Region Nine, in partnership with the YWCA-Mankato and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, has received funding from the Blandin Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation to plan and facilitate a series of It’s Time to Talk forums throughout the nine county region.
It’s Time to Talk forums aim to get people talking about issues of race in communities through facilitators and intentionally crafted questions. Facilitators lead participants in round-table discussion through a circle dialogue process and encourage participants to speak from their own experiences – speaking from the heart as opposed to the head. These discussions may be uncomfortable for some, but the goal is to meet people where they are at and then move forward from that point through conversation that builds understanding and empathy. It’s Time to Talk forums typically end with a “what’s next” discussion or handout to provide ideas for how participants can continue to move forward. Usually this “what’s next” discussion is specific to a workplace, organization, or community. Unfortunately, the large and complex problem of racism cannot be solved in a short forum, so It’s Time to Talk serves solely as a starting point.