One of the goals of the League of Women Voters Edina is to advocate and participate in local action to eradicate discrimination and systemic racism. To that end, we have formed the Racial Justice Action Committee, which has three subcommittees - shown below on left - each with a specific focus to engage our membership and the community. We will be publishing updates as we do our work.
Racial Justice Subcommittees
This subcommittee is reviewing the intersection between voting rights and racial justice as a national issue and also exploring its implications locally. We will identify key voting rights topics relevant for racial justice including barriers limiting access to voting, as well as examining voting patterns in our community. Read and learn about voting rights and voter suppression.
This subcommittee will provide ways for interested members of the LWVE and the broader community to learn about Edina’s history with race, racism and white privilege, offering resources to learn about systemic racism and BIPOC (Black-Indigenous-People of Color) experiences within that system, and exploring community partnerships to create city-wide events like book readings and movie nights.
Racial Justice Archives
Profile on Maria W. Stewart, an early Black suffragist who was influential well before the Civil War
Update to Study and Preschool Curriculum Progress
posted May 8, 2023
As of May 2023, we are pleased to provide progress updates on two projects.
First, LWVE completed a 2-year study of racial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in nonprofit organizations in Edina. Based on the study results, LWVE approved a formal position to support its ongoing advocacy. The statement reads, in part: “To create a more welcoming community, LWVE supports efforts to increase diversity, prioritize equity, and promote inclusion in Edina community nonprofit organizations,” and advocates for DEI in leaders, staff and service recipients, the creation of a local resource offering information and support to community organizations, and the removal of barriers to successful management of, or participation in, nonprofit organizations. To read the statement in full, go to lwvedina.org/category/position/.
Second, LWVE members supported local action to challenge racism. This included attending an event protesting dissemination of anti-Asian and antisemitic materials by some Edina High School students. Through that work, LWVE connected with the Edina Asian American Alliance (EAAA) and began collaborating to focus on how we can help our young children thrive in an increasingly diverse community.
To that end, we are assisting the Before Racism program www.beforeracism.org, a MN nonprofit which advances the fundamental belief that no child is born racist and that all children are born as important, valuable, worthy, and loveable. It is the goal of Before Racism to help all children feel this way about themselves and prevent the development of biases and racial bias toward others before it develops. Before Racism is currently in five Minnesota childcare and preschools. LWVE and EAAA are working together to assist the expansion of Before Racism into childcare and preschool centers in Edina.
Work on diversity, equity and inclusion requires collaboration among many people and organizations working to prevent biases against members of the Edina community and beyond. If you are interested in learning more about these efforts, please contact Colleen Feige, President, LWVEdina at [email protected] or Kelly Condit-Shrestha, Leadership Board, EAAA at [email protected]
Stamped Book Discussion Well Received
posted February 2022
On January 27, 2022 LWVE and Edina Reads co-hosted a Zoom book discussion of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. "Stamped" is the young adult version of Ibram X. Kendi’s award winning book, "Stamped from the Beginning." The event was promoted to Edina middle and high school students as well as the broader community. The Edina Community Foundation (ECF) purchased 80 copies of the book and they continue to be available at the school media centers and the Edina Library resource desk.
The 34 attendees, including a number of students, were welcomed by LWVE Racial Justice Action Committee (RJAC) Chair Mamie Segall, and ECF Executive Director Dick Crockett. Two Edina High School seniors, Dedeepya Guthikonda and Izzy Wagener, presented their thoughts on the book and their personal experiences. This was followed by breakout rooms in which discussion questions were asked, then all participants gathered together to hear brief summaries of each.
One participant, Sara Swenson of EHS Media Center, shared that the success of ALL students is a priority in the district. She provided a student demographics link and this chart showing the 2021 enrollment by race/ethnicity of Edina High School.
Hispanic or Latino
American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African-American
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
Two or more races
This program was organized by the Learn/Unlearn Subcommittee of RJAC: Paulette Hastings, Nancy Ouska, Mary Stanton, and Karen Wille. They received technical support from Tina Bohrer of ECF and discussion leaders were Sheila Berube, Chris Bremer, Susan Clark, Dick Crockett, Andy Otness, and Karin Wille.
LWVE Adopts DEI Statement
posted December 2021
In November 2021, the League of Women Voters Edina Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt the following diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statement:
The League of Women Voters Edina (LWVE) is fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in principle and in practice. DEI is central to LWVE’s success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy. To advance DEI in our organization and community, LWVE will work to
• increase diversity in our membership and leadership,
• prioritize equity in our processes and operations,
• promote inclusion by eliminating barriers to participation, and
• advocate and participate in local action to eradicate discrimination and systemic racism.
Our DEI statement serves as a grounding reminder in all our activities, conveys our desire to be a welcoming organization, complies with LWVUS and LWVMN requirements and establishes a framework underlying our ongoing work and advocacy. Our DEI statement will be included in the 2022 Directory and replaces the 1995 LWVE Diversity Policy Goals.
The LWVE Racial Justice Action Committee continues its work to bring our DEI statement to life in our League and our community. Current efforts include advancing the Local Study of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Edina, with a Focus on Organizations in the Community, researching and writing the recent article on Julian Bond’s visit to Edina, delivering two voting rights events in October (Voting Rights and Indigenous Peoples; Voting Rights and Felon Disenfranchisement) and planning two book discussions: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You in January and The Sum of Us in April (more information to come).
The Day Julian Bond Visited Edina
posted November 2021
LWV and Race - Past, Present, Future, will occasionally highlight particular articles or events for further reflection. Sub-committee member Chris Bremer researched an event from Edina's past--the day Julian Bond, a national civil rights leader and long-serving member of the Georgia House and Senate, spoke in Edina before 3000 residents gathered in the high school gym. You can read Bremer's article here.
LWVE Study Adopted
posted March 2021
In February 2021, the LWVE membership adopted a new study on Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The study will focus on businesses, institutions and organizations in the community, and is being co-chaired by Andy Otness and Paulette Hastings.
We are calling on members to join the study committee! The time commitment is now through March 2022. Participation may include researching existing DEI materials, interviewing entities in the community, compiling data, writing, and presenting findings. If interested in being a committee member, please email us at [email protected].