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Facing My Own Personal Truths at It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race

By Beth Smits, It’s Time to Talk Committee Chair
October 12, 2018
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Beth Smits is vice president of customer success for the Consumer Group at Intuit, Inc. and joined the YWCA Minneapolis board of directors in 2016. She serves as the committee chair for YWCA’s signature event, It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race, which helps to break through the barriers that perpetuate racism in our community. Here she shares some thoughts about It’s Time to Talk and how it’s helped inspire her to learn and do more.

The Magnitude of Work Ahead

I attended It’s Time to Talk: Forums on RaceTMseveral times before joining the YWCA Minneapolis board of directors and each time, I emerged from the experience with an appreciation for both the progress we’ve made fighting racism and the magnitude of work we still have ahead of us.

When I joined the board, I was thrilled to be asked to be a co-sponsor of the It’s Time to Talk committee. My tenure on the committee began with the 2017 event, which featured a panel of authors who wrote targeted, poignant essays about their personal experiences being people of color in Minnesota. These essays were included in the book A Good Time for the Truth and a powerful panel discussion was held with the authors.

Holding up a Mirror to Help Us Learn and Grow

As of part of my preparation for the event, I read the book cover to cover… and came away feeling upset, angry and defensive.  “No way,” I thought to myself. “There is no way this still happens…” But of course racism and discrimination does still happen in both subtle and blatant ways, and to be honest, my reaction caught me entirely by surprise. I had to face my own personal truth – I still have a ton of work ahead of me, even after everything I’ve learned and experienced. This is exactly the reason why everyone should attend this event – it holds up a mirror for us and helps us learn and grow.

Working Toward Racial Justice in Our Community

I’m looking forward to this year’s event and the opportunity to witness people have their own insights and realizations. I think it will be a source of inspiration that pushes people to learn and act more for racial justice in their communities.

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