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2018-2019 Year in Review

neighbors eating at garden partyThe Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship had a whirlwind 2018-2019 school year. From workshops and lectures to community-based collaboration, campus-wide initiatives, and hosting a national conference, in addition to our day-to-day programs like LEAD Fellows, Campus Kitchen, and Public Achievement, this past year was full to the brim. We are thankful for all of our partners and collaborators in this ever-changing and exciting work. As we look ahead to the new school year, we are proud to share some highlights from 2018-2019:

Democracy Augsburg:

During the fall of 2018, the Sabo Center hosted 18(!) workshops and teach-ins on topics ranging from community organizing basics to the opioid epidemic, democracy in South Africa, citizenship and community agency, and more. Sabo Center staff invited candidates from across the political spectrum to campus for tabling and outreach prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and significantly increased our center’s visibility with students, staff, and faculty.

Student Employment Pilot:

Led by Sabo Center Director Elaine Eschenbacher, the Sabo Center initiated a student employment pilot program that worked closely with supervisors and students to make on-campus student employment more meaningful and useful, both for departments employing student workers and for students in their own career preparation. Twenty students and their supervisors went through orientation, training, and structured reflection throughout the course of the school year, and a report on the results of the program are forthcoming.

Environmental Stewardship:

The intern team of three undergraduate students, one graduate student, and a MN GreenCorps member hosted several events throughout the school year exploring the intersections of equity and sustainability, including a “Sip-Sustain-Stories” discussion series and a “Sustainability is No Joke” storytelling event facilitated by RFTP. In collaboration with Campus Kitchen, students began work to set up a campus “Share Shop”–a space created by and for students to reduce consumption, mitigate student costs by providing access to things like tools, and creating a community space where students can take part in informal learning around sustainable practices and skills sharing. The Share Shop and Campus Cupboard (student-run food shelf) are excited to co-locate in the basement of the Old Science building in the fall of 2019.

Campus Kitchen:

Campus Kitchen saw the exciting addition of two new staff members, LaToya Taris-James and Natalie Jacobson. The Campus Kitchen student leadership team deepened the Campus Kitchen partnership with the Brian Coyle Community Center youth program, beginning weekly cooking sessions in the Augsburg Food Lab and in the Brian Coyle kitchen. Another highlight of the year was a garden party event featuring local food activist La Donna Redmond and storytelling facilitated by Mixed Blood Theater.

Place-Based Justice Network Summer Institute:

The Sabo Center was thrilled to host our colleagues in the Place-Based Justice Network for the network’s annual conference. Read more about the PBJN Summer Institute it the blog featuring highlights of the conference. 

Undoing White Body Supremacy Pilot Project:

In partnership with Augsburg’s Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, staff members at the Sabo Center are leading a pilot cohort of white faculty and staff learning to undo the ways white supremacy shows up in our bodies, not just in our minds. Selected applicants will meet and learn together throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. This is body-based racial justice work, informed by Somatic Experiencing®  and Interpersonal Neurobiology. You can read more about this exciting project on the Sabo Center Blog.

LEAD Fellows:

The 2018-2019 LEAD Fellows cohort had innovative programming, including a session about radical self-care, a vocation panel of recent graduates, and leadership styles exercises, including a town hall meeting simulation. New community partners hosting LEAD Fellows this year included OutFront MN and Inquilinxs Unidxs. And, best of all, we welcomed LaToya Taris-James, an amazing new staff member who brings a wealth of experience in youth and leadership development to supporting both the LEAD Fellows program and Campus Kitchen!

Interfaith @ Cedar Commons:

Once a month, Interfaith Scholars and community members meet together for food and interfaith conversations on a variety of topics. Topics for 2018-2019 included Wellness and Faith, Intersection of Culture and Religion, Religion as a Tool for Oppression and Liberation, and Interfaith Perspectives Post-Election.

Community-Based Learning:

Director of Community Engagement Mary Laurel True collaborates with faculty across the University to connect their classes to community organizations and projects. Some highlights from 2018-2019 included co-hosting a national conference on Cuba with faculty in the Spanish department, and bringing Spanish classes to the Mexican consulate in St. Paul to learn about their work with immigration and new immigrant communities in Minnesota. In collaboration with Religion department professors, students completed 12 visits to diverse places of worship (mosques, churches, synagogues, and temples), connecting their visits with study of interfaith topics.

 

Interested to join us for 2019-2020? Check out the Calendar and Events page, and be sure to like the Sabo Center of Facebook (@sabocenter) for all the latest on workshops, events, and ways to plug in!

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.

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 election. Participation 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.

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.