2018 Facing Race Awards

Changing the Narrative

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations hosted a celebration honoring anti-racism activists in Minnesota. We honored two community leaders working to change the narrative on race and build communities where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

Otis Zanders - 2018 Facing Race Award Recipient

Bo Thao-Urabe - 2018 Facing Race Award Recipient

About Bo Thao-Urabe

Having survived the Secret War in Laos, Bo Thao-Urabe immigrated with her family to America as a refugee. Her heritage as well as her lived experiences have driven her to create work that heals, serves those most in need and builds power with people who are most impacted in order to access resources and rebuild cultures and systems.

Bo co-founded the Coalition of Asian American Leaders and today she serves as CAAL’s Executive and Network Director. She has more than 20 years of experience serving the community in a variety of capacities that include leading local and national organizations.

Bo has co-founded a number of organizations, including Hmong Women Achieving Together, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, Building Our Future, RedGreen Rivers and Building More Philanthropy with Purpose Giving Circle.


About Otis Zanders

Otis Zanders is the President and CEO of Ujamaa Place. He joined Ujamaa Place in 2012 following a 35 year career with the Minnesota Department of Corrections so he could continue to serve the most marginalized population in society - African and African American men between the ages of 18 - 30.

Otis was raised during the Jim Crow era in Mississippi. He was the first member of his family to finish high school. He received an academic scholarship to Gustavus Adolphus College. Otis credits his mother for instilling in him a value system based on his African ancestry of love, strength and determination to take care of those most in need.

Otis is dedicated and committed to Ujamaa Place, and to serving young African American men who are served in its stabilization programs.



Noted scholar and author Duchess Harris joined us in Saint Paul for the 2018 Facing Race Awards. 

Harris is a tenured professor and chair of the American studies department at Macalester College, and is a scholar of contemporary African American history and political theory.

She holds a Juris Doctorate and has expertise in civil rights law and received the "Profiles in Courage" award from The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers in 2015. Harris is currently a member of Governor Mark Dayton's Board of Public Defense.

She is the author of several academic books, including Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity, and Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump.

Harris is also the curator of the Duchess Harris Collection, which has more than 40 books written for children from 3rd to 12th grade, including Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA and Black Lives Matter.