| Program: || Multicultural Task Force, St. Cloud, MN |
| Contact(s): || Cheryl Running, Facilitator: (320) 253-5828 |
| Purpose: || To empower individuals to adapt community resources that will meet their needs |
In 1991, Cheryl Running, a parent-educator with the St. Cloud school system, who worked closely with parents of Southeast Asian children, realized that the needs of diverse cultures were not being addressed. She created a network of individuals--including an English as a Second Language coordinator, social workers and school nurses--who were interested in making the community more responsive to the needs of minorities. This network grew to include concerned social service agencies, educators and businesses that employ minorities. In May 1991, the network became the Multicultural Task Force and began to meet monthly, developing partnerships and sharing information, resources and concerns about minority members in the community. The membership represents many ethnic backgrounds as well as members from the three county social service and health departments, educators and police officers.
In addition to their monthly meetings, the Multicultural Task Force sponsors a variety of activities, including interpreter workshops, cultural awareness workshops for counselors and administrators, and support meetings for parents of ethnic children. The task force has written letters to legislators requesting that interpreters need to be provided in educational, legal and medical settings and be paid for their services. A list of possible interpreters has been collected and circulated to area agencies. Several workshops offered by the task force address how people can communicate effectively with the assistance of interpreters. A training on cultural awareness provided community members, counselors and administrators with the opportunity to discuss how to improve racial inclusion.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
As of 1998, there are 90 members working for the task force. In addition to updating and encouraging the use of interpreters, the task force has two subgroups: The first is working on a positive racial media campaign and improving the images of ethnic cultures used in the media. After meeting for six months, the second subgroup developed a list of issues and recommendations from the parents of children of color and interested community members on what they can do to eliminate racism in their community. These concerns were presented at a meeting of community policy makers.