About Education Minnesota’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee

Members are appointed to Education Minnesota’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee (EMAC) by the president of Education Minnesota annually. EMAC meets at least three times per school year to discuss the union’s racial equity work and examine the union’s roadmap for its racial equity work, a document called the affirmative involvement plan (AIP). EMAC also has a presence at Education Minnesota’s major events, such as the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) conference and Summer Seminar.

The chair of EMAC is a nonvoting member of Education Minnesota’s Governing Board. This allows the union’s members of color to interact closely with governance, as one of the committee’s members attends all governing board meetings to be kept informed of anything that may have a specific impact on members of color.

EMAC’s origin can be traced to 1991, when the committee’s predecessor—minority caucuses—proposed the creation of an Ethnic Affairs Committee. Following legislation passed in the 1980s, all state affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA) were required to conduct elections which guaranteed a requisite number of seats for delegates of color to be sent to NEA’s annual assembly. NEA’s policy to guarantee representation of delegates of color commensurate with the percentage of people of color in the state is called Bylaw 3-1(g).

Each state affiliate is required by NEA to submit an affirmative involvement plan (AIP) biennially that explains the state’s procedures, recruitment practices, ongoing work and past achievements regarding engaging and supporting the union’s members of color—in other words, the affiliate’s blueprint for meeting its 3-1(g) goals. The primary charge of EMAC is to provide continuous oversight and input into Education Minnesota’s AIP.

Aside from overseeing the AIP, EMAC also:

  • Advocates for academic success for all students.
  • Promotes culturally inclusive instruction for all students.
  • Promotes fairness and equity in teacher preparation and licensure.
  • Aims to recruit, retain and engage minority members in our union and our schools.
  • Promotes opportunities for members to pursue professional development and continuing education.
  • Continues to build a network for communication, connection and support.
  • Advocates pathways to union leadership for ethnic minority membership.


Julia Berry
Marcell Branch
Jefferey Byrd
Peggy Cobbins
Sabrina Tapia Contreras
Nguyen Dang
Annette Davis
Geneva Dorsey (Chair)
Kathryn Fairbanks
Sizi Goyah
Maria-Renee Grigsby Leonhardt
Njoki Kamau
Cassie Letourneau
Yasmin Muridi
Gisela Santiago
Dawn Paro-Strother
Donald Quetone
Will Ruffin II
Javnika Shah
Cassandra Sheppard
Michelle Urevig Grilz


Kimberly Colbert
Sam Jasenosky


Education Minnesota Affirmative Involvement Plan


Stay updated on everything EMAC is doing by joining our Facebook group!

Also, check out Education Minnesota's MEA F.I.R.E anti-racism program!

Are you an educator of color? Keep yourself connected with Education Minnesota’s educators of color forums. Visit this page or fill out this form for more information!