Staff Feature: Rachel Svanoe

Get to know the Sabo Center!

In each Staff Feature installment, we ask members of the Sabo Center staff to share about what they do, along with some fun facts. 

This post features Rachel Svanoe, Director of LEAD Fellows and Cedar Commons Coordinator.

What do you do at the Sabo Center?

I have two primary roles in the Sabo Center, in addition to other Sabo Center initiatives that my work allows me to be a part of. First, I direct the LEAD Fellows program, a work-study/leadership program through which a cohort of about 30 Auggies work in community organizations and learn together about leadership and social change throughout the year. Second, I organize around the use of Cedar Commons, a campus-neighborhood collaboration                                                                                space on the edge of our campus that Augsburg supports!

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

To eat good food with people that I love! And to catch up about life.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Reflective, spunky, genuine.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I grew up near Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. Not only is it my favorite place to go when I need to think or be refreshed, but so many important moments in my life have happened there! Someday I want to organize an event where people tell stories about all of the major life moments that have happened in that park.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

This year, I’ve been learning deeply from the work of Resmaa Menakem (“My Grandmother’s Hands”) and Rachel Martin (his mentee). Their work explores racialized trauma and the ways in which the bodies of those of us raised in this country carry the impacts of racism, whether we have a body of color that is targeted by it or a white body that is complicit in carrying it out. Resmaa and Rachel’s work provides a model for healing these deeply embedded patterns in our bodies and I’m hoping to bring this work to Augsburg, helping us to become a campus where everyone can be in more authentic relationship with each other with greater safety and less fear.

Name one spot in the Twin Cities that you consider a “must-see.”

Besides Powderhorn Park, I’ve really been enjoying St. Anthony Main and the Stone Arch Bridge lately. It’s a pretty magical place to walk around, in every season!

Join the Sabo Center for a One-to-One Relational Meetings Workshop

Blog post by Emily Braverman.

 

Do you want to learn significant tools for building bonds with others and making social change?

 

If you want to create change, few things are more important than one-to-one relational meetings. One-to-ones are when two people who intentionally engage in conversation to learn about one another, sharing personal knowledge and values to build a connection that will eventually create public action. These conversations are focused on establishing a public relationship with someone. By sharing stories, participants can understand one another’s motivations and self interests, and find commons areas for collaboration and action.

 

The Sabo Center is hosting two opportunities to learn about one-to-one meetings and to practice this important tool for relationship building, organizing, and public work. Come and join us!

 

Wednesday, October 24, 3:10-5:10 pm, OGC 100

Thursday, October 25, 3:40-5:40 pm, Marshall Room

Poster for One-to-One Relational meetings Workshop

Democracy Augsburg Teach-In: A Personal Look at Our Criminal Justice System

Blog post by Emily Braverman

The Smart Justice Campaign and personal experience with the Minnesota criminal justice system are two topicsPoster for Democracy Augsburg: A Personal Look at the Criminal Justice System event with details that will be discussed, explored, and analyzed during a Democracy Augsburg Teach-In coming up mid-October.

Elizer Darris and Anika Bowie, both organizers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will discuss their experiences with the Minnesota criminal justice system and their organizing work through the Smart Justice Campaign.

After successfully getting his life sentence overturned on appeal, Elizer Darris became an activist in prison and an advocate for his fellow inmates. Upon release, he began working in local politics. He currently runs field operations for the Smart Justice Campaign. Based in the Twin Cities, the Smart Justice Campaign is focused on reducing America’s prison population and combating racial inequity across the country. Darris’s main goal is to reduce widespread incarceration.

Anika Bowie is a powerful advocate for people of color. As co-chair of the Minneapolis NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee, she connects with government officials, community members, and local youth around reform of the criminal justice system, and is best known for being a group organizer, educator, and leader.

The Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship will be hosting Elizer Darris and Anika Bowie for a Democracy Augsburg Teach-In on October 15, 2018, at 5 p.m. in the Oren Gateway Center, Room 201. Please join us.

Power and Hope: Awakening Democracy Through Public Work

Awakening Democracy Through Public Work: Pedagogies of Empowerment, is a new book written by Harry C. Boyte which tells many stories of Public Achievement and public work in the United States and around the world. Public work is a civic philosophy with deep roots in nonviolent traditions that express a generative power, never more needed than today when power is understood as domination and control.

This event will feature a diversity of voices, an opportunity to purchase a copy of the book, and have it signed by the author.

Monday, November 12th,Image result for Awakening Democracy Through Public Work: Pedagogies of Empowerment

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Augsburg University, Hagfors Center, Room 150

700 21st Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

What’s at Stake on the Sixth?

A Democracy Augsburg Teach-in

Blog post by Emily Braverman

 

The Midterm Elections.  Poster for What's at Stake on the Sixth? Event.

If you aren’t aware of what the midterm elections are, no worries! Here at the Sabo Center, we broke it down into an easily understandable, short guide:

U.S. presidents serve four year terms. In between these terms there is a midterm electionParticipation during these elections tend to be lower than general elections, but they are very important!

During the midterm election:

  • Members of the U.S House of Representatives are up for election.
  • Most U.S. states elect their governors.

In addition, the political landscape may change because the president’s party may lose seats in both houses of Congress; this might change which party is in control of the legislature. This, in turn, will impact the president’s ability to pursue an agenda during the second half of his/her term.

Augsburg University’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship welcomes everyone to a presentation by political science professor Andrew Aoki, followed by a discussion about the midterm elections. This will take place on October 19th, at Oren Gateway Center – room 100, between 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The 2018 midterm elections will bring forward many important issues to discuss and vote on. Topics at “What’s at Stake on the Sixth?” might include:

  • Donald Trump’s presidency
  • Immigration
  • Healthcare
  • Marijuana
  • International Affairs

Let’s talk: consequences, redistricting, implications for control of Congress, the presidency, presidential-congressional relations, Supreme Court, and myriad public policies.

If you want to discuss these or other issues, and to understand the importance of the midterm elections, we will see you at What’s at Stake on the Sixth.

Learn to Communicate Across the Political Divide with the Better Angels Workshop

A Democracy Augsburg Workshop

Blog post by Emily Braverman  Poster: Better Angels Workshop

“Political ideology” is a term used frequently by political activists, students, and generally by anyone who considers themselves a political enthusiast. What exactly does it mean? Simply put, it is a term describing a person’s political views.

As a myriad of recent examples from American politics display, when diverging political ideologies collide the result is not necessarily respectful or peaceful. Even some of the most qualified politicians have not mastered the skill of respectfully engaging in conversation with those who have a different political ideology.

In response to this challenging reality, The Sabo Center is partnering with Better Angels to offer a workshop where participants will learn effective ways to communicate with others who differ from them politically. Better Angels is a national citizens movement that aims to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing together liberals and conservatives to understand each other beyond stereotypes, to form red/blue community alliances, to teach practical skills for communicating across political differences, and to make a strong public argument for depolarization.

Come join The Sabo Center for a fish bowl-style discussion in which an equal number of self-declared conservatives and progressives join together in conversation about their differences and how to embrace each other’s side:

Wednesday, October 17, 3:30pm – 5:30pm, Old Main Room 105.

 

Whose Democracy is it Anyway?

Join the Sabo Center and a panel of distinguished guests in exploring the questions: What role do citizens play in our democracy? What role do elected officials play? In a thriving democracy, how do (or should) the two interact?

October 4, 2018

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Hagfors Center, Room 150, Augsburg University

 

Panelists:

Catalina Morales, Lead organizer with ISAIAH and Faith in MN

Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy, Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship  

Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis Ward 5

Irene Fernando, Candidate for Hennepin County Commissioner – District 2

 

 

Democracy Augsburg Teach-in: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement

 

Join us Tuesday, September 25 at 4:00 p.m. in Hagfors 151 when Harry Boyte delivers the first Democracy Augsburg Teach-in of the year, Addressing the Crisis in Democracy- Lessons from the civil rights movement. Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center, served as a field secretary for Rev. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the southern freedom movement. He will lift up lessons from the movement, including the key role young people played, and relate them to our current crisis in democracy.