Community Connections Conference
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The Community Connections Conference is an annual free event that fosters connections between the residents of Minneapolis, community groups, neighborhoods and local government. In 2019, 885 people participated.
The conference features important information, networking opportunities, panels, speakers, performances, free food and over 100 exhibitors spaces.
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- Check-in, network, exhibit hall opens: 8 a.m.
- Opening ceremony, performances: 9-10 a.m.
- Morning breakout sessions: 10:30 a.m.
- Lunch in exhibit hall: 12-1 p.m.
- Afternoon breakout sessions: 1:15 p.m.
- Closing session: 3-4 p.m.
Whova conference app
This year we are moving the conference into the digital age with a mobile-friendly web page and app. Use Whova to access the conference schedule, breakout sessions, exhibitors and more. Take a sneak peek today https://whova.com/web/commu_202002.
You can log in and personalize your schedule or download the app for offline viewing with invitation code "wecount"
Welcoming ceremony – We count in 2020
Join community leaders and elected officials for an energizing welcome in multiple languages with inspiring performances and speakers to kick off the conference and share how we will ensure that everyone counts in 2020.
Breakout sessions could include workshops, panel discussions, round table discussions or open houses.
See morning breakout sessions
CenterPoint Energy Solutions to Lower Carbon Emissions
Presentation and audience conversation about current and emerging opportunities to lower greenhouse gas emissions to help Minneapolis meet it's Climate Action Plan Goals (30% reduction by 2025, and 80% by 2050).
Changes in immigration policies and processes
This session will be led by immigration attorneys who will explain federal immigration actions (including public charge, proposed USCIS filing fee increases, recent immigration court decisions) and their impact on immigrant and refugee communities. Presenters will highlight actions that we all can take to support our immigrant and refugee neighbors.
Comment on Neighborhoods 2020
This workshop will focus on learning about the racial equity analysis for neighborhood programming that the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) completed for the City and its funding implications for the next generation of neighborhood programming. CURA will present data about NRP Phase I and II and the Community Participation Program. Participants will also discuss draft program guidelines to create a racial equity focus for the next program.
Community Investment: Building a 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC) Through an Equity & Inclusion Lens
Learn how the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County established a Joint Count Committee that is diverse and representative of the community, using community grants and an impact assessment for the 2020 census.
This interactive session will bridge the topics of disability awareness, inclusion and diversity in a civic reflection, World Café format.
Exploring Self-Empowerment and Developing Leadership Through Creation and Understanding of Identities
One of the most powerful tools you can possess is awareness of your strengths and an understanding of how to apply them. In this workshop you will use positive thinking, strategies to accomplish goals, and "grit" to begin your self-empowerment journey. We will discuss what this journey looks like and what it's like tap into your innate “superpower.” We will demonstrate that self-empowerment is not a destination, but rather a continuous process. To lead, you must first understand the identities you hold already and create new ones that will benefit you further.
Game of Zones
Zoning codes determine who can live in our communities, how far we travel to work and what our streets and neighborhoods look like. Game of Zones is an interactive, accessible, fun way to learn how these policies relate to our everyday lives and values. In this workshop, you will form small teams and will each get a parcel of land, building materials and several families to house. Working together, can you create enough homes for everyone while building within zoning rules? Give it your best and take your plans to the city planning staff for review. With a roll of the die, you will find out if your project gets neighborhood support—or a lawsuit. The team that successfully houses the most people before time runs out wins!
How the census helps to inform and influence public policy: the case of the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs / Cómo el censo ayuda al Consejo de Asuntos Latinos de Minnesota (MCLA) a aconsejar e influir las políticas públicas.
This session will share the importance of census data, priorities in 2020 and how residents in Minneapolis can engage in the work of the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs (MCLA) and the policymaking process. / El Consejo de Asuntos Latinos de Minnesota (MCLA por sus siglas en inglés) presentará el trabajo del Consejo en beneficio de las comunidades Latinas, la importancia del censo, prioridades en 2020, y cómo los residentes de Minneapolis pueden involucrarse en el trabajo del Consejo y del proceso de creación de políticas públicas.
How White Supremacy Perpetuates Homelessness
Homelessness affects people of all races, but it disproportionately affects people of color. This is not an accident. There are two major reasons for this: 400 years of historical racist policies and current, well-meaning—and some not so well-meaning—racist policies. This workshop will investigate why this happens and what we can do to change it.
Making Your 2020 Voter Engagement Plan
This is an introduction to nonpartisan voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the-vote work that emphasizes how to incorporate voter engagement into your organization's activities and services. You will leave the session with a simple plan for what your organization can do to make sure that everyone who can vote does vote in 2020.
Nonprofit Legal and Accounting Help
Jessica Birken (Birken law offices) and Michael Wilson (CPA) will present on how legal services and accounting coexist in nonprofit management. The presenters have over 30 years of experience working with neighborhood organizations, nonprofit organizations and businesses.
Opioids in Minneapolis
This session will provide basic information about opioid addiction and response in Minneapolis. We will talk about the work the City is doing to address the opioid epidemic and resources that are available in the community.
Presidential Nomination Primary Election Processes & How to Vote
In 2020, Minnesota voters will vote to nominate presidential candidates in a primary election for the first time in 28 years. The Minnesota Presidential Nomination Primary will fall on March 3 (Super Tuesday). As with other state elections, the Presidential Nomination Primary will be held statewide, and voters will be able to cast a ballot before or on Election Day. This workshop will educate attendees about processes and procedures, the multiple ways of registering and voting, and common questions about the change to a primary.
Skin-lightening Practices and Chemical Exposures Among Communities of Color
Many women often use creams and soaps to lighten skin tone, fade freckles or get rid of age spots. Use of these products raises a health concern, as many of the products have been found to contain mercury. Most of these products have been found to exceed the current FDA safety threshold. Based on these findings, The Beautywell Project created an educational outreach campaign to raise awareness about skin-lightening practices and chemical exposures in the immigrant and refugee communities as well as other communities of color.
Use Storytelling to Educate, Empower & Build Empathy Across Difference
It is more important than ever to confront individual bias and build empathy so all people can contribute and thrive. This skill is key particularly to building inclusive workplaces. First-person storytelling facilitates understanding and empathy more effectively than facts alone. In this session, you will learn about the innovative storytelling work of Green Card Voices, a nonprofit that records and shares the stories of immigrants. You will learn how effective storytelling educates and empowers both the teller and the audience, and will leave with resources and ideas to incorporate storytelling into your work.
Your Rights Count When Interacting With Police
This session will educate you about your rights and how to interact safely with police. We will practice four sets of "magic words" you can use to exercise your rights.
Youth Engagement & Implementing Meetings for All Learning Styles
Green Garden Bakery youth leaders will facilitate an interactive workshop on how to recruit, engage, and retain youth in community organizing and decision-making. Youth leaders will facilitate a mock community meeting that incorporates elements for all learning styles that can be replicated for almost any group. Green Garden Bakery is a youth-founded, operated, and led social enterprise in Heritage Park, North Minneapolis. Green Garden Bakery grows vegetables in our community garden, bakes them into healthy vegetable-based desserts for every diet, and markets them using sustainable practices. We sell the desserts in a “pay-what-you-want” system and reinvest our proceeds into our community. We are a group of young entrepreneurs of color driven by a passion to change the world one healthy, delicious baked good at a time.
See afternoon breakout sessions
2020 Census Logistics and Tools for a Complete Count in Your Community
Did you know the 2020 census will be offered online this year? Learn about the digitalization of the 2020 census and how the census will be conducted in Minnesota. Find out how you can help ensure that everyone counts and gets counted in your community.
Awesome Neighborhoods in 120 Seconds or Less
Join multiple neighborhood organizations from across Minneapolis for a series of fast-paced presentations on neighborhood projects and success stories. This engaging workshop will include time to interact and learn more about the great work being done in Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Behind the Scenes of an Election
A lot of work, planning, and people go into running an election. Learn how elections are run in Minnesota, how we differ from other states, and discuss what makes a good election system.
Born in Africa and Raised in America: Issues Affecting East African Communities
East African refugee resettlement in Minnesota began in the late 90s, with many families settling in Cedar Riverside high-rises. Faith-based organizations and nonprofits supported these families with services that met the community's needs at the time: job coaching, ESL and citizenship classes among others. Twenty-five years on, the same families are facing new challenges in this new environment: gang activity, substance abuse, homelessness and intergenerational conflicts. Given these new realities, it is time for policymakers, service providers and planners to rethink community priorities to accommodate new challenges.
Census Data, Occupations and Workforce Equity and Inclusion
We will discuss the role of the 2020 census in setting workforce goals for women and people of color in Minnesota businesses. The census not only informs workforce equity, but also has real world implications for compliance. Census data helps employers identify the underrepresentation of protected classes, e.g., women and people of color, in the workforce.
Diálogo comunitario en español sobre el censo, prevención del crimen, robo de salario y derechos de inquilinos
Un diálogo comunitario en español sobre el censo, prevención del crimen, robo de salario y derechos de inquilinos.
Identifying and Combating Human Trafficking
The City of Minneapolis is committed to fighting all forms of human trafficking. City leaders have broadened the scope of work to focus on labor trafficking and exploitation of adults in addition to the City's nationally recognized work in fighting juvenile sex trafficking. Community input is essential to building a successful response to human trafficking. In this session, Shunu Shrestha, the City’s senior advisor for human trafficking prevention, and Madeline Lohman, senior researcher at The Advocates for Human Rights, will explore how human trafficking impacts our communities and then open the floor for a guided discussion. Participants will be able to contribute their experiences and expertise in shaping this important initiative.
Intersectionality: Bringing Your Full Self to Community
This workshop will help attendees explore their personal and public identities and use this understanding to fuel intentional interactions with families, coworkers and peers. This workshop will also focus on movement-building through identity work, using Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment as a case study. This session is meant to be interactive, so come prepared to have courageous conversations within your community!
Lessons from the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act
The year 2019 ended with the passage of a law called the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, which created a pathway for Liberians residing in the US to become US citizens. In this breakout session, we will discuss how this law was passed and how we replicate this success for other immigrant and refugee communities.
Listening Lessons From Listening Sessions
Join Family Tree Clinic in a discussion about our journey towards eliminating health disparities. Family Tree Clinic initiated a "listening session" project with the goal of increasing access to HIV education and testing for the most significantly affected communities, engaging black and LGBTQ communities about health access. If we want communities to engage with our health services, especially when trust has been broken in the past, we must first ask, how do you want to be served? How should we act on this feedback?
Minneapolis Food Action Plan Community Input Conversations
This session will open with an overview of the Minneapolis Food Action Plan, the 2030 roadmap for Minneapolis food systems, followed by small group activities and ending with a large group discussion. The Minneapolis Food Action Plan will build on previous engagement efforts, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, and will incorporate data and community input from workshops such as this one.
No Decision About Us Without Us!
Join the Youth Congress for this presentation about authentic youth voice and leadership in the City of Minneapolis.
Nonprofit board member? Ask these questions.
If you have ever asked yourself “why do we need all these policies?”, this workshop is for you. The City of Minneapolis internal auditor will identify areas in which non profit board members, treasurers and staff should be aware to successfully manage an organization.
Stand Up and Be Counted: Why the Census and Voting Matter
We will go over the 2020 caucuses, primaries, the census, the presidential election, how they're related and why it matters to you. We'll discuss key community partners, happenings and opportunities to lead!
The Power of Story for Shaping Policy
Story telling can be a powerful tool to build empathy, deepen relationships, and promote large scale systems change. The City's Division of Race and Equity staff will share our work and highlight stories that we have collected from community residents to better understand their experience navigating systems like the City. We have collected these narratives to shape programs and influence decision-making processes in order to improve people's lives.
Turning Point's Community Conversation on the African American Community
Join Turning Point in this session to discuss ways to improve equity for African Americans in Minneapolis by addressing the disparities that affect our community.
What’s the 2020 census got to do with reducing disparities?
Disparity reduction is a priority for Hennepin County and focuses on seven domains: education, employment, health, housing, income, justice and transportation. Census data helps us address disparities, identify communities in need of services, the backbone of birth data, and fund programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, planning/construction/maintenance of our highways and bridges, Medicaid, etc. Hennepin County is building upon efforts to reduce disparities through intentional 2020 Census engagement and outreach initiatives. This is an interactive session to create a lively dialogue and leverage efforts across the county and state to encourage census participation and build on ways to reduce disparities in Hennepin County.
If you have questions or comments about breakout sessions, please email: [email protected].
Finish the day with elected officials in an interactive closing forum and call to action. Each of us has an important role to play to ensure that we all count.
Each year we seek breakout sessions and exhibits that align with the conference objectives and theme. Though, exhibitor and breakout session recruitment has ended for 2020, you can sign up to be notified when partner,exhibitor or breakout session recruitment begins in 2021.
You can sign up to volunteer here. Select which shifts and volunteer roles work best for you.
The Community Connections Conference exhibit hall features resources and information from City of Minneapolis departments,community groups and public agencies. Read more and see the list of confirmed exhibits on the exhibitor page.
Our conference community partners in 2020 include Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), the Franklin Library, We Are Still Here, African Community Services, PICA Head Start, the Hmong American Leadership Council, the Center for Laotian-American International Development.
Community partners advise organizers about important conference features to ensure it serves the needs of all Minneapolis residents. Some of the decisions community partners advise on include:
- Conference format
- Topics of interest
- Workshop presenters and keynote speakers
- Outreach plan
We also ask our community partners to share the conference with their networks and communities.
The Community Connections Conference is made possible by support from the City of Minneapolis, Comcast NBC Universal, Spin, CenterPoint Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allina Healthcare and MetroTransit.
Conference theme and objectives
By using the theme "We count," we are saying that all communities are welcome and valued in Minneapolis and calling on communities to get involved in decision-making in 2020. Residents can get involved by committing to get counted in the US census, vote, join an advisory committee or neighborhood board, learn about important local issues and City policies or volunteer with a community organization.
We host this conference so that:
- Residents, community groups, neighborhood organizations, City of Minneapolis departments and decision-makers collaborate and connect with each other to solve community problems.
- All communities feel welcome to interact with or get involved in local decision-making.
- Residents learn about programs and policies that affect them.
Last updated Jan 28, 2020