Dr. Terrie Rose
December 2023 – Child psychologist and social entrepreneur Terrie Rose has devoted much of her professional life to understanding the systemic inequities plaguing many Minneapolis families.
“I spent about 20 of my years focused on young children and their caregivers in [Minneapolis’] Phillips Neighborhood,” she shared. As the highlight of this work, Rose established a social enterprise in 2000 that continues strong today.
“Baby’s Space,” as its name suggests, prioritizes the needs of children from birth through third grade. Rose conceptualized it as a one-stop child development hub: a reliable daycare center for a neighborhood lacking quality care options, augmented by a suite of family services to help stem the effects of generational poverty.
A mother of three herself, Rose is no stranger to the small daily trials and travails of parenting. However, Baby’s Space allowed her to appreciate her position of relative privilege. “When you listen to the stories of these mothers, there’s this profound moment where you come to understand how circumstances of poverty and racism deeply impact children – and in ways that will matter for the rest of their lives.”
Systemic racism and the Phillips neighborhood both took center stage in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. “I would turn on the national news and see the protesting and riots near the Target where I shopped, and outside the precinct I used to walk by.”
As it happens, walking is something Rose found herself doing quite a lot of during the weeks that followed. “For me, walking is a nice way to work through grief.” These leisurely meanders through the Rolling Green Neighborhood afforded Rose impromptu opportunities to stop and check in with neighbors. How were others in Edina processing the news, and particularly the societal inequities suddenly laid so bare?
Those informal conversations gave Rose an idea. “I’ve spent a lot of time with social entrepreneurs, and from them often heard the phrase ‘start where you live.’ … Here was an opportunity to do that.”
Rose invited the entire neighborhood to her yard for a free-flowing discussion around racism and reform. She tapped the neighborhood directory to make sure no household was inadvertently left out. Even so, she had humble expectations for this untested event model, which could promise attendees nothing aside from “leaning in” to the most pressing, uncomfortable subjects of the day.
“I can still remember how at 6:30 a parade of people started walking toward my house at the end of our cul de sac… It was amazing.” In total, “we had 35 people show up for that first discussion.” Rose says they broke the ice with a simple but profound prompt: What do you want your neighbors to know about you? They then pivoted to discussion about the impact of George Floyd’s murder.
Rose’s neighbor volunteered to host a follow-up dialogue – and that one drew 75 residents.
Given that growth and the word of mouth behind it, it’s safe to assume that most attendees benefited. However, “as a white-bodied person” who does not regularly struggle against institutional roadblocks or personal prejudices, Rose believes that she had more to learn than most. “For example, Black neighbors, and especially men, would share that they don’t feel safe wearing hoodies, or walking in public without their wife, or jogging without ID.” It was eye-opening, to say the least.
Rose says that, in some ways, these courageous community conversations were a product of their moment. “We were living in a unique window where folks were willing to talk and to listen in discomfort.”
Fearing any momentum gained could be lost, Rose spearheaded a push to add structure to these grassroots efforts. This led to the establishment of the Anti-Racism Collective of Edina, which continues strong to this day under the fiscal agency of the Edina Community Foundation.
“Collective” is an intentional word choice. “It was clear to me that the work we need in Edina could not all be done inside of established organizations. We needed to operate in a different, nonhierarchical, un-colonialized way.” As a collective, “we have a circle of volunteers who orchestrate what offerings we should have.”
Fittingly, given the group’s origin, foundational activities include quarterly Meet and Greets – described by Rose as “a platform for residents to forge new friendships and [work] together toward building an anti-racist community.” However, this is only the start.
“Our ‘secret sauce’ may be the Collective’s (un)Learning 101 series: five lightly moderated Zoom sessions that are not so much a set training [curriculum] as an opportunity for individuals to come into an inclusive space and proactively shape their own stand against racism.” Resources used run the gamut from reviewing chapters of books, to short videos, to podcasts.
Residents looking for a deeper dive into diversity, equity and inclusion media can also join docuseries and book club discussion groups hosted through the Anti-Racism Collective. Members have even used the Collective to organize Civil Rights road trips through Alabama and Mississippi.
“We’re trying to be responsive in how we keep this alive,” Rose said. As a recent example, “we organized a needed community conversation after the murder of Tyre Nichols” early in 2023.
Rose is quick to stress that the Collective is a true group effort – but it would not have taken shape without her. In recognition of this fact, the Edina Human Rights & Relations Commission recently honored her as the 2023 recipient of the Tom Oye Human Rights Award.