Normandale Community College looks to build bridges during Success Day

The first Somali-American woman elected to state office in the United States will be a keynote speaker at Normandale Community College of Bloomington’s annual Success Day.

“Building Bridges” is the theme of the eighth-annual Success Day, which is 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the college, 9700 France Ave.

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar

Minnesota House District 60B Rep. Ilhan Omar was elected in November, campaigning with a focus upon building bridges rather than emphasizing differences. Omar’s campaign drew upon her experience as a young immigrant confronting the multiple identities that marked her as “other” in the United States. During her Success Day speech, Omar will discuss how her life of building communities through shared values has led her to represent one of the most diverse house districts in Minnesota.

Omar is an experienced policy analyst, progressive activist and coalition builder, who has worked as a senior policy aid for the city of Minneapolis. She spearheaded the successful efforts for paid sick leave for all workers and for an ordinance allowing businesses to stay open late during Ramadan. Omar most recently served as the director of policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women.

Her keynote address begins at 8:30 a.m.

A professor and dean for teaching and learning will deliver Success Day’s second keynote address at 5 p.m.

Cyndi Kernahan
Cyndi Kernahan

Cyndi Kernahan from University of Wisconsin-River Falls will discuss implicit racial bias, explaining what it is and what it is not. Kernahan will also discuss what we know, how we can reduce our implicit racial biases and the ways we can use science to improve policies and decrease discrimination.

Kernahan is a social psychologist who teaches courses on social psychology, the psychology of prejudice and racism and careers in psychology. As a specialist in the area of race and racism, Kernahan regularly conducts research and writes about how students learn with respect to the controversial topic.

In addition to the keynote addresses, the campus will host a variety of programs and activities throughout the day, including a health fair 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., an academic fair 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the “Human Library” 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The “Human Library” features a variety of speakers who share their unique stories and answer questions from the audience.

Success Day also offers “Meet the Leaders” 3-4:50 p.m. and more than 60 sessions throughout the day featuring discussions on subjects related to careers, finance, leadership, personal interests and wellness.

Success Day is open to the public, and regular classes will not be held.

Information, including the schedule of presentations and sessions, is available online at