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National social justice leader Brittany Packnett Cunningham to headline Teach For America keynote

On April 25, renowned leader and organizer Brittany Packnett Cunningham will take the

stage at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to headline an event entitled “Co-creating a

More Just Minnesota.”

The nationally known speaker is coming to Minneapolis for the 2024 Teach for America

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) keynote.

Teach for America recruits and trains a national corps of educators who teach for two

years in underserved, low-income schools. Since arriving in Minnesota 15 years ago,

Teach for America Twin Cities has built a network of 1000 alumni; the majority still work

in education as teachers, school staff, administrators and policy-makers.

In Minnesota TFA corps members commit to working to close Minnesota’s achievement

gap among students of color. In her career as an activist, Cunningham frequently

addresses such racial disparities.

“Brittany has been on the front lines of activism and direct service. She is able to share

lessons she’s learned that we can apply in Minnesota to make progress with our racial

equity gaps,” said Charlie Braman, managing director, Teach For America Twin Cities.

Cunningham has been an educator, author, award-winning podcaster, network news

analyst and leader for social change, from public education to criminal justice. She was

a member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Ferguson

Commission and held a top role at Teach for America.

“She has the practical, lived experience, the anecdotes and the data to analyze the how

we got to where we are in Minnesota,” Braman said. “She can identify best practices

that we can leverage to locally to work to close those gaps.”

Prior to Cunningham’s talk, the audience at the Guthrie will watch a film commissioned

by Teach For America Twin Cities. Local filmmaker Benji Perez Gonzalez created a

documentary that asked local leaders to reflect on and reveal the racial divide in

Minnesota in housing, health, and wealth as well as in educational outcomes.

“Minnesota, we’re not the best. We have the lowest high school graduation rates for

kids of color in the nation. Our literacy rates are abysmal. Only about 50% are reading

at grade level,” Josh Crosson, executive director of Ed Allies, told the filmmaker. “We

need that mind shift that we can do a lot better as a state, in fact most states are doing

better than we are, and then we need to create solutions from that mindset.”

“We’re a healthy state. We own our own homes, we have a strong education system,

we have opportunities for people to advance socio-economically. But there’s an

important caveat. None of that is true if you’re Black,” added Markus Flynn, executive

director of Black Men Teach. “There’s a silver lining though. We know the answer. We

know that education is the quality of life indicator that has the most residual benefit that

can lift up the other areas.”

Tickets for “Co-creating a More Just Minnesota” are $5, a price intentionally chosen to

make the event accessible to all members of the community, Braman said.

VIP Tickets are available at a higher price ($25 and $50) for a post-lecture catered

reception with Cunningham.

“Our VIP meet-and-greets always bring together leaders of Twin Cities groups with an

equity focus. Great collaborations and coalitions have sprung from this in the past, when

teams from these community-based organizations have a chance connect and

network,” Braman said.

Teach for America Twin Cities

2024 DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) keynote

“Co-creating a More Just Minnesota” with Brittany Packnett Cunningham

Live at the Guthrie Theater

818 S. 2nd St, Minneapolis

7 pm — April 25, 2024



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