Milestone Moments: Naomi Tutu joins us for Black History Month

Over the years, Youthprise has had the privilege and the honor of inviting some incredible Black history makers and influential community partners to our events, and specifically our Black History Month celebrations! From Dr. Joseph White to Dr. Dorothy Cotton, we have used the moment to sit back and truly absorb their wisdom.

In 2014, Naomi Tutu, daughter of human rights champion Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and an international speaker on race and gender justice, came to the Twin Cities to participate in Youthprise’s Black History Month Celebration events, “Honoring Our Common Heritage and Promoting Solidarity.” The events included a concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts with Maria de Barros, a Families & Learning Luncheon, a Community Forum and a Philanthropy Breakfast. And while our Minnesota winter prevented Naomi from speaking at the breakfast, she was able to videotape her message to funders, stakeholders and organizations in the OST field.

Speaking to the philanthropic community, Tutu used her time to encourage leaders to engage directly with the people they are serving. She asked: How can we do things differently? How can we look at our challenges differently? How do we look at our partners and contributors differently? She went on to say:

I believe that as those who are about giving in the community, who are about supporting community initiatives, the 21st century – today – is the time for a new song. There has to be a song that is sung with all the communities that you say that you are serving. That their voices cannot simply be heard as the voices of recipients but their voices must be part of the harmony of the planning, of the evaluating, of the imagining of what is it that this work is going to look like.

Even now, seven years later, her words still ring true! To see a few more of our memorable Black History Month event moments, you can, click here. And you can watch the full video of Naomi Tutu’s speech below:


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