Minnijean Brown Trickey
Wednesday, November 8
Minnijean Brown Trickey has lifelong experience and commitment to peacemaking; environmental issues; developing youth leadership; diversity education and training; cross-cultural communication; gender and social justice advocacy. Minnijean Brown Trickey is one of the nine African American students who collectively resisted opposition to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, with protection from federal troops.
Minnijean’s teaching experience in social work includes Carleton University, and community colleges in Canada. She served in the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Workforce Diversity at the Department of Interior. She was the Shipley Visiting Writer for Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University. For the past twenty-two years she has been a nonviolence and antiracism facilitator for Sojourn to the Past, a ten-day interactive history experience for high school students. She continues as a teacher, writer and motivational speaker. She is the mother of three sons and three daughters.
Brown Trickey is the recipient of numerous awards for her community work for social justice, including Lifetime Achievement Tribute by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the International Wolf Award for contributions to racial harmony. With the Little Rock Nine, she received the NAACP Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal. She is a member of the Little Rock Nine Foundation that awards nine scholarships bi-annually.
She holds a Bachelor of Social Work in Native Human Services from Laurentian University and Master of Social Work from Carleton University, in Ontario Canada. She is the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates.
She is the subject of a documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which has received critical acclaim in international film festivals in Africa, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the U.S., South America and Canada. She was featured in People Magazine, Newsweek, the Ottawa Citizen, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Donahue, CNN, the History Channel Turning Points in History, the HBO documentary, Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later, and a variety television, radio and print media. She appeared with the Little Rock Nine on Oprah, Today and numerous other media.
In 2016, Minnijean donated more than 20 personal objects to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The collection includes a Little Rock Central High School yearbook, a graduation dress, a personal letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a notice of suspension and photographs. She is a proud mother and grandmother who still travels globally spreading a message of antiracism, nonviolence, peace and reconciliation.
Friday, November 10
Spirit Tawfiq is a creative changemaker, antiracism educator and founder of Roots of the Spirit, an organization created to uproot racism through storytelling, education, and the arts.
She is the creator and host of the Roots of the Spirit podcast, a space to galvanize change through honest conversations about identity, race, racism, and intersecting social justice issues.
As a professional speaker and playwright, Spirit speaks and host workshops in K-12 classrooms, colleges, universities, organizations, and corporations about her legacy as the daughter of Minnijean Brown Trickey, who is one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of black students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Spirit’s vision is to inspire people from all walks of life to discover their own roots, our interconnected history, present and a more harmonious future.
Born in Canada and now living in New York City, Spirit is an alumna of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (BA) and the Clinton School of Public Service (MPS). Her professional experience includes social justice education and advocacy, community relations, and public speaking within the National Park Service, working with the Smithsonian Institution, and being a speaker agent for civil rights icons Minnijean Brown Trickey and Ruby Bridges.
She is the proud mother of her two-year old vivacious boy, Nizami.