Implementing diversity, inclusion, and equity during a pandemic

There is broad acknowledgement that we are living through an unprecedented time. It is a time of crisis. For many of us and our organizations, also a time of trauma. When things are so hard, how could this possibly also be a time to focus on diversity, inclusion and equity concerns – particularly for those of us who have not previously prioritized these things?

I would argue that this is precisely the time – because we are in a time of crisis and disruption – to focus our efforts regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity. Here is why…

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Outfront MN – Gala Legacy Award Acceptance Speech

I am honored to receive this award and recognition. And at the same time it is a bit odd and awkward because this recognition is of me and my work, when as an activist and an organizer, I think of movement work in the context of us. It is our work, our accomplishments, our losses, our joys, our dreams, our movement for justice.

Having said this, I am really happy to be here.

Honestly, I never imagined that I would be here. When I started doing LGBTQ activism in 1980, it never occurred to me that I could have a career as a professional lesbian that spanned three decades. I also never imagined that this work would ever be celebrated by anyone; certainly not at a big swanky event at the International Market Square in which I got to wear a sparkly dress and heels.

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Intercultural Organizational Development: Leaning into Change

Published on the Geraldine R Dodge Foundation Dodge Blog on January 8, 2019.

Beth wrote:

“Change can be challenging. It disrupts our sense of equilibrium, safety, and security. To manage change, we often try to overemphasize that which we believe we can hold constant. However, the only thing that is really constant is the ongoing state of change. Biologists call this “homeorhesis” — being in a constant state of change, development, and evolution. Organisms change and develop, people change and develop, communities change and develop — and so do our organizations. ”

Click here to read the full article.


Building organizations in a movement moment by Beth Zemsky & David Mann

ISAIAH’s Story

In 2003 ISAIAH was a strong faith-based organization with 75 member congregations in the Twin Cities metropolitan region and in St. Cloud, Minnesota. They a history of developing strong leaders, capacity to hold large public meetings of up to 1,500, and the ability to win significant issue campaigns like gaining $60 million in public money for cleaning up contaminated sites for job development in the state. They saw that things were changing in the environment, opening up new possibilities for change that could address deep systemic problems impacting racial and economic justice. As they set their sights towards larger campaigns (larger turnout, bigger legislative issue) they began to realize the need for new structures and strategies to realize the potential power of what they had built.

Read more at the link below:

Building organizations in a movement moment



Building An Inclusive Culture: Spreading And Embedding An Equity Lens At The Bush Foundation

POLLEN Interview

Connecting Across Difference: Through deep dialogue and curiosity, Beth Zemsky builds authentic relationships

Read article here


OutFront Award Acceptance Speech

Click here to read Beth’s OutFront Gala Legacy Award Acceptance Speech.

StoryCorp episode

Hear Beth as a guest host on a StoryCorp podcast episode.

Beth Zemsky of Minneapolis is an activist for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. At StoryCorps Atlanta, she told fellow activist Kierra Johnson about a deeply affecting moment back in 1987—at the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

This story was recorded at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference.

Seward Co-op case study

Reflecting Ends and Implementing Inclusivity Practices

Being All In

Rosh Hashanah Sermon 5774

Beth Zemsky

Shir Tikvah, Minneapolis MN

Shanna Tovah

In my work I give a lot of speeches and keynotes. I have to say that delivering this sermon has given me way more agitation than anything I’ve ever done. So, I want to follow Ray’s advice for a moment, that he gave us last night about those of us who have the privilege of being up on the bima, to take a moment to take this all in, and to be all in, in the moment here with you.

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