Now is the time to learn.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a civil rights movement during what is quite possibly a historic moment occurring in all of our lives. What should we do? Educate ourselves and learn.

All over the nation new conversations are being held on race, equality and more. Our sleepy suburbs are no exception.

There are classes available in White Bear Lake for those interested in educating themselves.

This is nothing new for White Bear as they have held similar classes in their many faces program in prior years, but the amount and variety of classes they have has exploded.

“As we enter our 4th year of the Many Faces work excited for the programs we have developed for Fall 2020 focused on providing opportunities for community members to listen, educate themselves, and engage in conversations on race, to learn about different cultures, and to better understand the role we each play in creating a more welcoming community,” said Tim Maurer, the Director of Community Services & Recreation at White Bear Lake Schools.

The Many Faces Program originated years ago from Maurer’s former coordinator as well as many other helpful hands in the community.

Now, the district and The Center for the Arts are both holding many classes not only regarding race, but also about embracing our differences. They have all sorts of instructors including those from the Office for Social Justice, Equity Alliance Minnesota and Conscious Campus.

“One thing we’re really proud of in this collaboration is, given the variety we have, it’s good for anyone to start in their equity journey,” Maurer said.

And there has been a fair amount of interest in these classes within our community. The last one they held had around 20 participants.

“Personal growth is important. Bringing people together within a community is important to us, as well. We’re just proud to be that group to help offer that,” Maurer said.

Classes include: Discover Your Roots, A garden of Black Joy – a book of global poetry curated by Keno Evol, Racial Definition, Discerning Whiteness: the Unacknowledged barrier and more. 

“I think (these classes are for) anybody that’s looking to educate themselves around race inequity. Anybody who’s ready to start their equity journey should start. We offer a bunch of different avenues for people to take that first step,” Maurer said.

It’s a way for community members to have fun, expand their horizons, learn something new and engage with others during the pandemic. Most classes are currently being taught online. These are especially good classes for adults in the community – you’re never too old to learn something new.

“You’ll find them in the adult enrichment area of our catalog. Basically high school students and on or 16 and up for the most part,” Maurer said.

Those interested in taking the available classes or learning more can call the district office or sign up on their website.

“We just hope that people find what they’re looking for when they take these classes,” Maurer said.

A complete list of classes is available both in the district’s catalog and on their website including some classes that are coming up rather quickly.

“In the next few weeks we have one (class) in September and one in October,” Maurer said.

Those looking for more information on the classes and the latest updates can check out their Facebook page, “Many Faces of White Bear Lake,” at facebook.com/ManyFacesWBL. 

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