Parents ‘N Power: Part 1: The Rise of Parent Power at NAZ

The year 2020 started off with many surprises that would change the way we go about our day-to-day lives at homes, in our schools and communities. In the weeks leading up to the global pandemic, some NAZ parents had just completed a month-long workshop on parent advocacy and organizing skills. The workshop was created by a statewide parent partner network V.I.B.E.S (Voices Influencing Better Education Systems).

V.I.B.E.S. is part of our partner Education Partnership Coalition’s commitment to keeping parent voice and action in policy. Led by Family Academy facilitator Karla Smith, each session explored the layers of government, legislative literacy, the power of telling your own story, and how to prepare for community action. 

Many NAZ parents already came equipped with the resilience and commitment to bettering the education experience for their scholar. With a shared vision of building a college-going culture, workshop participants expressed their dreams of a desired future for their scholar using activities like world café and storytelling.

When parents felt caught off-guard with the back-to-back changes of the Minneapolis Public Schools Comprehensive District Design, the coronavirus, and the murder of George Floyd, workshop participants were able to take action using their voice to power and give input into structural changes. Many programs had to pivot quickly, from in-person to virtual Family Academy, virtual school town halls, school board meetings, organizing, sharing community safety, and resources. Participants lent their voice and skills to help shape what the Northside looks like socially-distanced.

This week we would like to acknowledge and congratulate the first parent leaders of 2020 Parents ‘N Power who have completed “We Got This!”, an empowering workshop made for parents by parents in Minnesota building power from our place and position. Congratulations Dominique Mays, Taya Morgan, Gregory Wheeler, Tamara Campbell, Stacey Mbonu, and Saleemah Shabazz Salahud-Din (Rest in Parent Power). Next week’s highlight focuses on another NAZ parent group, Parent Data Fellows 2021. These parent fellowship recipients are working on a beautiful presentation to share their experience in this six-month fellowship through learning how data is used and influences our everyday lives.

If you are a NAZ parent/caretaker or know of one who should explore parent empowerment within our Parents ‘N Power community, weekly classes are starting on 9/13/2021. Contact class facilitator, Karla Smith, for this class and other community organizing opportunities for parents to support, share, and shine in.