Meet our Team

Arielle Grant, Education Specialist, Education, “I believe in safe places. Beyond physical safety, children of color need spaces that allow for the discovery of identity, to explore what is possible, and to wrestle with limitations. Children as early as 3 years of age begin to recognize racial prejudice in the environment around them. As they grow, they will begin to seek out places that are safe to interpret personal experiences and to investigate their own cultural heritage. UMOJA MN equips parents with the language and insight to create these necessary safe places within their own homes and among their family. At UMOJA MN, Black children and teens can begin to develop meaningful relationships with others and navigate the complexities of race in America. I believe that the flourishing of children of color requires safe spaces. UMOJA MN is that place.”
Alisa Matheson, Associate Programs Manager, Education, “I became involved in UMOJA MN after hearing adoptees and former foster youth express the need for parents to be trained differently when parenting transracially, so the foster, kinship or adoptive home can remain an emotionally supportive place into adulthood. I stay involved because I believe that parents come away from our event empowered to make decisions informed by race, that make a rich environment in which to raise Black children well. By engaging parents, we are able to affect an entire family system, which shapes parents, siblings, and adoptees on a daily basis.”