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2016 “It’s Time to Talk” Keynote Speaker Justice Alan Page Featured in Pioneer Press

By Arnoldo Curiel, Vice President of Racial Justice
May 16, 2016
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This year’s keynote speaker for YWCA Minneapolis It’s Time to Talk: Forums on RaceTM, Justice Alan Page, was recently interviewed by the Pioneer Press. He was asked about implicit biases and whether or not he had it to which he responded, “Absolutely. You know, we’re all human beings,” Page said. “The question isn’t do we have it. We all do. The question is how we deal with it.”

Before we can deal with our own individual biases, we must recognize where they originate. Our biases are dependent on how we are socialized, it is pervasive and is woven into the fabric of our society.  As it is difficult to look at a rug and follow any one thread that makes it a whole, it is difficult to look at socialization and simply separate out when our biases were formed. I do not think one’s experience necessarily represents a right or wrong way of looking at things. Instead, it is important for us aspiring to make change to recognize our biases and what we have been taught, while also respecting those with differing opinions. As individuals it is very important to understand what we believe, where these beliefs come from, and that we are aware of how our experiences have shaped them.

My motivation to recognize my biases comes from my life experience in a vibrant and challenged community, as well as my decision to create a professional life that seeks to bring about positive change. My motivation is personal and that is what allows me to critically reflect and look at every situation as a learning opportunity. When reflecting, one should be willing to challenge and examine themselves thoroughly; not naively or without fear, but with the confidence that in doing so first in our own head and then with others’ insights to find ways to succeed and grow. When we begin to examine our biases we must dig into our past to find answers and gain perspective, but cannot limit ourselves to that lens. We cannot leave our pasts behind and become someone else, but rather we must build upon our individual, family, and cultural strengths to become a more whole person.

YWCA Minneapolis is honored to feature Justice Alan Page as keynote speaker on Tuesday, October 18 for our 14th Annual It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race. It’s Time to Talk is a gathering of more than 1,200 diverse leaders from business, education, arts, government and community service. All attendees share a commitment to improving racial equity in our community and moving Minnesota forward.