Vina Kay

Interim Executive Director and Director of Research and Policy
Organizing Apprenticeship Project
Vina Kay is the executive director at Voices for Racial Justice. She was raised in Omaha and is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Law School. She worked for several years with john powell at the Institute on Race and Poverty, as legal fellow and senior researcher. Vina is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, as well as a documentary filmmaker. Her current project, Building the Pink Tower, reimagines schools and learning through the lens of Montessori education.

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

OUR MPLS: A Community-Led City Report Card on Racial Equity

The OUR MPLS partnership of 25 community organizations working on racial equity issues first came together after the 2013 Minneapolis elections to develop a racial equity agenda for the city. In early 2014, they shared their agenda with the newly elected mayor and other elected leaders, many of whom ran on a racial equity platform. Two years later, Minneapolis still faces some of the worst disparities in the nation in employment, education, incarceration, and more. The city made national headlines for the shooting death of an African American man by Minneapolis police, and the community response through sustained protests and calls for changes in policy and practice. The OUR MPLS partners came together in January 2016 to announce the development of a community-led racial equity report card on the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and the Minneapolis Public Schools that will be released in the Fall of 2016. This is the first city-level report card on racial equity and builds on Voices' 10-year history of producing the Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. This session will offer the chance to learn about the process of developing the report card, the methodology, and the importance of community-driven research in changing narratives, driving policy change, and holding elected officials accountable for racial equity commitments and leadership. The session will offer practical advice, a methodology template, and the inspiration for local grassroots organizers to lead similar strategies in their communities.

Speakers: Vina Kay, Neeraj Mehta, Ashley Fairbanks

Presentations from Facing Race 2014

Racial Equity Agendas: From Development to Action

This session will share the process for developing racial equity agendas that reflect the policy priorities and organizing campaigns of communities of color. Presenters will share their experiences of convening community groups and policy advocates, conducting research, and developing messages that promote a multi-issue approach to building racial equity. They will also share the organizing strategies that grew out of the agenda process, from media to lobbying efforts. The session will include the different approaches for racial equity agendas at the state and local levels.

Speakers: Vina Kay, Chris Genese

Presentations from Facing Race 2012

Launching Proactive Policy Agendas for Racial Equity

How do we move from reacting to racial disparities to proactively addressing racial equity? In this workshop, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) in Minnesota, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) in Illinois, Maine People's Alliance (MPA) will share their experience using legislative report cards, policy guides and proactive agendas that highlight racial equity issues. These organizations are using innovative tools and strategies for introducing an equity-focused framework into the policy-making arena.

Speakers: Vina Kay, Jermaine Toney, Alheli M. Herrera