environments, combating bullying, and offering mental health services to support LGBTQI+ youth 
  • Identifying and addressing housing, employment, or health discrimination towards LGBTQI+ community members 

Considering LGBTQI+ equity is essential to understanding a more complete picture of equity across the Northland. Visit the Resources to Explore section to learn more about current initiatives and stories around LGBTQI+ equity in the Northland.  

“It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.”– Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir  

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 June is LGBTQI+ Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question: 

“In terms of LGBTQI+ 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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Inclusion Learning Cohort Application Deadline:
June 30
th, 2023! 

Northspan’s Welcoming Community program announced the launch of the application for the 2023-2024 Inclusion Learning Cohorts last month. The Inclusion Learning Cohorts are an opportunity for community members to come together to build relationships, learn about inclusion, discuss challenges in the community, and complete a Community Inclusion Project.

If you are interested in your community being considered as the next Inclusion Learning Cohort community in Northeast Minnesota  please submit an application by June 30th, 2023.  

If you have any questions about the application or timeline please contact Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org.

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Northeast Minnesota Digital Connection Committees to Provide Data for State of Minnesota Digital Equity Plan

In March of 2023, the State of Minnesota Office of Broadband Development (OBD) asked local areas across the state to form Digital Connection Committees (DCCs). The intent of the DCCs is to gather data on digital equity and inclusion in communities across the state. This data will be used to inform the initial draft of a statewide digital equity plan to reduce gaps in access, device ownership, and digital skills.

Nine DCCs formed across Northeast Minnesota (listed below) and Northspan has been working to connect the committees with one another. Gatherings have been facilitated to share resources and learnings, with the goal of elevating regional themes related to digital inclusion.  

In working to ensure that all of our counties and the Tribal Nations in our shared geography have the opportunity to provide input into the draft of the Digital Equity Plan, Northspan crafted a survey to gather additional information on digital inclusion in our region. If you are interested in providing data from your community, please complete the survey by June 25th, 2023.  

Take Survey

Northeast Minnesota Digital Connection Committees 

  • Aitkin County Government   
  • Biwabik Township 
  • Duluth Digital Inclusion Alliance   
  • Hibbing Public Library   
  • Koochiching County 
  • Town of White   
  • Northspan Group, Inc. 
  • Quad Cities Public Libraries 
  • Wilderness Health   

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Welcoming: In the News! 

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Welcoming Events Across the Northland 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Gardner, Ojibwemowining Digital Arts   

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 events to alewis@northspan.org by July 10th, 2023. 

Lake Vermilion Traditional Pow Wow
June 23-25
 Bois Forte Vermilion Government Center
1610 Farm Rd S, Tower
Learn more here  

AICHO: Birchbark & Cattails:
An Homage to Land that Creates Art

May 8th – June 30th, 2023
212 W 2nd Street, Duluth, MN
Learn more here 

Family Freedom Center’s Freedom Fridays
June 30th and July 28th, 2023, 4-6PM
The Washington Center, 310 N 1st Ave
Learn more here  

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging:
Virtual Mental Health First Aid Training 

July 19th, 2023
For more info or to register, contact:
Jess at jlanger@ardc.org or Kimberly at kscanlon@ardc.org 

The Duluth Lyceum: Why Democracy?
July 27th, 2023
Duluth Folk School/Dovetail Cafe, Duluth, MN
Learn more here 

Lake Superior Chapter, Association for Talent Development:
Top 10 Mistakes Leaders Make in Organizational DEI Efforts and Strategies

August 18th, 2023
College of St. Scholastica, Mitchell Auditorium
Learn more here 

Duluth-Superior Pride
Dates: August 31st -September 4th, 2023
Learn more here 

Ongoing Events 

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Various Events
Learn more here 

MN Department of Health:
Mental Well-Being and Resilience Learning Community

Learn more here 

Stepping On Up: Safe Bay Opens April 17
Volunteers Needed

Learn more here 

Boundary Waters Connect: Hello Neighbor
Learn more here 

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa:
Ke Go Naa! Language Lessons

Learn more here 

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging:
Classes, Workshops, Trainings

Learn more here  

Entrepreneur Fund: Stride
Learn more here 

Members Cooperative Credit Union
Financial Education Webinars

Learn more here 

Banzai Financial Wellness Library

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 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.