The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation hosts an annual celebration honoring anti-racism activists in Minnesota. The Awards are an opportunity to celebrate and learn from the solutions and achievements of those in our community who are challenging harmful or absent narratives on race and building a community where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.
The Facing Race Awards were established in 2007. Award recipients are nominated by the community, and chosen by the community. The Awards are just one of the ways the Foundation advocates for equity.
Meet Our 2019 Award Recipients
Tuleah Palmer is the daughter of Sid Palmer and Jill Abernathy. Her father was a lifelong resident of Ball Club and descends from the Nipissing Nation in Ontario, and her mother is a lifelong advocate of social justice. Tuleah resides in Cass Lake, Minnesota, and is the mother of a blended Anishinaabe family of seven children, ages 3 to 22.
She serves as the executive director of Northwest Indian Community Development Center. Her career has woven itself through many community organizing projects and programs that have made significant changes in people’s lives for better.
She serves on the Governor’s Workforce Board, Racial Equity Committee, DHS American Indian Workforce Development Initiative, DHS Mental Health Innovations Board, MDH & Wilder Healthcare Equity Leadership Team. Informally, she is claimed by her community and trusted to navigate complex narratives with truth and integrity. She believes leadership is about knowing when and how to act and creating space for others to stand in truth and justice.
Rev. Gloria Roach Thomas
In July 2018, after 20 years of pastoring and 25 years working prior to pastoring, Reverend Gloria Roach Thomas retired. As a pastor, she served Brooklyn United Methodist Church in Brooklyn Center and Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in Saint Paul.
Prior to ordained ministry and pastoring, she worked in non-profit management. It was during these years that she began to finding her ‘voice’ in working with equity issues, which led her to advocacy and work to reduce the impact of racial disparities.
She continues to teach ‘Death and Dying Across Cultures and Religions’ as an adjunct Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota in the Mortuary Science Program in the School of Medicine. She also works with “Fiscally Fit,” a program working to eliminate economic disparities by fostering financial health and wellness.