Bo Thao-Urabe and Otis Zanders receive 2018 Facing Race awards
For Immediate Release
September 6, 2018
CONTACT: Ashley Aram
(Saint Paul, Minn.) The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations today announced Bo Thao-Urabe and Otis Zanders as recipients of the 2018 Facing Race Awards. The awardees will be recognized at a public ceremony held on October 1, at the University of St. Thomas.
“The Foundations believe there is no hierarchy in human value,” said Dr. Eric J. Jolly, president and CEO of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations. “Addressing racism in our community is an effort that requires partnership and shared learning – and Bo Thao-Urabe and Otis Zanders have shown our community what is possible when agents and agencies of change work together to create a community that works for all its members. We thank them for their leadership in this work, and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in October.”
Bo Thao-Urabe co-founded the Coalition of Asian American Leaders and serves as the organization’s executive and network director. She has more than 20 years of experience serving the community through her leadership of local and national organizations. She also co-founded organizations such as Hmong Women Achieving Together, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, Building Our Future, RedGreen Rivers and Building More Philanthropy with Purpose Giving Circle.
“At this time in our country we must take a long hard look in the mirror to see who we really are. Whether it be facts or stories, the faces that stare back at us tell us that our country and our state are leaving a lot of people behind, especially poor, indigenous and communities of color,” said Thao-Urabe. “Racial equity must continue to be all of our work so that Minnesota can truly be the state that deserves all of our 'Best of' titles. If we succeed, we can all truly feel proud of all the accolades that Minnesota is leading the way. I am grateful to the nominator for honoring me, and I am humbled to now be joining the many past recipients who I respect so much for their conviction to this work.”
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 is dedicated and committed to Ujamaa Place, and to serving young African American men who are served in its stabilization programs.
"Accepting this Facing Race Award is an honor that inspires me to keep fighting for the most marginalized population in society - African American men ages 18 to 30 who experience the harsh reality of racial inequity every day. Facing Race means giving Ujamaa men hope that the challenges they face are being addressed. Facing Race means the community cannot be silent nor complacent in responding to race issues. Facing Race means we are all soldiers in the war for equality for people in our community and around the world,” said Zanders.
The Facing Race Awards, now in its twelfth year, honors individuals and organizations working to eliminate racism and its effects throughout the state of Minnesota. The awards are part of the Foundations' ongoing commitment to racial equity and offer the opportunity to recognize community members who are courageously transforming the region and state.
The awardees were selected by the Facing Race Awards Selection Committee, made up of previous Facing Race Award honorees. Each awardee will receive a $15,000 grant to designate to a nonprofit of their choosing. The Foundations previously announced noted scholar and author Duchess Harris as the keynote speaker for the 2018 Facing Race Awards.
To learn more, visit facingrace.org.
About Bo Thao-Urabe
Having survived the Secret War in Laos, Bo Thao-Urabe immigrated with her family to America as a refugee child. Her heritage and roots, 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 most impacted in order to access resources and rebuild cultures and systems.
Thao-Urabe 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 through her leadership of local and national organizations.
Because she believes there is no right solution to society’s toughest challenges, Thao-Urabe actively works to break down silos to accelerate solutions. She 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. Her leadership has been recognized locally and nationally.
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.
Zanders 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. Zanders 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.
About the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations
We believe in the best of Minnesota and the power of its communities. With roots in Saint Paul and partners across the state, we are Minnesota’s largest community foundation and the partner of choice for thousands of donors, nonprofits and community organizations. We inspire generosity to make Minnesota better for all who call it home.