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A legendary figure in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. James Meredith came to Minneapolis on June 22 - 25, 2021 to host a series of community roundtable discussions on Minnesota's racial and moral reckoning.  

On the heels of those community discussions, Healing Our City welcomed him and the young activists that coordinated bringing him to Minneapolis to have a special conversation with Pastor Kelly Chatman under the virtual prayer tent.

James Meredith is an American civil rights activist who gained national renown at a key juncture in the civil rights movement in 1962 when he became the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. State officials, initially refusing a U.S. Supreme Court order to integrate the school, blocked Meredith’s entrance, but, following large campus riots that left two people dead, Meredith was admitted to the university under the protection of federal marshals.


His repeated applications to the University of Mississippi were denied solely based on his race, according to the verdict of his 1961–62 court battle, which was won on appeal with the legal assistance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 


Meredith continued to balance education and activism throughout the rest of the decade, attending the University of Ibadan in Nigeria (1964–65) and Columbia University (1966–68). In June 1966 he began a solitary protest march called the March Against Fear, from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, when he was shot by a sniper. The crime mobilized many civil rights leaders to resume the march, which Meredith was able to rejoin after a period of hospitalization.


Now, Dr. Meredith's mission is to heal racial divisions through honest dialogue and to foster good moral character in today's youth.


Ty Taylor is a senior at PIM high school for the performing arts, where he is a media art major. He loves to do anything creative and often expresses himself In his art. In addition, he loves the mountains and is an avid snowboarder.

As a young arts activist his vision and collaboration with Kristina brought Mr. Meredith to Minneapolis


Kristina Tester-Klashnya Chien is a fourth year medical student and recent law school graduate from the University of Minnesota. She is the founder and director of So Others May Learn. Kristina and her husband live in Little Falls, Minnesota. 

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Pastor Kelly "PK" Chatman is the Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement. Pastor Kelly is a nationally sought-after teacher of the church in the areas of multi-cultural leadership, community engagement, and congregational revitalization. Prior to launching the CLNE, he served for 20 years as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church and as Executive Director of Redeemer Center for Life in North Minneapolis.

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