Honoring Minnesota's Anti-racism Advocates since 2007
The Facing Race Awards recognize anti-racism activists in Minnesota who challenge absent and harmful narratives on race, build solutions that unite instead of divide, and push for justice and equity. Through these Awards, we celebrate and learn from those leading the way forward.
2023 Facing Race Awards
We are excited to announce this year’s four Facing Race Award recipients: Trahern Crews, Rayona Kardell, Rose McGee and Asha Shoffner! Beginning October 12, you can watch their stories by streaming the 2023 Facing Race Awards Show right here.
We look forward to celebrating this year’s recipients and the impact they’re making in our community.
Trahern Crews is the co-founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Minnesota – one of the nation’s most active chapters. As a reparationist, social justice advocate and grassroots organizer, the Saint Paul native strives to make Minnesota a more equitable state.
Over the course of his career in activism, Trahern has led the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission and worked on the Minnesota Migration Act. He has also run for public office as a member of the Green Party and is currently working with other leaders to put together a textbook on how to create social change in an effort to pass down their strategies and techniques to the next generations.
Rayona Kardell is one of two client advocates at Breaking Free, a nonprofit that assists clients who have experienced sex trafficking or sexual exploitation. She is passionate about helping her clients overcome the barriers they face and achieve the goals they’ve felt they would never reach.
“Rayona goes out of her way to bring clients food and hygiene items at their homes or treatment facilities after already putting in her eight hours for the day,” said her coworker and nominator. She has helped women, both young and old, break generational curses and find purpose, using her life experiences to provide clients with love and inspiration when they need it the most.
Rose McGee is an activist who uses an unlikely tool to advocate for justice – sweet potato pies. Since the untimely death of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, Rose has been delivering comfort to those impacted by racial trauma with what she calls ‘the sacred dessert of Black culture’. Since then she has expanded her concept to Sweet Potato Comfort Pie®, an organization that serves as a catalyst for caring and building community.
With the help of volunteers, Rose has baked and delivered over 4,000 pies across the country in response to racially driven events in Charleston, South Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Standing Rock and our very own Twin Cities.
Asha Shoffner is her most authentic self when she’s surrounded by nature. She leads Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s outdoor and environmental education work. She has initiated and managed groundbreaking programs to create opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the Twin Cities to enjoy the outdoors. In the past year, Asha has organized 45 BIPOC-specific events, reaching over 500 people.
She is the founder and creator of BIPOC Outdoors Twin Cities, a safe and welcoming space for BIPOC and queer folks to experience the excitement of fishing (including ice fishing) workshops, cross-country skiing and snowboarding lessons, Indigenous plant medicine hikes, camping/canoeing trips and more.
Watch the 2022 Facing Race Awards
While you wait for the 2023 Facing Race Awards premiere, check out last year’s Facing Race Award recipients. The show, produced by TPT, premiered Oct. 23, 2022. Stream the show below to learn about the impact our 2022 award winners have made and watch an energetic and captivating performance by taiko group Ensō Daiko.
Advocating for Equity
The Facing Race Awards recognize anti-racism activists in Minnesota who challenge absent and harmful narratives on race, build solutions that unite, instead of divide, and push for justice and equity. Through these Awards, we celebrate and learn from those leading the way forward.
The Facing Race Awards, established in 2007, are just one way the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation advocates for equity. Learn more about our narrative change and anti-racism efforts, and how you can join us.