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Foundation Announces Facing Race Honorees Valerie Castile, Resmaa Menakem, Alex Miles and Leslie Redmond


Oct. 6, 2020 – The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (the Foundation) today announced the recipients of its Facing Race Awards, an annual celebration honoring individuals and organizations working to eliminate racism and its effects in Minnesota. Valerie Castile, Resmaa Menakem, Alex Miles and Leslie Redmond will be recognized during a special Facing Race Awards program to air at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25, on the Minnesota Channel of Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). Joining the program will be special guest Jonathan Capehart, Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion columnist for the Washington Post, host of the publication’s Cape Up podcast and MSNBC contributor.

“Through their commitment to equity, our Facing Race honorees are powerful agents of change,” said Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Foundation. “Their courage and actions are challenging misleading and harmful narratives on race in our community and instilling hope that we can create a just and vibrant Minnesota that works for all of us. We honor and thank them for their leadership.”

This year’s awards will be celebrated during a thirty-minute presentation on TPT hosted by Jolly and the Foundation’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Learning Nadege Souvenir. Honorees will share stories of their community activism and anti-racism work in Minnesota; Capehart will provide commentary.

“My goal as a journalist is to create greater understanding,” said Capehart. “But my work is nothing without the vital efforts of people like the recipients of this year’s Facing Race Awards. They are on the ground, making their communities better, whole, inclusive, conscious.”

Following the broadcast, viewers will be invited to join a panel discussion with honorees during a live Q&A Zoom event hosted by Jolly and Souvenir. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required.

Established in 2007, the Foundation’s Facing Race Awards honor Minnesota’s anti-racism activists who work tirelessly to change the narrative on race and create communities where everyone feels safe, valued and respected. This year’s honorees will receive a grant, which they will designate to a nonprofit of their choice.

About Facing Race Honorees

  • Valerie Castile is CEO and president of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which helps victims of gun and police violence. In memory of her son, Philando, Castile works to eliminate racism and its effects by educating the public, community groups, youth and police. The Foundation provides food and kindness to Saint Paul Public School children, where her son was employed as a cafeteria supervisor. Through the Castile Feeds the Children Campaign, student lunch debt has been paid in the Robbinsdale and Minneapolis school districts. Castile’s goal is to expand the campaign nationally.
  • Resmaa Menakem is a healer, New York Times best-selling author, therapist, self-described cultural trauma navigator, communal provocateur and coach. He has served in leadership positions at African American Family Services, the Wilder Foundation and as a certified Military and Family Life Consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces. Additionally, Menakem has been a trauma consultant in public schools and a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department.
  • Alex Miles is a recent graduate of Twin Cities Academy, a college preparatory middle and high school located on the east side of St. Paul. He is a founding member of the Racial Justice Club—an organization offering a safe place for student discussions on what it means to be a person of color in school, community and country. He extends his efforts by engaging with community members and organizations, including the District 1 Community Council, in order to share with lawmakers, politicians and law enforcement what daily life is like for students and offers solutions to their daily challenges.
  • Leslie Redmond is the current president of the NAACP Minneapolis; she is the youngest president in the local chapter’s history. Under her leadership, the chapter has received national accreditation and recognition. For the past three years, Redmond has worked to elevate the Black community while pursuing a law degree and an MBA. She challenges the issues of mass incarceration, housing discrimination, health disparities and opportunity gaps affecting the poor and Black communities. Redmond is a mentor to many and a champion for eliminating racism.

Editor’s note: Find a Facing Race program description and honoree headshots in the Foundation’s pressroom.

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