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In the fight for racial equality and justice, what can our communit y do next?


TABLEOFCONTENTS

FARGO MONTHLY // SEPTEMBER 2020

COVER STORY

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WHAT'S NEXT?

Here at Fargo Monthly, our priority is always to share the good in the community. And to be honest, it has been hard to find the positives in the midst of unrest. But that isn't to say that they don't exist, but rather they show themselves in different ways. Our nation is hungry for justice and further education on how to help, so we hope to continue the discussion with these stories and resources from our very community. Systematic changes will come, but it starts with understanding each other. Come with us as we hear from a number of community members and learn with us how to be a better conduit for positive change. The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue On Supporting Youth Finance Others Boutique Alexandre Cyusa Zandbroz Books Be Exist: Plains Art Museum Supporting BlPOC Businesses

FEATURES 16 About OneFargo

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EDITORIALNOTE

WHY DID WE MAKE THIS ISSUE?

W

e here at Fargo Monthly always try to operate with full transparency. And in the spirit of transparency, according to our year-long editorial calendar, this September issue of the magazine was supposed to be our "Dessert Issue." A whole issue dedicated to bakers who create art with their cakes, ice-cream made right on location and anything with whipped cream on top. Just thinking about it feels dreamy and sweet. It would have been easy to make that issue. To skip around town and photograph and review all sorts of sweet treats. To continue our magazine's mission of highlighting local businesses and celebrating the light, fun things that surround us. But this month, we couldn't take that easy route with a clear conscious. In the past few months, we've seen a monumental 2020. First, the coronavirus pandemic shook everything up, leaving us uncertain, hurting and nervous for our neighbors. Then on May 25, we faced the ripples that occurred in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As protests and demands for justice took place nation-wide, many of us in the Fargo-Moorhead community experienced pain, anger and a renewed desire to take action. While there is nothing we can do to reverse what has already happened in the ongoing fight

for racial justice, we can come together to ensure our future is changed and events like Floyd's death will never happen again. According to the 2010 census, only 12.89 percent of North Dakota's population is non-white, with 2.72 percent identifying as Black or African American. It's easy to look at statistics and numbers like these and think, "That's not that many people!" But every single person matters and every individual in the state should be treated with the same rights, dignity and respect. Even though that number looks small, it accounts for thousands of people who all want to feel safe and successful in our state. We dedicate this issue to the 12.89 percent. The individuals who, admittedly, don't often see themselves on our pages. Those who don't turn on the TV to see someone who looks like them. To those who are infuriated, sick and tired of hearing about the mistreatment of their brothers and sisters. It's easy to say, "Well, there's just not a lot of BIPOC in our community, so it is hard to equally represent them." But we don't want to take the easy way out anymore. This issue will not be a token, one-time spectacle where we can pat ourselves on the back and feel we've done a good job standing up for BIPOC. This issue will serve as a pledge to continue supporting the 12.89 percent non-white population, this issue and every issue.


To continue giving them a platform to showcase their successes. To continue to ensure they are treated the same as everyone else in our community. Within this issue, we included essays by local Black leaders, resources on how to further educate yourself, how to be an ally and Black-owned businesses to support. We know that advocacy and education are huge benefits to our BIPOC community, but so is money. Because of this, we will be donating 15% of new ad sale dollars to Fargo Moorhead Mutual Aid. Fargo Moorhead Mutual Aid is a network of community members supporting those in our community facing uncertainly. In their own words, "We prioritize funds to BIPOC, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, and people with disabilities as we recognize that our safety and security are intrinsically linked to one another, and these groups are systematically denied access to necessary support structures. We do not discriminate against anyone seeking assistance. Additionally, it may not be possible to fulfill all requests we receive, our hope is we can efficiently disperse contributions to as many people as possible." To contribute to the Fargo Moorhead Mutual Aid yourself, find them on Venmo @Solidarity-Fund. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to them at FMsolidarityfund@gmail.com.

This issue will not be sweet and sugar-coated, as originally planned for the month. We always aim to share the positive stories in our community, and with a subject matter this serious, it was hard to achieve that. As a balance, we decided to allow community leaders to speak in their own words and to highlight the progress we are seeing here. We hope you will take to heart the resources we've provided in the next pages and find a spark to take action, no matter how seemingly small that action is.

The Spotlight Editorial Team.


Volume 10 / Issue 7

SEPTEMBER 2020

Fargo Monthly Magazine is published 12 times a year and is free. Copies are available at more than 500 Fargo-Moorhead locations and digitally at fargomonthly.com.

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North Dakota State athletics has always been defined by tradition and success. Whether it is the recent success in the Division I era or the copious amounts of championships accrued in the Division II days, the Bison have always found a way to thrive. At Bison Illustrated, we are committed to putting that adherence to tradition on full display in every issue. However, where did that desire to succeed come from? We take a look at the past to help us understand why North Dakota State has been so successful in the present. Through notable teams, student-athletes, coaches and events, we take a deep dive into Bison athletics history and tradition.

Look for our cover story with Minnesota Twins President/ CEO Dave St. Peter later this month! Read all past issues at fargoinc.com

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One Race,one love,

One Fargo

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THIS ISSUE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN MADE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE FROM THE TEAM AT ONEFARGO. TO ENSURE WE PORTRAYED THE ISSUES CORRECTLY, SHOWCASED THE RIGHT CAUSES AND SPREAD THE RIGHT MESSAGE, WE CALLED UPON THESE FOUR YOUNG ACTIVISTS. READ MORE HERE TO GET TO KNOW WHO THE INDIVIDUALS BEHIND ONEFARGO ARE AND WHAT THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR.

Wess Philome, Ritchell Aboah, Angelina Sam Teewon and Anyiwei Maciek were strangers just a few months ago. Self-proclaimed as a ragtag band of misfits, these four first-generation Americans banded together in early June to lead a movement. Adopting the name "OneFargo ND - Stand for Change," this group of activists has made their presence known in the community, leading peaceful protests and marches, attending City Hall meetings, meeting privately with city officials to discuss positive change and bringing awareness for numerous issues the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community faces. Since June, OneFargo has been all over local media. Some features shining a positive light on them, others with less than enthusiastic words about them. Comment sections on social media are flooded with comments and opinions and what these four millennials are doing, how they are doing it and why they are doing it. No matter the personal opinions, there's no denying that this group has made some permanent stitches on the embroidery of our community. As with something as polarising as racial inequities, opinions versus facts float around. But the members of OneFargo want the community to listen to them and really hear them, instead of listening to others' thoughts and opinions of them. They do not want to get rid of the police department. They are not a terrorist organization. They do not support violence. On the contrary, they want to connect the community. They want to fight to achieve an

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environment where everyone feels welcome and safe. They want peace. Another misconception is that OneFargo and Black Lives Matter are the same organizations. However, OneFargo is separate from the national movement and has no political ties. Rather than the large, national picture, OneFargo focuses on changing things locally, investing in volunteering with businesses and community organizations. "We have always made it clear we are not a political party. We are for the people, by the people, and supported by the people," said OneFargo member Ritchell Aboah. "A lot of people think that our organization is a political one, and we want to let everybody know that we aren't a political party. We are just here for the people," said Aboah. "We are there for whatever area of people that need their voice to be heard. Whether that's homelessness, education, healthcare or police brutality. Wherever peoples' voices aren't being heard, regardless of who those people are, that's what OneFargo is here for To bring those voices up." OneFargo is putting in the work to create a better future for everyone in Fargo Moorhead. Whether you agree with their proposed policies or not, impassioned, organized individuals such as these four should be commended for their efforts in fighting for what they believe in. We could all learn a thing or two about what it means to fight for our beliefs and standards from this group.


The team

Wess Philome

Ritchell Aboah

Wess Philome is nicknamed the “lion” of the group, due to his bravery, vocalism and passion for what he believes in. Born in Miami, Philome is the son of two Haitian migrant parents. He was raised between Miami and Haiti and moved to North Dakota in 2006 to play college football. In addition to being an activist, Philome is an artist, passionate about photography and cinematography.

Richell Aboah is originally from Ghana and migrated to the United States in 1999 with her family. She is passionate about volunteering and activism, going above and beyond in anything she sets her mind on. Most recently, she ran for Fargo City Commissioner, knowing that change happens from the top down. To balance out all her hard work, she loves diving into meditation and developing her mind, body and soul.

Angelina Sam Teewon

Anyiwei Maciek

Nicknamed “blackgirlmagic,” Angelina Sam Teewon embodies the sentiment, leaving a bit of glitter and a smile everywhere she goes. Originally from Liberia, her mission is to be a voice for the voiceless, advocating and spreading awareness about human rights and women's rights, here and in her home country. She also runs Facebook and Instagram activism pages under the name "Wisdom Speaks."

Anyiwei Maciek is 22-years old and wise and outspoken beyond her years. She is currently a college student at MSUM and has lived in Fargo since she was 12. She was born in Sudan, but came to the United States via Syracuse, N.Y. when she was five. When not organizing protests and speaking up for what she believes in, Maciek is a model and enjoys fashion. 17


IN MAKING THIS ISSUE, WE SAT AND MET WITH THE ONEFARGO TEAM NUMEROUS TIMES, AND WE OWE MUCH OF THE SUCCESS OF THIS ISSUE TO THEIR GUIDANCE. PUBLISHING MINUTES FROM ALL OUR MEETINGS WOULD MAKE UP A WHOLE ISSUE ITSELF, SO TO GIVE YOU A GOOD IDEA OF WHO ONEFARGO IS AND WHAT THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR, HERE IS A SNIPPET OF A CONVERSATION WE HAD TOGETHER:

Fargo Monthly: How did OneFargo get started and how did you find each other? Ritchell Aboah: OneFargo kind of picked its own leaders. I always say it was destiny or divine timing, the universe and God that aligned everyone who is a part of this to be apart of this. We are all from various backgrounds, people who didn't know each other. We just happened by chance. Through passions and similar goals, this just happened to form. So just divine timing and the universe. Fargo Monthly: A lot has grown and developed since you first got started. Did you ever imagine such changes in your first meetings? Anyiwei Maciek: For me personally, when we got together, I believed we were going to do something great. I knew we would be successful, I just didn’t know we’d be going at the rate we are. It’s only been two months and we’ve already accomplished a good amount. Fargo Monthly: I think that goes to show how much something like this was needed here. Wess Philome: That was the biggest thing. People thought we were just going to quit and give up. But what we really, really focused on was that we were going to dedicate ourselves to

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this and make sure that we kept going, against all odds. We’ve been focused on making sure we continue to march forward, and continue with the same energy we started with. Fargo Monthly: Why is it important to have your presence in the Fargo-Moorhead community? Ritchell Aboah: I think it is important because there has not been something like this. When you come from a bigger city, having groups like this is not abnormal. But living in a close and personal community like the Fargo and Moorhead area, an organization like this is out of the normal and some view it as bad, thinking we want to take away our order and control and what we are used to. Anyiwei Maciek: I think for me, I feel like it is important to have this because with North Dakota having a white majority, they might wonder, "Why?" But people of color are here. We are here. Even though we are not the majority, we still are here and we still want to be represented. We still want to have a voice and feel comfortable in our own cities. So that’s why I feel it needed to happen. Ritchell Aboah: It also needed to happen because we are in a different time. We are no longer back in a place of being content with injustice happening. No more like sweeping it under the rug. It’s raw and unfiltered and there are no exceptions.


Fargo Monthly: What are some of your specific goals? Wess Philome: I don’t want to speak for everybody, but we absolutely need to get some hate crime laws passed. Because it is so scary doing what we are doing. We don’t fear stuff, but man, what we are subjected to right now is downright frustrating, because there is not something to protect the [BIPOC] in North Dakota. And if we get a legislation passed out of this, I will consider it a job well done. It is shocking that that hasn’t happened yet. And that’s something I want to put as much of my energy behind, is getting something to protect not just Black people, not just native people, but LGBTQ+ people, especially our trans people. We need hate crime laws. Anyiwei Maciek: To go off what Wess said, you could say we were built for this. We don’t get scared easily, but when you see the things we see and the messages we receive...I’ve had someone follow me. Wess has had a guy show up to his house. It is scary stuff and when you think about it, it’s not [legally] a hate crime. You can call the police and they can just let that person go. [...] It is not fun living in fear in this city, especially being a person of color. Wess Philome: With this [Fargo Monthly issue], what I genuinely want to get done, is that after reading this magazine, people will get to know who we are as human beings a little bit better. Compared to just these people they see on TV that they believe are just causing havoc. I hope this can shed some light and show that we are really cool people.

Fargo Monthly: It's sad that it has been a rough path. Besides the scary parts, what have been some really incredible parts that make it all worth it? Ritchell Aboah: The community. The reason we do what we do is –believe it or not – the amount of positivity that we get that overshadows the negativity. But the community and how they have embraced us and put their arms around us and empowered us, how they have used their privilege to give us a voice and a pedestal. How they have literally taken the light and shined it on us and said, “Yes, we believe in what you’re fighting for. We want you guys to continue to fight, this impacts us ALL.” So to me, that is our number one key drive. Wess Philome: Before each event, we get there at least an hour early and we will do a news interview or two. We are just sitting there nervous and anxious and we are like, "Are people going to show up this time?" Then the wave will just flow and the event pulls up on us so fast from the time we get there and then we are just in the middle of it, surrounded by people. And there is an energy that comes with that. And every single time we’ve held an event, we have worried if the community was going to show up, and every single time the community has shown up in a way that just amazed us. Being in the middle of it, being a part of it, knowing that we are part of why people are coming together and showing up and knowing that we are changing the world is the coolest feeling ever. It really is.

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In the fight for racial equality and justice, what can our communit y do next?

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We've watched the news. We've read the twitter updates. We've even chimed in on the comment sections. It's safe to say that our community is wellaware of the ripples that have emerged in the wake of our neighbor George Floyd's death on May 25. But in the midst of debates, marches, protests and a whole lot of hurt and anger, what now? Here at Fargo Monthly, our priority is always to share the good in the community. And to be honest, it has been hard to find the positives in the midst of unrest. But that isn't to say that they don't exist, but rather they show themselves in different ways.

Our nation is hungry for justice and further education on how to help, so we hope to continue the discussion with these stories and resources from our very community. Systematic changes will come, but it starts with understanding each other. Come with us as we hear from a number of community members and learn with us how to be a better conduit for positive change. To gather these insights, we asked contributors, "What are you doing to invoke positive change in the community?" What follows are their answers.


Meaningful Conversations:

The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue. By Joseph Lewis, The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue founder

y name is Joseph Gibson Jepru Lewis. I come from the small West African country of Liberia. I moved into the United States to pursue higher education in the cold winter of 2017. Back home, forty degrees is cold for us. At forty degrees, my mom would probably hesitate to go to work. Since my move to live in Minnesota, I have come to gain an appreciation for twenty-degree weather. As the Minnesotan saying goes, “The area is cold but our hearts are warm.� Throughout my three and half year stay in the Fargo-Moorhead area, I have come to experience the true value of that statement, both in words and action. My first winter coat was bought by a stranger whom I just met for the first time. My third day of class at Minnesota State University Moorhead ended at the dinner table of a white family through their son's invitation. I barely still remember their names even after our second dinner. At MSUM, I met and befriended people from different parts of the world. Most gracious of all, I immediately connected with members of my faith community my second week in Fargo. Since then, I have volunteered, served and supported the myriad of activities the Baha’i Faith organizes for kids and youths in the local community. I am the founder and organizer of The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue - a safe space I created primarily for community

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members to have an open, honest and heart-to-heart conversation about race, diversity and tolerance. Every community, regardless of geographic location, will inevitably have certain challenges that will compel them to push beyond their limits. Here in the U.S., race relations is what I have come to see as one of those challenges. In my experience living in the U.S., I see that too much emphasis is placed on what makes us different instead of what we have in common. There is this ingrained American idea that you have to either belong to this race or the next. You are either of the minority class or of the privileged class. As a person who grew up with the value of the oneness of humanity, this concept is weird and strange to me, when in the end, we are all just humans surviving through the grace of our interdependence and coexistence. On May 30th, 2020, I was one of the organizers and leaders of the Fargo March for Floyd protest that attracted about 5,000 protesters in the streets of Fargo to march for racial justice and equality. As a person coming from outside of the United States, this was a unique opportunity for me to listen and learn from people of all races. From the bombarding news in the media to the loud noises and chants at the protest grounds, I could already start to see that one of the key ingredients that were missing from the recipe is dialogue.


"UBUNTU"is a word deeply rooted in many African languages. It means “I am a person because of who we all are� [...] Every community around the United States nee ds a social space of this nature that promotes the true values enshrined in this single word.

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There is always this natural human tendency to jump at fixing the problem when in fact, we haven’t had the chance to take a full view of the problem or at least consider different viewpoints and perspectives. This is very typical of the tension surrounding race in the U.S. today. Everyone wants reform and change so fast and yet there is no coherent understanding as to the nature of the reform they seek. That is why everyone talks about the brokenness of the system at equal length and yet nothing changes. After my participation in the Fargo protest, I thought of creating a space that will invite community members from all races and walks of life. I believe in the compelling force of a mass protest. Protest puts a spotlight on injustice. But if a protest does not lead to a dialogue, I believe it is worthless to begin with. That is why I created The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue. “Ubuntu” is a word deeply rooted in many African languages. It means “I am a person because of who we all are.” I believe every community around the U.S. needs a social space of this nature that promotes the true values enshrined in this single word. At The Ubuntu Racial Dialogue, which happens every two weeks in south Fargo, we sit in a circle as equals but most importantly as humans, to have a casual yet profound conversation about the tough and somewhat

uncomfortable subjects of race, racism, diversity and tolerance. Since June, the space has evolved into one that has brought together community members from all walks of life. Politicians, local law enforcement and community members have been part of the dialogue so far. The space is known to be one that gives a platform to the unheard members in our community, a space to build relationships and trust between community members and local law enforcement, a space that brings politicians and policymakers in contact with local inhabitants of the community. It is my fervent hope that the community of Fargo sees racial dialogue as a necessary force in creating a just and inclusive community. There is no way we can pride ourselves as a diverse community when we do not step outside of our comfort zone to have diversity-related conversations. There is no such thing as diverse in the heart. We will grow more as a community when we can put our diversity in one place and have a conversation. Through dialogue, we acknowledge our differences and at the same time promote what we shared in common. Beyond our difference, there is a field of our commonality. And I believe dialogue is the vehicle that will take us there.

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On Supporting our Youth "No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts." -Booker T. Washington.

By James Nagbe, Community Relations Specialist at Boys and Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley is dedicated to providing a safe, caring and fun environment for kids to learn, grow and prepare for a bright future. The Club programs are designed to capture the interest of the child, teach them new skills and help them learn how to build positive, compassionate relationships with others. The Club provides before- and afterschool, all-day and summer services to youth ages five to 17. Their youth development activities are based on Academic Success, Character & Leadership and Healthy Lifestyles. By providing evidence-based curriculum, youth engage in positive learning experiences that include 4-H, Daily Challenge, Healthy Habits, High Yield Learning, Kids in Control, STEM, The Arts, Triple Play, Sports, Recreation and Fitness. "Whatever it takes to build great futures" is the motto behind The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley, and thanks to these initiatives, they do just this.

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What struck me about this quote is the implications it presents regarding the disparities that have existed between the advancement of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in this country compared to white people. The reality is that even though opportunities of advancements has and does exist across all racial groups in this country, the availability and access to those opportunities have not been equal nor fair to all racial groups. As it pertains to our youth, I think it’s important that the existing inequalities are first identified and acknowledged from both perspectives and experiences, those who benefit from greater availability of opportunities because they belong to a certain racial group and those who are faced with much less because they belong to a different racial group. By acknowledging and identifying the inequalities from those two perspectives, I believe that will help all of us better identify and develop what our roles and responsibilities are to help change and shape our youth and the future we are building that our youth will inherit, contribute to and become leaders in. Personally, I’ve committed to investing my own resources and leveraging as many resources as I

can connect to in our community to help develop all our youth—all our future. The emphasis is placed on “all” as a reminder that we need to invest in every young person from all walks of life, and teach them to acknowledge and identify the inequalities that exist so that they can continue the vital work of identifying the unique roles they can take to contribute to the solution. My message to all youth is the same, “strive to maximize every opportunity given to you in pursuit of your passion and sense of purpose,” but the way that message is delivered and how the message is received differs based on the context of the reality and experiences those youth are living with. Where we are today in society didn’t happen overnight, this includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, so where we want to be in the future requires us to invest all we can into those whom the future belongs to, and that’s our youth. Based on the past decade that I’ve had the privilege of living in Fargo, and the six-plus years I’ve spent working with our youth in various roles and with various organizations, most notably CHARISM (now a part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley), I am very optimistic and hope-filled for the future here in Fargo. The reason I have such high hopes is because I’ve witnessed firsthand the tireless efforts and work that is being done to invest into our youth by some of the most selfless and caring people with the biggest hearts imaginable. These


"No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts." -Booker T. Washington.

are people that come from all walks of life, with distinctly different skills and talents and from many different professions and industries. What ties it all together is the common bond of understanding and acknowledgment that it takes every each one of us to invest the best we have towards helping others, especially our youth. It’s also the fact that those who show up when it matters the most for those who need it the most, do so because they care about making a difference and would do it for any and everyone who needs it.

Here’s why that matters: it’s factual and a reality that those who are most underserved, underrepresented, and at the most disadvantaged, disproportionately come from the BIPOC communities, therefore placing them as those most in need of our help. But, what I’ve personally experienced and seen in Fargo is that those who show up when it matters show up due to two main reasons; first and foremost they identify and recognize the need that exists for people in our community and how that need affects the future of our community, our youth; 29


secondly, they realize that they have the means and ability to make a meaningful contribution to help meet that need, and so they take action. I think the more we keep opening our eyes, hearts, and minds to the various needs in our community, the more we’ll see the reality of how those needs are disproportionately affecting our BIPOC community members—I sincerely hope that is the realization we come to. From that standpoint, we can ask ourselves what type of future do we want for our community, and if that question is asked, I certainly hope whatever solutions and ideas ensue, it’ll lead us to invest into the youth in our community to build a brighter, more equitable and fair future for them, especially for those youth facing the most challenges to advancing. Hurry! Offer expires 9/30/20. One coupon per person per visit per day. Not to be combined with other offers. No cash value. Redeemable in person only. 2304

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I invite you to pause for a moment and reflect on all the people in your life that have supported you, believed in you, challenged you, and motivated you to achieve the very best. Now reflect on all the opportunities and chances that were given to you to be able to advance in life. Imagine how much more difficult and challenging your journey of advancing in life would be as you start to remove each of those people who helped you along the way and each of those opportunities and chances you were given along the way. Though you may still end up achieving all

you’ve achieved, the journey sure becomes far more tasking the more people and opportunities you take away or simply can’t access. What a difference just one person can make, or a few opportunities and access to those opportunities can make. I encourage you to be an individual who prioritizes being present and available to the youth in our community that need positive and caring support to help them on their journey by volunteering and giving of your gifts, talents and skills. I also encourage you to be an individual that gives the gift of opportunity and access to those opportunities for the youth facing a huge disadvantage to advancing by your philanthropic and charitable giving to nonprofit organizations caring for and preparing our youth. Together, by listening, seeking to understand, and committing to doing better, we can contribute to preparing and equipping our youth with what they need to advance towards a brighter, fairer and more equitable future.


On IMPROVING FINANCIAL LITERACY By Tina Anim, Financial Resource Center Program Manager at The Village Family Service Center

eeing people succeed financially brings me great joy. It’s the reason I love working at The Village Family Service Center. As program manager of The Village Financial Resource Center, each day I can use the skills I’ve learned from over 15 years in the financial industry to help people budget, save, and put strategies in place to reach their financial goals. Money issues are a major cause of stress and relationship troubles. Your finances affect how you think and the way you interact with the world around you. When we have our financial ducks in a row, each of us can live a more peaceful, productive life. I started a career in finances almost on accident. While working for a nonprofit in my home country of Ghana, I was tasked with researching possible locations for a microfinance bank and then started working for the bank when it opened. It was fulfilling to help people get their finances right. When I came to the United States in 2006, I studied finance in graduate school and earned a master’s degree in Business Administration

from Western Michigan University. My first job when I moved to Fargo in 2012 was with a bank. I found immigrants especially would be excited to see someone like me working there. It was less intimidating, and I could explain things in a way that was more understandable and familiar. I’ve volunteered with Lutheran Social Services to speak to incoming refugees about banking and resources available in the community. I also volunteered at the YWCA for six years, speaking to women staying in the shelter about personal finance. At The Village, one of my goals has been to proactively reach out to immigrants and other minorities to raise awareness about our services. Something I always say is financial counseling is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, or what color your skin is. There is always something you can do to improve your finances. Some of our clients are just starting out in life; maybe they’re about to get married or know they want to

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"Your finances affect how you think and the way you interact with the world around you. When we have our financial ducks in a row, each of us can live a more peaceful, productive life." buy a house one day. We educate people on how to manage their finances, take care of their money, and improve their credit score. We also teach kids about money through community education. If they can learn these skills now, it will be so much easier for them when they start managing their own finances. People also come to see us when they’re facing hardship, like a job loss. We can look at where they are and help them budget to get back on track. We also assist people who are struggling with credit card debt. We can negotiate on their behalf with creditors to lower their interest rates, which makes payments easier for them. Through our Debt Management Plan, they can make only one payment each month and have a concrete plan to pay off their debts. A good indicator that you may want to seek financial counseling is if you are not able to set aside any of your take-home pay for emergencies. If you feel you are living paycheck to paycheck, make an appointment to meet with one of our financial counselors by calling 1-800-450-4019 or visiting HelpwithMoney.org. Financial counseling gives you peace of mind because it gets you back on track. It keeps you in control, which reduces the stress you might have about your financial situation. It doesn’t take much. With routine, discipline, and the right knowledge, you can positively affect your finances, and the benefits will seep into every facet of your life. 34 | SEPTEMBER 2020 | FARGOMONTHLY.COM


ALL ARE WELCOME IN THIS VILLAGE. The Village Family Service Center strengthens kids and families through a variety of behavioral health services, including mental health counseling, addiction treatment, adoption, mentoring, business training, and more. The organization believes in human dignity, people’s rights and equality, and its core values emphasize compassionate service and fostering a diverse environment. We proudly provide services to people of all genders, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, and spiritual practices. Here’s how you can engage with The Village’s work to invoke positive change in our community: • Volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. Big Brothers Big Sisters clears the path to a child’s biggest possible future by pairing children (Littles) with caring adult mentors (Bigs) who defend their potential. An estimated 51% of children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Fargo-Moorhead area identify as black, Hispanic, or a race/ ethnicity other than white. There is a two-year waiting list for boys in need of a male role model. All it takes is four hours a month to defend the potential of a child. Visit BBBSFargo.org to learn more. • Schedule a Village EAP Training Session. Trainers with The Village Employee Assistance Program can assist your organization in discussing and creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Training topics include Unconscious Bias, Diversity, Civility in the Workplace, Emotional Intelligence, and Effective Communication. Training hours may be included with your company’s EAP contract or can be scheduled separately. Call 800-627-8220. • Stop the stigma. By talking openly about mental health and addiction issues, we can break down barriers that prevent people from getting help. Share your story. Be an advocate. Let’s make taking care of our mental wellbeing as commonplace as going to the doctor for our physical health.


On Aligning Retail with Ethics t Others Fair Trade Boutique, we like to do things a little differently and challenge the status quo of traditional non-profit and small business models. Others is a social enterprise, meaning at our core we are committed to helping people and maximizing our social impact. By carrying ethically-made products that give back, we are able to focus our impact on areas of job creation and security, education and poverty. After George Floyd’s senseless death and the righteous demand for justice and change for Black lives which followed, it was imperative we looked inward as a business and assessed how we can improve to truly help others and be a safe space for all. We have the responsibility not only as a business but as members of the Fargo-Moorhead community, to question the very foundation on which our values were built.

By Kara Lee, Art Director at Others

About OTHERS Located in downtown Fargo at 218 Broadway, Others is not simply a store; it is a perspective that affects how you choose to live. Consumption is inevitable, and not inherently bad, but many companies favor profit over people, over quality, over the environment. At Others, they do things with greater intent. All items from their curated collection are of exceptional quality, with superior design and sourced from companies transparent in the ways they are helping people. Whether it be through fair trade principles or making giving an integral piece of the product, you can feel good knowing every purchase you make at Others tells a story of giving back to someone in need. In addition, 100% of their store profit is donated to worthy causes, both locally and globally. The products you purchase have the power to change the world. The clothing you wear, the gifts you buy, the edibles you consume – they can ALL matter more.

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At Others, we are committed to carrying only the most ethical, sustainable and “woke” brands for our customers. Since a good percentage of the products we carry are made by BIPOC artisans or workers, we decided to do a comprehensive diversity audit on our 63 brands to see what they are (or are not) doing in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement. We split the audit into two parts; First, evaluating their social media and online presence, and second, reaching out to them directly to ask questions. The questions we have set out to answer include; Has the brand posted about BLM? If so, was their post solely a black square or Martin Luther King quote, and after posting they returned to business as usual, or did they share resources and address their own shortcomings? Are the brands truly helping and serving their employees, specifically employees of color? Are they advocating for people of color in their own country? Are they committing to long-term change? The importance of this audit stems largely from the idea that when a brand uses Black and Brown bodies for labor but fails to advocate for their workers nor make changes as a company when injustice is happening in their own country, their credibility and mission is called into question and it confuses their business model with the White Savior Complex. By definition, the White Savior Complex refers to a white or Western person who provides help to non-white people in a self-serving manner or tries to “fix” the problems of Global South countries, typically comprised of people of color. White Saviors usually act without understanding the history, culture, or current needs of said countries. As the Instagram account, “No White Saviors,” states, “there is something disingenuous about doing mission work with communities of color on the other side of the world but not speaking up and holding accountable the state-sanctioned violence against BIPOC people in their own country.” At the conclusion of phase one of the Diversity Audit, we gave each of our brands a score between 0 and 5 — 0 meaning the brand has been completely silent about Back Lives Matter, and 5 meaning they have


"You can't be an ethical and sustainable brand without talking about racism"

sincerely addressed the issue, advocated for their employees, shared resources and donated, and committed to change within their company. Scores between 3 and 5 were considered a passing mark, while scores between 0-2.9 necessitated a followup conversation with said brands. We’re not going to lie, after multiple days of research later, the results were shocking… Out of the 63 brands we work with, only 17 scored a passing mark between 3 and 5, while 46 scored a 2.9 or lower. Looking more closely, 19 brands scored between 1 and 2.9, and 27 disappointingly received a score between 0-0.9. It’s safe to say, we did not expect so many to be totally silent on the issue. It has opened our eyes and forced us to really think about who we are working with, while allowing us the opportunity to research new vendors to bring into the store. As phase 2 starts, we plan to send out a survey to all of our vendors to facilitate a follow-up conversation, focusing primarily on the brands that scored between 0-2.9. Based on their answers and our research from part one, we will evaluate which vendors we want to continue to promote. We promise to continue to do research and keep tabs on our current vendors, as well as find new brands to bring in to the shop and give updates on our social media when we can.

Our team is also working on a list of prerequisites for future vendors in order to be considered for our shelves. Currently, the primary qualifications involve fair trade/ethical production certifications and a give-back model, but 2020 is showing us that is not enough. We need true transparency about the company’s sourcing, employee working conditions, and where donations are directed. We also vow to have 15% of our inventory come from BIPOC owned and operated brands. Additionally, we vow to direct the remainder of our donations for the year of 2020 towards Blackowned and operated organizations. As human beings trying to do good for the planet and its people, we must invest the time into listening to the Black community, checking our own privilege and biases, educating ourselves, having those hard conversations with family, friends, and coworkers, and working each day to be the best allies we can be. It’s not going to be perfect or easy, but if we do our best and we do it together, we can make a lasting impact. This is just the beginning. To learn more, view Others' diversity audit here: issuu.com/othersshop/docs/vendordiversityaudit

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Open Letter To Sir George Floyd By Alexandre Cyusa ir George Floyd: On Saturday, August 15, a friend and I drove to Minneapolis to the site where you were murdered. You will not believe how your humble and magnetic presence can still be felt. It has been completely changed from a regular neighborhood to a healing space for people from all walks of life. A myriad of feelings came to me when I entered the now barricaded area where people can come to pay homage to the honorable person that you were, are and will forever be. It is bothering that once again it took a brutal killing shared on social media to spark massive indignation when so many lives of BIPOC women and men are taken daily, but because no cameras are around, they go unnoticed. This time, the people said enough is enough, surprisingly people in power and many people were appalled by the riots, but perhaps they didn’t know that such behaviors were learned from a nefarious but well-hidden past: May 31 to June 1, 1921’s Tulsa Race Massacre or Rosewood Massacre in 1923... In these "perceived" social turbulent times we live, such conversations are vital. I use precisely the word "perceived" because, for BIPOCs since 1492 when Columbus set foot on Turtle Island, times have always been turbulent and rarely spiritually, emotionally, physically and civically peaceful. Since your murder, there has been a sudden awakening from the white silent majority around the globe. The one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about in his April 16, 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It is hard emotionally, physically and spiritually to have to be on so many forefronts: educating white allies, while simultaneously fighting to dismantle a combative powerful system that has centuries-old roots in this nation. This noble fight by the people for the people is simply to honor the words dearly enshrined in the 1776 American Constitution: that everyone in this indigenous

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land is created equal and that its people stand as one nation under God. Am I too hopeful to believe that one day these delicately enshrined words will become a reality? Time will tell... Since your murder, here in the Red River Valley, which is four hours from the site where you repeated with dignity, “I can’t breathe,” a lot has happened you would be proud of us for. It is the first steps people in our community are taking in this 1000 miles journey to Equity and Justice for all: 1. There was a historical May 30th peaceful day protest organized by an honorable local Black women activist from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Red River Valley residents from all walks of life and all ages gathered, despite COVID-19. This was paramount to show up for Justice and Equity for all to ensure the generations to come wouldn’t have to relive such a traumatic event: another BIPOC being brutally murdered by someone who honorably had sworn to serve and protect you. 2. Juneteenth was celebrated. June 19, 1865, is the day where the last African slaves in the USA were finally free. 3. An all-day festival called Joyfest was organized by Frederick Edwards Jr. and Faith4Hope on Saturday, July 25 to bring joy and to heal the community: the response and support from businesses, local leaders, law enforcement and the community at large was heartwarming and fueled the hope for a better tomorrow together as one community. 4. There has been a lot of conversations on Justice and Equity for all at City Hall, where local BIPOC activists show up strong and are democratically challenging elected officials. This is American democracy at its best, but it is not without the friction of course. Friction can create both positive and negative outcomes. Therefore, I hope that the social justice movement has created an energy that will move us forward and not backward. 5. The youth here, across the nation and all around the world are so inspiring and they have genuinely galvanized this movement for change. Since your murder, I have had many concerned relatives and friends all around the world asking why am I still in the USA? Why don’t I just leave and go back to my safe and beautiful Land of a 1000 Hills: Rwanda? I often ponder the reasons why I cannot capitulate on the Red River Valley. There are many that I could list here but one of the main reasons is because I have the luxury of


choosing to stay here or to move back to my homeland – whereas many BIPOCs have nowhere else to call home because this indigenous land is theirs, despite the nefarious forces telling them otherwise.

Rest in Eternal Power! Your Rwandan nephew that loves you,

Lastly, thank you for watching over us all every time as we march for Justice and Equity.

PS: I wrote you this letter while listening to our honorable and inspiring Shangazi Dr. Maya Angelou’s “ On the Pulse of the Morning”.

Until we meet alongside our Creator:

Cyusa


Recommended Reading By Josie Danz Manager at Zandbroz As booksellers here at Zandbroz, we are excited to see the best-seller lists inundated with books on social justice and race studies. We are grateful to help those in our community further educate themselves on these important topics through books. If you haven’t checked out our selection of books on race, social justice, and black history, we encourage and welcome you to do so. The interest our community has shown for books on these subjects has us hopeful. Like you, we’ve been using the past couple of months to give our reading lists a new focus and have been reading across a broad spectrum of black authors – past and present, fiction and nonfiction. Although we’ve read popular titles like "White Fragility" and "How to Be an Antiracist" and think they’re important reads, we want to remind you that there are other voices and titles that are hugely informative and wildly important. Frantz Fanon is known for titles such as "The Wretched of the Earth" and "Black Skin, White Masks."Though Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history during the 60s, he greatly influenced racial justice leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and his writing remains incredibly important and relevant today James Baldwin is known for non-fiction titles such as "The Fire Next Time" and "I Am

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Not Your Negro" and fiction titles such as "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "If Beale Street Could Talk." Baldwin was an author and an activist, and his writing reflected his life experiences and frustrations as a black man in Western society during the midtwentieth century. His work explores racial, sexual and class distinctions during this time. He navigates these themes while weaving in his personal questions, pressures and experiences with major political movements in taking place in the U.S. during this time, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement. To this day, Baldwin continues to be a major influence on other black writers. He is considered one of the most significant moral essayists in American literature. Jesmyn Ward picks up where Baldwin left off in her book "The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race." This collection of poems and essays about race from prominent voices of this generation. Eighteen writers explore topics ranging from the Charleston Church shooting to the influence of OutKast to Rachel Dolezal’s chicanery through a black perspective that is all too often ignored or out-shadowed in our culture. These eighteen submissions force the reader to confront a reality that our country is quick to dismiss. In the spirit of Baldwin, Ward puts the black experience up front and center.


Other titles to consider: • "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" and "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson • "We Were Eight Years in Power" and "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison • "Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask" by Anton Treuer • Anything by Louise Erdrich, whose novels explore themes of Native American and Aboriginal culture Have the courage to read these titles. They will challenge you, but they will change you.

“What’s the point in having a voice if you’re going to be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” Though "The Hate U Give" is a work of fiction, it gives the reader an intimate look into the life of the protagonist, Starr, so much so that it feels all too real at times. Author Angie Thomas gives readers an approachable exposure to black culture, cultural appropriation, covert and internalized racism and how the weight of those things impacts one teenage girl’s life. Though the subject matter is heavy, it’s delivered with grace, honesty, humor and hope. • "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson

A picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it’s real and cultivate conversation and justice. The collage artwork and the curiosity of the child character make this a great introductory book for a discussion about racism.

"Brown Girl Dreaming" is a poetic, autobiographical account of Woodson’s upbringing in South Carolina and Brooklyn during the 1960s. Each area of Woodson’s upbringing provided a vastly different experience, culture and perspective that allowed her to vividly describe the civil rights movement across a variety of social and geographical environments. Woodson describes this YA book as, “my past, my people, my memories, my story,” but her words are so powerful that they will no doubt leave an imprint on every reader’s heart and understanding of our country’s history and divide during the civil rights movement of only decades ago.

• "Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World" by Susan Wood

• "The Watsons go to Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis

Featuring the stories of fourteen revolutionary young women who through persistence and determination sparked change in the world. These women span the history of the U.S. and the many races that make up our population. This picture book features artwork by thirteen different women artists.

Winner of the Newberry Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award, "The Watsons go to Birmingham" is highly acclaimed and widely embraced for Curtis’s ability to capture the voice of the hilarious, smarty-pants pre-teen boy, Kenny as he encounters racism and experiences racedriven tragedy for the first time during a family trip to Birmingham, AL – a different world from the family home in Flint, MI. This book provides a way for parents and young readers to navigate a dark and difficult terrain etched in America’s history as the Watson family witnesses first-hand the violence of the civil rights era and a tragic hate crime that claims the lives of four black girls.

Books to read with young children: • "Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness" by Anastasia Higginbotham

• "A Place to Land: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation" by Barry Wittenstein In lyrical prose and striking illustrations, this picture book brings to life the renowned “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., that continues to inspire and inform new generations.

Books for Young Adults: • "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

• The Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich Louise Erdrich explores Native American history and culture through the view of a young Ojibwa girl on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

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Be,

FROM JULY 28 TO OCTOBER 3, THE PLAINS ART MUSEUM IS SHOWCASING "BE, EXIST," AN EXHIBIT FEATURING BIPOC ARTISTS.

exist

a

Pasteur Mudende, Space and Time Continuum, 2017, Oil on Canvas

As racial inequities have risen to the forefront of conversations in the past few months, a hole has been carved out for artists to join the conversation as well.

The Plains Art Museum is known for being a community place. With free general admission and a central location, the museum has become what some call a "third place." People have their workplace, their home place and then they need their third place, an extra spot in

the community that feels safe, welcoming and comfortable. In a community as creative and art-literate as Fargo is, it only makes sense for that"third place" spot to be an art museum. With this understood delegation as a safe, welcoming community spot, the Plains Art Museum wanted to further extend its reach. Opening at the end of July was "BE, EXIST," an exhibit dedicated to the conversation and support of our BIPOC communities.

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Wess Philome, Fist Up Red, 2020, Digital Inkjet Print

Be, exist

"BE, EXIST" came to be when the Plains Art Museum began researching how to do an exhibit showing support to the Black Lives Matter movement. During the planning period, the team wanted to discuss issues that artists of color go through and how they interact with the art scene. Pasteur Mudende, Michael Eback and Aluel Macyieck served as the exhibition curatorial team and Netha Cloeter and Andy Maus from Plains Art Museum were the museum partners in making this happen. While originally, the intention was to create an exhibit in support of Black Lives Matter, it slowly morphed into something else. As they began researching and curating, what they found was that these BIPOC artists were feeling tired and angry and weary of continuing to have to express these emotions in order to be heard. Why can't they just be? Why do their actions and art have to be rooted in activism or extreme emotion? Instead of creating an exhibit fixed on the Black Lives Matter movement, they instead curated a collection of beautiful pieces by BIPOC, expressing a bevy of styles and emotions. "BE, EXIST" reaffirms Black artists that they can just be, just exist and just create. Pasteur Mudende, a member of the exhibit's curatorial team, expressed that they wanted to create a place where Black artists can exist without having to explain why they are there. "Black

lives do not always have to be standing against oppression, they can just be and be proud of their work. So we created the exhibition around that idea," said Mudende. Accompanying the art in the exhibit is the "BE, EXIST Conversation Guide," curated by GROUP THINK, a group consisting of Mina Ali, Cali Anicha, Alexandre Cyusa, Josh Hoper, Pasteur Mudende, Barry Nelson, Karis Thompson and Laura Zeiher – in consultation with Netha Cloeter, Aluel Maciek, Wess Philome and Quill River. GROUP THINK is a platform in which honest conversations amongst diverse groups of thinkers can be explored. GROUP THINK facilitates conversations that involve often unasked questions and the unique chance to engage a plurality of perspectives. Such raw, unfiltered discussions are often where the biggest personal development stems from, so it is a crucial part of the community to have a framework such as this. In a time of social distancing, GROUP THINK still wanted these conversations to be possible, so the creation of a conversation guide sheet to go along with this exhibit was the perfect response. The conversation guide (provided on the next pages) provides a list of questions and quotes, designed to let the reader really think about each statement and host some internal conversations.

Quill River, Big Quill, 2019 & Not My Master, 2017 45


Kiara Jackson, Untitled, 2020, Pencil on Paper

An additional intention for the exhibit was to make sure local BIPOC feel welcome in an arts-space. "If you don't see yourself represented, you don't feel comfortable visiting," said Mudende. By intentionally ensuring all are represented on the museum's walls, more will feel open to exploring. Art galleries and museums often have an air about them that feels closed off, exclusive or unwelcoming. One must be mindful of their body, as not to bump into any pieces. And one must quiet themselves as to not echo in the cavernous exhibit halls. It all can be intimidating if you're not used to the practice. However, this exhibit –and the Plains Art Museum as a whole– strives to be a place where all people can gather and enjoy. Now, people who might not have otherwise felt comfortable coming in and exploring something new, can. The exhibit and the intentions behind it are best seen in person. However, a second-best option is outlined by Pasteur Mudende: It has always been the case that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists always wear two hats at any given time. That of the artist and that of the activist. Their art offers the richest insights into what moments of social justice they are empowering. Whether it be an image of a river from an Indigenous artist or a portrait from a Black woman, these images are constantly provoking, confronting and confounding expectations.

with the profound question of what it means to be human. What is it like to BE, EXIST, or take up space as a person of color in sectors with no or minimal representation? The artists in this exhibition are exploring BIPOC identity and how they each have individually crafted a singular aesthetic of how the language of belonging is empowering. With full awareness that an unpremeditated stroll through a public space could become dangerous for those who are often viewed as the other and intending to challenge that narrative by creating a space where people who identify as BIPOC can freely BE, EXIST. In conjunction with this electrifying visual stroll through vibrant and powerful imagery, the exhibition draws upon GROUP THINK conversational notes, questions, and reflection about BEing and EXISTing. View the exhibit: Plains Art Museum - Starion Bank Gallery plainsart.org/exhibitions/be-exist Learn more about GROUP THINK: groupthinkfargo.com

The exhibition begins by acknowledging that the exasperation levels are high, but for those with a certain racial profile, history and living memory have not yet availed to them moments of tranquility. The works on view illustrate a myriad of sustained engagements 47


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Supporting BIPOC-Owned

Businesses There is a host of phenomenal BlPOC-owned businesses in our community. It's important for the future of our cities that we continue to support these businesses regardless of what is going on in the world around us. Help celebrate the diversity in Fargo-Moorhead by supporting these BlPOCowned businesses and services. Whether it is a local restaurant, nonprofit or musicians, each of the following businesses offers greatness to our community. Please support them as they continue to thrive in FargoMoorhead. A full list of BlPOC-owned businesses can be found on fargomonthly.com

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The Spice Grille owners Tony Andrews and Akua Hutchison.

LEARN ABOUT HOW THE SPICE GRILLE IS SERVING UP UNIQUE FLAVORS FROM AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FROM ATLANTA TRANSPORTS AND OWNERS TONY ANDREWS AND AKUA HUTCHISON.

The Spice Grille

Give us a brief history (or origin story) of your business. How did the business start, goals, etc.?

What kind of services/products does your business offer citizens of Fargo-Moorhead?

The Spice Grille started about 13 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, from the living room of the owners. Upon suggesting from friends and family, the owners started selling what was initially free food for church family and friends on the weekends. As demand for our food increased, we were encouraged to go into it full-time.

We offer dine-in and take out services

The dream of owning our own restaurant never materialized until four years after we moved into the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Are you originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area? If not, how did you make your way to this area? We moved here from Atlanta to start a church. We are ministers who love to cook as well.

Tell Us About Your Business In A Few Sentences.

What are some of the challenges of being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead?

The Spice Grille’s Vision and mission are to bring African and Caribbean food to the mainstream cuisine of the world. In doing that, we also introduce the beautiful cultures of Africa to the world.

The biggest problem is traffic. After Herberger's in the [Moorhead Center] mall closed, traffic reduced. Also, most people don’t stay here so we have customers moving out of town. 51


In your mind, what sets your business apart from others in the area? We offer indigenous cuisine from West Africa. We cook to taste and must of our foods portray a little of our culture. What are some of the rewards/positives that come from being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? We enjoy the flexibility and stability. The friendliness, warmth and supportive nature of the people in the area is very rewarding Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead is a generally inclusive place? Why or why not? Yes. When you get to know the people and they get to know you, they are supportive. How would you like to see Fargo-Moorhead become more inclusive? To be more open-minded about city growth. Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its diversity? If so, how do citizens celebrate it? Yes. So many cultural programs. Like the Pangea. How can people in our community support your business? Repeat visits and give us feedback when they visit.

thespicegrille.us /thespicegrille 218-477-1112 28 Moorhead Centre Mall Moorhead 53


Executive Director and Founder Rhoda Elmi with her husband Abdikarim.

jasmin childcare Give us a brief history (or origin story) of your business. How did the business start, goals, etc.? While visiting a friend in Fargo I was introduced to the community here and the concern over a shortage of multicultural childcare services in Fargo. After doing much research and talking with Child Care Aware and Cass County, it came clear to us that there was a need for an early education program that could adapt to the diverse population of the F-M area. I started the process of opening a child care center that would meet the growing need for multicultural early support for children. I wanted to prepare children to succeed in school by giving them the skills to excel among their peers. Jasmin Child Care and Preschool’s goal is to embrace diversity and ensure every child has the necessary tools and resources to succeed academically regardless of their socioeconomic status. Jasmin Child Care and Preschool opened its doors in November of 2015. This year we officially started operating with our non-profit status to better serve our community. We strive to support low-income families to ensure that barriers would be minimized. 54 | SEPTEMBER 2020 | FARGOMONTHLY.COM

LEARN HOW JASMIN CHILDCARE & PRESCHOOL IS HELPING TO SHAPE FUTURE GENERATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER RHODA ELMI.

Tell Us About Your Business In A Few Sentences. Jasmin Child Care and Preschool is a North Dakota Quality rated Child Care and Preschool. We seek to provide quality, affordable early childhood education for children of the F-M area. Our preschool seeks to prepare the children for kindergarten. Our center provides a unique opportunity to provide direct services to families that need them. Our staff speaks six different languages which help with connecting with children who have a language barrier. This work is about helping the community. Without childcare, many families cannot work and make a living to support their families. We came here to help people. What kind of services/products does your business offer citizens of Fargo-Moorhead? We provide childcare for children ages six weeks to 12 years. We have infant, toddler, preschool and after school programs. We work closely with other organizations to provide quality programs and provide services for eye and developmental screenings. We also work with Job services to give work experience to those who


need support with language. We provide families with additional resources and support.

Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead is a generally inclusive place? Why or why not?

Are you originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area? If not, how did you make your way to this area?

Fargo still has a long way to make everyone feel included, but it has made some big steps in a positive direction.

I am from Minneapolis. I was visiting friends here in Fargo some years ago and that was the beginning of the conversation that led us to move here and doing this work. I have also lived in many different countries all around the world which has given me lessons in the complexity of working in multicultural settings.

How would you like to see Fargo-Moorhead become more inclusive?

What are some of the challenges of being a business owner in FargoMoorhead? Starting this business was not an easy process. But we kept on going because we believed in it and we knew that there was a need for it within the community. There are additional barriers minority-owned businesses have to overcome to be successful. These barriers are sometimes difficult to address and complex to navigate without the support of advocates who come alongside to fight for business owner's rights. Sometimes we faced challenges most business owners did not have to because we were seen as different and some may have assumed incorrectly about us which added to our barriers. We are thankful for those individuals who stuck by our side since the beginning and we are thankful for those who came to understand us better and we have now strong relationships. In your mind, what sets your business apart from others in the area? Jasmin Child Care and Preschool is one of the only multicultural childcare centers in the F-M area. What sets our business apart. At Jasmin Child Care and Preschool, we embrace diversity and ensure every child has the necessary tools and resources to succeed academically. We have staff that is competent in caring and nurturing children from diverse backgrounds. Our diverse staff can communicate with children in various languages. This helps with English language learners and other children also learn about new languages. Here children see role models that look like them and learn positive intercultural interactions. Our staff speaks at least six different languages and the children at our center represent numerous ethnic backgrounds.

We need to become better at working together and caring for one another in order to become one united community. We are all American citizens so we should work together and give each other chances so that we can all be successful. The more people give chances to those who may be different from themselves, and the more they take time to get to know them individually, the more each individual will learn to become more inclusive. Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its diversity? If so, how do citizens celebrate it? I see diversity celebrated in Fargo through some of the community-based events and activities such as cultural festivals, gatherings and welcoming week. The more the larger community participates in such events, the more the whole community will learn to celebrate diversity. I believe each of us has a responsibility to make Fargo-Moorhead inclusive. It starts by noticing who is around you and making time to understand them. Go out of your comfort zone to make a friend. Intercultural interactions require intentional and compassionate efforts. How can people in our community support your business? Our non-profit creates opportunities for low-income families to thrive and for children to grow into successful members of society. You can help spread the word, be an advocate, be a volunteer with us, join our team and support us financially so that we can continue to support those who are most in need.

What are some of the rewards/positives that come from being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? Fargo-Moorhead is a small community which makes it very convenient and easy. Many services can be done on the same day as compared to other big cities. If you have any concerns it only takes one call to get your answers. Appointments can be made for the same day. If I need to meet with someone from the county it is easy to arrange for them to come over and give us advice and resources. It is not always the case in larger communities.

jasminchildcare.org /jasminchildcare 701-281-6025 4720 7th Avenue South Suite E, Fargo 57


FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THIS LOCAL GROUP SO SPECIAL TO OUR COMMUNITY FROM DRUMMER AND BUSINESS MANAGER DERRICK MCDONALD.

Heart & Soul

Give us a brief history (or origin story) of your group. How did the group start, goals, etc.? Three of us are on the Worship team (Hope, Paul & Derrick) at Latter Rain Ministries Church. We met a couple of the other guys (John) at a band jam at a park. We originally got together to play for Paul and Hope's Father's 60th Birthday Party. The band received such a positive reaction that we decided to continue to play around the Fargo-Moorhead area. After going through a couple of members changing out, Matt and Jordan joined the band to form the present Heart & Soul lineup.

We offer an unparalleled spectrum of musicianship that spans genres of Gospel, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, Soul, R&B, Latin and everything in between! What does Heart & Soul offer citizens of Fargo-Moorhead? We believe we bring a fun, energetic and exciting brand of music performed with a high degree of skill and professionalism. We get people up on the dance floor and interacting with us to form one big party.

Tell Us About Heart & Soul In A Few Sentences.

Are you originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area? If not, how did you make your way to this area?

Heart & Soul features professional-level musicians from a variety of backgrounds that brings the energy and ability to make every show unforgettable.

Paul, Hope and Derrick are from Chicago, John is from the Philippines.,Jordan hails from Oakland and Matt grew up In Detroit Lakes.

Paul = Keys John = Percussion Jordan = Bass

What are some of the challenges in being a musician in FargoMoorhead?

Derrick = Drums Matt = Guitar Hope = Vocalist Extraordinaire

58 | SEPTEMBER 2020 | FARGOMONTHLY.COM

One of the challenges is that while the Fargo-Moorhead area is large enough to have a variety of live music venues, those


opportunities are usually not paid at a level that supports working musicians.

How would you like to see Fargo-Moorhead become more inclusive?

In your mind, what sets your group apart from others in the area?

We would love to see the Fargo-Moorhead area adopt a more current financial compensation approach that truly reflects the time investment of the musician which includes: practice/preparation, time loading in and out for gigs and the actual time performing.

What makes Heart & Soul special is our ability to create organic moments that exist for the audience as well as for the performers. No two performances are the same, and at any given moment we could take a new direction. As musicians that means we have to be willing to trust each other, listen and take risks. For the audience that means they are seeing something that may be completely spontaneous and unrehearsed! The result is an energy that is felt by everyone in the room. That is what makes Heart & Soul special. What are some of the rewards/positives that come from being a musician in Fargo-Moorhead? The Fargo-Moorhead musician community is very supportive of one another and there is a great live music appreciation and following in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead is a generally inclusive place? Why or why not? For the most part, our experience has been a positive and welcoming one. However we have experienced some bias. This comes in the form of being nominated for several local awards, but we have somehow been passed over despite always playing to packed houses and being shown tremendous respect for our skill level by many of the local musicians and bands in the FargoMoorhead area.

Also, a more inclusive booking approach that is not based on the "who you know" booking model. Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its diversity? If so, how do citizens celebrate it? In light of the recent events (George Floyd's murder and subsequent protests), there has been a noticeable increase in the Fargo-Moorhead area recognizing and celebrating its diversity. We feel there is still a long way to go and more that can and should be done. How can people in our community support Heart & Soul? Our fans and the community can support us further by continuing to coming out to shows and events. Also, going to your favorite live music venues and asking why isn't Heart & Soul being booked there. We love and appreciate our fan base and would love to see it grow by performing in new venues and areas!

heartsoulfm.com /HeartSoulFM 701-630-4546 59


HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT LOCAL SCHOLARSHIP FAITH4HOPE? FOUNDER FAITH DIXON TELLS YOU HOW.

faith4hope Give us a brief history (or origin story) of your business. How did the business start, goals, etc.?

Are you originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area? If not, how did you make your way to this area?

Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund was established in 2016 by myself and my sister Hope Sheppard. We saw the immediate needs of families that were not able to provide some of the basic needs. Our goal is to provide resources and services that will help individuals sustain independence. To eliminate poverty is not a problem that can be solved quickly, but one that a community can support to end.

I'm originally from Chicago but have lived in Fargo for just about 18 years now.

Tell Us About Your Business In A Few Sentences.

In your mind, what sets your business apart from others in the area?

Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is a non-profit organization established in 2016 to serve families and individuals in our community. What kind of services/products does your business offer citizens of Fargo-Moorhead? Food Pantry, Back 2 School Backpack Giveaway, Thanksgiving Baskets, Christmas in the Dakotas and Joyfest. 60 | SEPTEMBER 2020 | FARGOMONTHLY.COM

What are some of the challenges of being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? Not being able to help everyone.

Our food pantry is a "No judgement zone" as well as "no ID is required" to receive food. We believe that food should given away to those who need it. No questions asked. What are some of the rewards/positives that come from being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? To see our families achieve lasting independence and have a positive impact on families.


Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead is a generally inclusive place? Why or why not? I would say we have surely come a long way, but there is still much that can be done to make all POC feel as they are accepted. How would you like to see FargoMoorhead become more inclusive? By accepting change and diversity Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its diversity? If so, how do citizens celebrate it? Again I believe we have come a long way but there is still a way to go to truly make all feel apart. How can people in our community support your business? Spreading the word to those in need, volunteering, donations and supporting programs.

faith4hope.com /Faith4HopeFund 701-793-6001 1321 19th Ave N, Suite 2, Fargo


Motherland Health FIND OUT HOW MOTHERLAND HEALTH IS KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY WELL FROM FOUNDER AND BUSINESS COORDINATOR SIMI KASAKWE.

Give us a brief history (or origin story) of your business. How did the business start, goals, etc.?

In your mind, what sets your business apart from others in the area?

Motherland Health is a nonprofit in Fargo that provides free mental health services, childcare and transportation. We seek to break down the barriers standing between people and their mental wellness and have been doing so since 2018.

We are rather inclusive. Many of the wonderful organizations in town that serve lower-income populations or those with barriers generally have requirements that are needed to be met in order to receive services. We allow you to come as you are and we meet you where you are in your mental health journey.

Tell Us About Your Business In A Few Sentences. We serve anyone in the community regardless of income and believe that mental health should not be a luxury only the rich can afford. We work with everyone ages five and up and work with local organizations to receive referrals from clients they feel would be better served with us.

What are some of the rewards/positives that come from being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? The great thing about Fargo is the number of people is far overshadowed by the quality and the willingness of the community to go above and beyond to do what they can.

What kind of services/products does your business offer citizens of Fargo-Moorhead?

Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead is a generally inclusive place? Why or why not?

We provide free mental health counseling and have the option of childcare and transportation during appointments if needed as well.

Absolutely. I would still say North Dakota as a whole is rather conservative and will still take some time to accept more progressive views, but the Fargo-Moorhead area is really spearheading that movement by always using inclusive language, creating training for working with New Americans and those in LGBTQ+ communities as well. Since 2012, I have seen the way the community has grown, and that is why I think there are so many more BIPOC-owned businesses and organizations.

Are you originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area? If not, how did you make your way to this area? I am originally from the Twin Cities but moved to Moorhead in 2012 to attend MSUM. Then I fell in love with the community and never left. What are some of the challenges in being a business owner in Fargo-Moorhead? It's not the biggest town, so community support for a non-profit can be difficult as opposed to a larger town that has more people to reach out to for help. 62 | SEPTEMBER 2020 | FARGOMONTHLY.COM

How would you like to see Fargo-Moorhead become more inclusive? More training. As great as the ones we have are, it would be great to see more training led by the community members you're trying to relate to, rather than someone who has studied them. There is something to be said about hearing first hand experiences of exclusivity, rather than examples of what could happen.


Take Care of Business Meet // Focus // Energize

motherlandhealth.org 701-639-6516 1351 Page Drive S Suite #212, Fargo

Do you feel Fargo-Moorhead celebrates its diversity? If so, how do citizens celebrate it? I think each community that has a story to share feels comfortable sharing, whether it's through language, food or celebrations. From my experience, all the communities are open to having others join them and learn along with them. How can people in our community support your business? We are an entirely volunteer and donor ran business. We would love for you to stop by our website and send us a message if you'd like to volunteer in any capacity. If you feel led, we would be blessed to have a donation.

Element Fargo’s bright and modern meeting room is fullyequipped with a U-shaped, boardroom style table, two 75� LED TV screens, and a high-tech Crestron panel system that gives you the power of the entire meeting space at your fingertips. Contact Morgan Hanson for pricing and availability mhanson@elementfargo.com 701 478 0957

925 19th Avenue East West Fargo, ND 58078 701 478 5333 elementfargo.com


Profile for Spotlight

Fargo Monthly September 2020  

Here at Fargo Monthly, our priority is always to share the good in the community. And to be honest, it has been hard to find the positives i...

Fargo Monthly September 2020  

Here at Fargo Monthly, our priority is always to share the good in the community. And to be honest, it has been hard to find the positives i...

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