Twin Cities – We Have Lift-Off! Nexus Launches Inaugural Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

Nexus Community Partners officially launched its inaugural Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) on Thursday, October 10th, 2013!  Over 40 community members joined us at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul for this celebratory and inspiring event as we introduced the first twelve fellows to the community. Click here to meet the fellows.  Already they are generating interests around the Twin Cities.

Launch Event Photo of Fellows_Compressed

During the event, we were honored to hear from three local long-time social justice leaders who shared their experiences strengthening communities of color and advancing equity in the Twin Cities. Speakers Gary Cunningham, LeMoine LaPointe, and Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds offered the BCLI fellows their words of support and encouragement in a Fireside Chat format. They reminded the fellows that we, as a community, are in this together, and that we all have the responsibility to support one another in creating positive social and structural change for the region:


“This is about our families and our communities and our children, and our children’s children. And the question I ask each of us sitting here today is what are you going to do? What are we going to do? What is your responsibility to do something to address it?” Gary Cunningham


“It’s time for a game change to begin to happen. So I’m seeing our fellows as game changers. And pace-setters. So we can break the cycles that exist … So it’s time for something new.” Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds


“Even if they stand by themselves, they have to stand up. If there are rights to be demanded, they have to be demanded. We can’t ask for our rights to be honored. We have to demand they be honored…We can do this together…We’ve got your back.” LeMoine LaPointe  


The BCLI will train and place these qualified candidates from diverse populations onto city boards and commissions in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The fellows will have the capacity and community support to advance a regional agenda for equity in the five core issue areas of the program: economic development, employment, health, housing and transportation. These leaders will serve as the next generation of elected and appointed officials who are representative of, and accountable to, the region’s communities of color and other underrepresented populations – creating real demands and real change for our children, our community and the Twin Cities region.


Join us for our Thursday Night Issue Series to engage with community partners on current issues in Minnesota and the Twin Cities region. Our first Thursday Night Issue Series will be held in partnership with the Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) Link-up Series: Leadership in the Twin Cities: Our Networks. Our Future, on Thursday, November 7th, 2013, from 5:30-8pm at the Center for Changing Lives. Click here for details and to register for the event.


A huge thank you to the staff and American Indian youth of MIGIZI Communications for filming and producing the videos of the Launch Event! You can watch these videos of our panelists on Nexus’ YouTube channel here.


For more information about the BCLI, contact the program associate, Ms. Angie Brown, at, or the program director, Ms. Terri Thao, at