Culture Corner to host speaker on equity, racial justice
WORTHINGTON — Kabo Yang, director of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium in Minneapolis and a frequent speaker on equality and justice, will be in Worthington Thursday for two presentations at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
Sponsored by The Culture Corner, Yang will speak at noon in the Fine Arts Theater, and again at 6:30 p.m. in Minnesota West Commons. Both events are free and open to the public.
Yang was just an infant when she and her family came to the United States as Hmong refugees. Relatives living in St. Paul worked with a church to sponsor their relocation to Minnesota, and Yang’s parents settled in East St. Paul, where she attended school and college. At one time, she worked as a paralegal in immigration law.
Yang will focus her talk in Worthington on gender equity through a racial justice lens, looking at disparities women encounter while being mindful that different identities women have result in different outcomes.
Using her own life experience as basis for her presentation, Yang will talk about the different treatment she received because of her gender identity growing up as a Hmong girl.
She will discuss how different identities — whether race, class, immigration status or sexual orientation — play a role in how people approach gender equity, and how those identities play into policies, community engagement, leadership development, advocacy and education.
“I’ll be talking about different practices and how racial justice can be incorporated into gender equity, in particular looking at cultural intelligence and what that means on a practice level for community members,” she explained.
Yang will also speak about how she gained her identities and how that positioned her in the women’s movement in Minnesota.
Yang said all are welcome to attend her talk and be a part of the discussion.
“It would be great to have people there who work with ethnic minorities, immigrants, women,” she said, adding that she hopes to provide them with a different way of thinking in terms of tools and resources. She also welcomes young people to attend — and perhaps they will have a better understanding of their own identity and how it forms over time.
“I really hope for a community dialogue — more of a community discussion instead of me speaking at them,” she added.
Minnesota West Coordinator of Cultural Diversity Le Lucht is excited to bring Yang to Worthington. She’d first heard Yang speak about a year ago.
“Her story should be heard by all,” Lucht said. “With all of the things going on in our society today, we know that even our students are becoming more involved with social activism. It’s kind of starting to wake some of our students up to how things impact them.
“(Yang is) able to weave all of the different pieces together to encourage people as well as students to become active,” Lucht added.