On Thursday, April 13, 2017, the Twin Cities’ Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) at Nexus Community Partners graduated 16 fellows in the 2016-2017 cohort.
About 50 family, friends, nominators and even funders packed the space at Mid-City Kitchen for the ceremony. Nexus CEO/President Repa Mekha welcomed the crowd and noted the 16 graduates join a group of 41 current alumni, adding to the network of 57 equity champions. BCLI Program Director Terri Thao shared highlights and a slide show from the program year. Fellow Sheronda Orridge performed a spoken word pieced called “You Can’t Tell Me What I Know,” Two graduating fellows, Manu Lewis and Jacquelyn Thomas shared their personal stories on what they learned and personal impact of the BCLI program.
New MN State Representative Fue Lee (DFL-59A) delivered the graduation keynote address. Representative Lee spoke to the value of leveraging networks and allies to move policy and fight for policies that matter to our communities. He encouraged everyone in attendance that “now more than ever is when we have to find the will to affect our local communities at all levels of politics, and in particular,on boards and commissions.”
The program ended with graduates being given certificates of complete and second part of their stipends. And in the tradition of the program, each graduate was gifted with a framed poster from local artist, activist and elderRicardo Levins Morales. It was a wonderful evening and Nexus and BCLI staff look forward to the future contributions from this year’s fellows to the community.