Green Building Council

Monday, April 29-9AM: FACING RACE: Getting the Conversation Started; April 15: COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS III: Re-entry Issues for Ex-Offenders

Many will tout these days, particularly since the election of President Obama, that racism is no longer an issue in the country. But as we've seen how the disparate rates of black male prisoners in this country have created slavery by another name, we must also see how certain daily privileges afforded to the majority groups in power in the United States, media portrayals, and the like, are, in fact, racism by another name.   

The fact is, even if we have succeeded in quashing the completely irrational fears that led to the formation of hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and other groups that sought to torture or kill people based on race, we are still dealing with the socio-economic aftermath of what that way of thinking has done to this country and its diverse body of citizens.

Right here in Minnesota, a recent study from the Wilder Foundation found that 37 percent of people in Dakota, Washington, and Ramsey counties still say they get nervous walking into a room of people from other races, if they are the only one of their own race present. One third of these same folks say they strongly or somewhat agree that they would like to get to know people of other races better, but often feel as if they might be ridiculed or shamed if they say the wrong thing. Combine that with the disheartening statistics on education and housing disparities by race in this state and it’s hard to deny that racism is still an issue that needs much attention.  

Who will step up to help bridge the cultural and institutional divide that racial tensions have spawned? How exactly do you confront racism in a way that is both implicating and welcoming? These are all goals of the Facing Race ‘We’re all in this together’ Initiative. Hosts, Michelle Alimoradi and Tom O'Connell will discuss these issues of racism that are subtly embedded in our societal structure today as we talk about their upcoming Facing Race Ambassador Awards ceremony, happening the evening after our broadcast, and what these folks are doing to shed light on the privileges and the fears that continue to perpetuate racism in this country.  

TTT’s MICHELLE ALIMORADI and TOM O’CONNELL talk with key figures in this year’s Awards event. 

On-air guests: 

JOSIE JOHNSON- former University of Minnesota Regent; retired University of Minnesota Associate Vice President for Minority Student Affairs; Founder, UofM Office of Diversity & Equity, and Honoree - Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award; Principal, Josie Robinson Johnson & Associates Consulting, and recipient of a 2013 Facing Race Amabassador Award.


CORINTH MATERA- Teacher, South High School, Minneapolis. Corinth was nominated for a Facing Race Ambassador Award for her work in creating an education unit addressing the U.S. Dakota War of 1862.  Ms. Matera has been a leader in promoting this education unit, and it has reached over 600 students in the past three years.


DR MANUEL PASTOR- Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Southern California; His most recent book, published in 2010,  is Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future. Keynote speaker at this year’s Facing Race Awards Ceremony. 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Ed. NOTE: This week, TruthToTell looks at Earth Day as an entrepreneurial and responsible opportunity. Our colleague and engineer, Kel Heyl, himself a green contractor, offered to help assemble this program and offers, too, this reflection on the Day’s creation and this year’s TTT approach to celebrating this now iconic annual reminder of our human responsibility to protect the planet in all ways possible – and, ironically, as businesses new and adapted:

Making Cents of Earth Day

It’s the summer of 1969. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, already considered a champion of the protecting the natural world, had visited an oil spill site in Santa Barbara, California. On his return flight he was reading an article about various “teach-ins” on college campuses dealing with Vietnam, when…“It popped into my head. That’s it! Why not have an environmental teach-in and get everyone involved?”

Senator Nelson returned to Washington and quickly formed a non-profit – Environmental Teach-In, Inc. – recruiting a few Republicans and conservationists to help with the project. On September 20, 1969 he went public with his mission from Seattle:

“I am convinced that the same concern the youth of this nation took in changing this nation’s priorities on the war in Vietnam and on civil rights can be shown for the problems of the environment. Young people can take the leadership away from the indifferent, venal men who are concerned with progress and profit for the sake of progress and profit alone…”

After considering a number of names like Environment Day and Ecology Day, they settled on the appellation, “Earth Day.” Nelson chose the date to maximize participation on college campuses. The week of April 19–25 did not fall during exams or spring break and did not conflict with Easter or Passover. It was late enough to ensure good weather. During the middle of the week there would be more students in class and no competition from other events – so Wednesday, April 22, 1970 was anointed as the target day. When critics later pointed out it was Lenin’s birthday, Nelson replied that it was also the birthday of both St. Francis of Assisi, the nature saint, and his own Aunt Tillie.

The above was excerpted from this article. In September,1995, Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In keeping with the spirit of the times, much of the work flowing from those first Earth Days were seeking top-down large-scale Federal legislation and regulation.

What makes progressive change so difficult now is that a sizeable percentage of the American people are inserting their heads into deep holes they purchase from entities whose short-term bottom lines are enhanced by maintaining unsustainable patterns of consumption. Just regulating industry will not yield a viable future. Today, we look at small-scale day-to-day successes with special attention directed to increasingly sophisticated tools that allow us to make sustainable decisions and how an NGO is becoming a de facto global standard.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI lead our guests through their work on three different points along the sustainability continuum. Each runs a businesses which helps clients make better informed decisions – decisions which make their futures more sustainable without further disrupting the present.


CINDY OJCZYK – Principal of Simply Green Design and A More Beautiful Home.

RAMY SALIM  –  OwnerSunny Day Earth SolutionsCompleted the first City issued permitted straw bale building in over a decade 

DALE FORSBERG – President of Watson-Forsberg Contracting; specialist in LEED*

*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – a point based rating system used to answer the questions: How green is this design or building. It was created by theUnited States Green Building Council.