Kadihjia Kelly named 2018 Daisy Frazier Social Justice Award winner
Oshkosh, WI - (July 19, 2018) -- Fit Oshkosh, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving racial equality and building a welcoming and inclusive community, has announced the winner of its 2018 Daisy Frazier Social Justice Award. The award is presented annually to recognize a Fox Valley resident who has championed racial equality and empowered others to do the same.
This year’s winner, Dr. Kadihjia Kelly, is a counselor at Fox Valley Technical College. She has dedicated her life and work to fighting racism and advocating for People of Color, especially Black women and girls. Kelly has conducted presentations on outreach services for diversity clubs at UW Oshkosh; was instrumental in establishing the Juneteeth celebration in Appleton; facilitates the Black Girls Healing group at Lawrence University where students discuss how racism impacts their lives at a predominantly white institution in a predominantly white community; teaches Dismantling Racism curriculum to area nonprofit groups; and facilitates the Young Women of Color Group at the Boys and Girls Club in Oshkosh.
Previous award winners include Dr. Andrew Leavitt, Chancellor, UW Oshkosh (2016), and Rufus Frazier of Ebony Vision, Fond du Lac (2017).
The award will be presented at the third annual fundraising dinner for Fit Oshkosh, on Thursday, August 9, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.
Intercultural Development Inventory™ used by Fit Oshkosh, Inc. to assess and develop intercultural competence
Oshkosh, WI - (March 1, 2018) -- Businesses and organizations in Oshkosh and the surrounding communities are recognizing the importance of intercultural competence to their mission and bottom line, and are taking concrete steps to further their efforts.
Fit Oshkosh, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving racial equality and building a welcoming and inclusive community, offers a tool to assess and improve intercultural competence. The Intercultural Development Inventory™ (IDI) has been used since 1998 in corporate, academic, and other settings in more than 30 countries around the world.
The IDI, conducted by a qualified administrator, is a 50-item questionnaire that takes 15-20 minutes to complete. It measures an individual’s capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. This intercultural competence is a critical skill for more effective interaction in a culturally diverse setting.
The completed inventory is then used to to focus individual coaching and action planning, to build real and virtual multicultural team development, to generate needs analyses for targeted developmental training, and to conduct program evaluation and other research. Fit Oshkosh can provide the full range of services, from initial assessment to program evaluation.
Tracey Robertson, co-founder and executive director of Fit Oshkosh, and an IDI qualified administrator, has worked with groups having a wide range of competency. She says “It’s not unusual for participants, even those with years of experience in diversity, to realize more opportunities through the IDI to reach their goals after implementing the assessment and subsequent programming”.
Associated Bank used the IDI with a select group of leaders involved in their diversity and inclusion efforts, with the intention of rolling out to additional key leaders over time. Although they are in the early stages of deployment, Darcy Pierson, Director of Inclusion, Engagement and Change Management Leadership, stated that “the IDI has helped the group identify specific and practical actions that we can take to advance our intercultural competency that go beyond traditional training classes”.
In engaging in the IDI process at Humana, Adam Jackson, Culture Consultant for that organization, wanted to get a deeper personal assessment of key leaders’ cultural awareness. The intention was to use that group’s scores to indicate what their larger organization may look like, and to work collaboratively on opportunities to make a difference together. A year into the initiative, Jackson says “We have had leaders actually step up and lead some of these ‘real talk’ sessions where we explore inclusion and diversity topics. We made great progress on our action steps in 2017 and have a solid plan to continue this work in 2018”.
For more information on the IDI and other services offered by Fit Oshkosh, visit www.fitoshkoshinc.org/services.html
Fit Oshkosh has received two grants to fund an art show entitled “Color-Brave Photo Project: Black and Brown faces a new narrative,” which celebrates People of Color who live in Oshkosh. Fit is a diversity education non-profit organization that supports social justice advocacy “because race matters.”
The nonprofit organization received a major grant of $9,900 from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and a $7,500 Community Impact Grant from the Oshkosh Community Foundation to support the show. One of the organization’s goals is to is create a community where everyone, regardless of racial identity, feels welcome, can “fit” in, are valued, and are treated with respect and dignity.
The exhibition includes 20 framed photographic portraits with stories about each subject. The stories will be compiled in a book and videos will be produced for social media. It is estimated that the project will impact more than 50,000 people of all ages throughout the Fox Valley. It will travel to 10 locations, beginning with the Paine Art Center and Gardens from April 19 through April 25. There will be guided discussions called “Color-Brave Conversations” at each location.
“The goal of this project is to overcome false ideas about why People of Color live in Oshkosh,” said Tracey Robertson, executive director of Fit Oshkosh. “Some of these ideas are that People of Color come here exclusively from the ‘hoods’ of Milwaukee or Chicago, that they only moved here to be students or staff at the university, or that they have moved here ‘because of the prison’. The last example is the most damaging and the most alarming.”
Because the exhibit includes stories, viewers will learn about the complexities of People of Color in Oshkosh. According to Robertson, this greater awareness is critical as Oshkosh becomes more diverse. Greater knowledge about People of Color will help ensure continued educational and economic success for the community.
Aaron Sherer, Executive Director of the Paine, says, “Art and storytelling are among the best ways to help make the world a better place. By seeing the faces and hearing the stories of Black and Brown citizens, our community will be given a deeper understanding of the many People of Color living here and the many meaningful reasons why they call Oshkosh home.”
Fit Oshkosh will help schools schedule field trips to the exhibition and present photo books to Oshkosh fourth grade classrooms. Middle schools, high schools and university students will also be encouraged to explore the project.
The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awards Community Impact Grants to non-profit organizations to develop projects that serve the community and meet emerging community needs. The Wisconsin Humanities Council awards grants that help communities thrive and give people opportunities to share personal stories and explore culture and history.
Real Gospel Radio highly rated show
A program called Real Gospel Radio Oshkosh 101.9 FM has become one of the most popular shows on WOCT 101.9 FM, Oshkosh Community Radio.
Since its inception in 2016, Real Gospel Radio has become one of the station’s most listened-to programs. It is broadcast locally on WOCT on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. and is live streamed on the station’s website. Anyone, anywhere around the world, can link to the program at http://www.oshkoshmedia.org/1019FMListenLive.aspx
The station has continually seen a spike in the number of listeners who listen on the internet.
“This is one of the most listened-to programs by our internet audience,” said Jake Timm, media services coordinator at OCM. “New people—not our typical audience—tune into the station before and after the show. That means that, in addition to Tracey’s show, people hear other content before and after Real Gospel Radio and find out what our station is about.”
Oshkosh resident, Tracey Robertson, the show’s producer, developed the program in response to a specific need. A native of Chicago, she was able to tune into one Christian radio station and three Gospel radio stations, one of which is nationally renowned. She loves to listen to Gospel music and says, “Being raised around gospel music, I found that it not only ministered to my soul but also was, for me, therapeutic.”
She has served on the board of Oshkosh Community Media since 2014 and immediately noticed that there was no representation of any People of Color in their schedule. The show brings diversity to the station’s programing, which has a mission to present programing that is musically and culturally diverse, according to Timm. WOCT promotes positive social change and gives a voice to people and issues that lack access to the media.
“I haven’t’ seen another program like it,” Timm said. “It is refreshing. Tracey is awesome.”
Herself a board member at OCM, Robertson presented her idea for a Gospel program to the board. Board members liked the unique idea immediately.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to introduce this nationally-renowned music genre to the Oshkosh Community,” Robertson said.
She had never produced a radio show, so she was challenged to come up with a plan of what that might look like. She got some training in production from Oshkosh Media staff. “She is self-reliant as a producer,” Timm said. “We would like to have a lot more producers like her.”
Robertson is executive director and cofounder of Fit Oshkosh, a diversity education non-profit organization that supports social justice advocacy “because race matters.”
Fit Oshkosh has started a new program that puts the Color-Brave Library “on wheels.”
Fit's library made its first trip to Oaklawn Elementary School in Oshkosh on March 14. Librarian Paula Steger with volunteers, Karen Bowen, and Library Outreach Coordinator Mitch Lahmann visited a first grade classroom. Two of the students met the Fit Oshkosh representatives in the office and escorted them to their classroom where they met 23 students, teacher Dale Bertram and his two assistants.
"The class was waiting, seated on a carpet in front of a chair, ready to listen to us read,” Mitch said. Karen read, Lily Brown's Paintings, and Paula followed with Mama's Nightingale, two of the Color Brave Library selections. After reading, Karen and Paula discussed two "I Wonder" questions with the children. As each question was asked, almost every student had a hand up wanting to answer.
“They were very polite," Mitch reported. "They loved the pictures along with the reading."
After the readings and discussion, Mitch described a craft. They were to create a picture like one in Mama's Nightingale, which is a drawing of a nightingale connected to a house by a rainbow. After the activity, Mitch took a photo of children holding up the drawings.
When the volunteers were ready to leave, some of the children asked if they would be coming back.
“They really enjoyed the books and the craft and had a great time,” Mitch said. “It was a big success.”
Watch our Executive Director, Tracey Robertson, talking about the need for a new racial narrative on PBS' "Here and Now".