St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation announces Facing Race award winners

The 2021 Facing Race Honorees 

Victoria McWane-Creek is a Fergus Falls resident who is a performance improvement specialist guiding individuals, teams, organizations and communities toward their ideal performance by designing and executing strategic interventions that close knowledge, performance and skills gaps. McWane-Creek is also a facilitator with the Minnesota Campus Compact Communities of Practice, serves as a member of the Minnesota Council of Churches Respectful Conversations Project, the Human Rights Commission of Fergus Falls, Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership Board and Youth Advisory Council of Workforce Area Board.  She has been recognized as a change maker working to create a more equitable community in Fergus Falls and Otter Tail County. 

KingDemetrius Pendleton is an independent photojournalist who uses imagery to tell stories of injustice and unrest. His photographs of protests, memorials and community events related to incidents of racial injustice have been featured in newspapers and social media. Through his company, Listen Media, he strives to be a “voice of the voiceless.” Pendleton became an activist to honor his daughter, who was killed by a drunk driver in November 2013. 

Valerie Shirley is a St. Paul resident who has devoted her life to empowering those who are underrepresented or invisible. She is the founder of the Minnesota Deaf Muslim Community, a nonprofit working to ensure access to effective communication for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. She began her career in deaf education as a way to communicate with her deaf son. Since then, she has taught others to sign and has made it her mission to ensure mosques in Minnesota include American Sign Language interpreters at prayer services.

Wokie Weah is the first and current president of Youthprise, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing equity for Minnesota’s Indigenous, low-income and racially diverse youth. Under her leadership, Youthprise has granted more than $30 million to youth initiatives and provided training and technical assistance to more than 100 youth-serving organizations. Youthprise has also successfully lobbied for more than $3.1 million in direct appropriations to support key youth-development initiatives.