FISH welcomed 32 attendees to the July 8 meeting.  FISH partners and affiliates filled 19 needs in June with a value of $9,816.


Terry Hassan, Community Outreach Manager at CAP, provided some background information on the beginnings of the Shakopee Diversity Alliance (SDA).


Terry was asked to attend the “Diversity Summit,” organized by Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, by Barb Zell, Executive Director and Public Health Nurse at the River Valley Health Services, in partnership with CAP Agency, with whom she was a Spanish translator and outreach staff, in February 2012.  She did so, and when the approximate 145 attendees met in small groups to agree on what was “working” in Shakopee, they all stood up and applauded and said, “The CAP Agency,” and looked directly at Terry.  She was both surprised and delighted to take credit for their many years of being a source of assistance to all the diverse clients in our community!  She felt obligated and inspired to keep attending the monthly meetings and eventually became a board member, Vice-President for 2 years and President for 4 years.  They held quarterly community events such as Diabetes prevention, The Truth about Islam, Know Your Rights about the Police, Transportation & Housing event, Candidates’ Debate for local elections including city council, school district, state house and senate, Health and Legal event where they had bilingual doctors and lawyers to answer immigrant questions in a safe space while also giving free flu shots to attendees, and the most notable, the annual International Festival; held at first, in conjunction with the long-time Shakopee Summer event, Derby Days, and then becoming its own event after that was disbanded.  They had partnerships with the City of Shakopee, Chamber of Commerce, Families and Individuals Sharing Hope (FISH), Lion’s Club, Community Education, The CAP Agency, local Library, Public Health, School District, with several cultural liaisons on our board including Mary Hernandez and Ibrahim Mohammed, who was president for several years.  They also had many local businesses who supported SDA, including Cub Foods, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Bayer, Old National Bank, Rahr Malting, Hy-Vee, Target, Sam’s Club, Canterbury Park, Total Rental, and so many more who donated gift certificates for the drawings at the festival and monetary donations to keep the essential work of the Shakopee Diversity Alliance functioning. SDA had many volunteers supporting these efforts, including the board members who took no salaries and spent countless hours devoting their efforts to not only help new, diverse residents of Shakopee, but to also educate the long-time inhabitants who may be fearful of change and needed to realize that “we are all more alike than we are different.”  Terry, as a Shakopee born and raised citizen, and Ibrahim, as a Somali immigrant, were zealous in bringing their two-fold mission to fruition:  educate and serve all those in Shakopee with understanding and resource sharing.


Misty Van Voorst, a board member of SDA, said there’s now a better focus on including the black community since the trial of Derek Chauvin and other deaths in the black community.  There was a Community of Color gathering last year held outside with social distancing.  People attending said they didn’t feel welcome in the area.  There was a highlight on black businesses and a focus on communities that were missed, such as Jewish people and the Pride community.  They have shifted the focus of SDA to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), as well as people with mental illness.


Terry commented that SDA is a living body and needs to change and respond to things happening to the community.  More information means less fear.


People wanted to know how to partner with the Shakopee Diversity Alliance.  They can come to a board meeting the last Thursday of the month from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  People can also contact Nevya Nava, Vice-Chair

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200 4th Avenue West
Shakopee, MN