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APRIL 2013

African Immigrants, Other Minority Groups, Stakeholders Host Civic Engagement Conversation In Northwest Suburbs April 11, 2013


BROOKLYN PARK, Minn., March 20, 2013—The African Immigrant Services (AIS), in collaboration with the Diversity and Equity Department of North Hennepin Community College (NHCC ), Brooklyn Park’s Diversity Team, and the Northwest Civic Engagement Coalition, will host and facilitate a community civic engagement conversation on Thursday April 11, 2013, at the Brooklyn Park’s City Council Chambers, in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

The event will provide an opportunity for the community to sustain an on-going conversation on how best to increase the quality of civic participation among African immigrants and other underrepresented groups in the Northwest suburbs of Hennepin County. Designed to help shift the roles of participants from observers to active leaders, the conversation will also involve an action session, allowing for participants to match their interests to existing civic opportunities and community causes.

“We are excited to work with a diverse group of stakeholders to create new possibilities for increased civic engagement within our communities of color in the Northwest suburbs,” said Abdullah Kiatamba, executive director of AIS. “This is one great opportunity to identify and motivate new leaders, to help address some shared challenges and to make our communities more inclusive.”

The conversation, employing the Art of Hosting, as well as other culturally competent participatory methods, will seek to create an environment that facilitates a collective exploration of diverse knowledge and wisdom inherent in community engagement.

 “This community conversation forum is an excellent opportunity to develop and support diverse leaders, as well as work with our community to achieve our goals of providing solutions to real and perceived barriers to opportunities,” said Elizabeth Tolzmann, Brooklyn Park Community Engagement Coordinator.  “This collaborative effort among various organizations is a significant stepping stone in the community’s desire and commitment to make Brooklyn Park, a thriving community inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all.” 

The planning team, comprising community leaders and activists, will use the outcomes of the event to help inform and strengthen a pathway from disengagement to sustained community engagement in the Northwest suburbs.

Funded by a modest grant from the Bush Foundation’s InCommons program, the event also enjoys the support of a diverse group of community sponsors.

Date: Thursday April 11, 2013

Time: 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Location: Brooklyn Park Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443

# # #
Media contacts:

Abdullah Kiatamba                    Mary Tan                                 Michael Birchard                       
Executive Director, AIS              Communications Dir.               Chief Diversity Officer, NHCC           
612-388-4767                           Brooklyn Park                         763-424-0944              763-493-8003             

African Immigrant Services (AIS), a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, exists to create new possibilities for African immigrants and refugees through civic engagement and creative access to opportunities. To learn more, visit

The Brooklyn Park Diversity Team of the Community Engagement Initiative works with our diverse community to enhance acceptance and understanding of one another to achieve its mission of Brooklyn Park, a thriving community where opportunities exist for all.  To learn more, visit

The NW Civic Engagement Coalition aims to bring people from many cultures in the Northwest suburbs together to share their strengths, take joy in their diversity, enhance options for community participation, and work toward common goals.

The NHCC Diversity and Equity Office works to create a campus climate of trust and respect.  We embrace all kinds of diversity and encourage students to increase their cultural competency, connect to the college, and become successful global citizens. Visit