Jodi Broadwell, 39, Duluth

 

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What do you do?

I run a small nonprofit, Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative. Our mission is to strengthen the Lincoln Park community by connecting families who care about young children.

 

Education

  • High school diploma: Denfeld.
  • Associate of Arts degree: Lake Superior College.
  • Bachelors of Fine Arts in studio art, Master of Arts in art history and certificate in nonprofit management: University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Community involvement

  • Community Action Duluth board of directors for six years, two years as chair.
  • Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc., board of directors for four years, two years as co-chair. Currently an emeritus board director.
  • Co-organizer of the Alabama 35, a delegation of Duluthians who traveled to Montgomery, Ala., to attend the opening of the Legacy Museum and the unveiling of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
  • Duluth-Superior Pride Committee for five years.
  • League of Women Voters-Duluth board of directors for three years, and a member for six years.
  • Election judge for Duluth for five years, chairperson at my assigned precinct several times.
  • City commissioner, in my fourth year of service on the Duluth Public Arts Commission.
  • Caretaker of a Big Red Bookshelf for over five years.
  • NAACP, Duluth branch member
  • Board of directors for Ecolibrium3.

 

Tell us about your loved ones

I have one child, Kaosu. He is 16 and will be a senior this year at Harbor City International School. He is dually enrolled through the PSEO program and attends Lake Superior College full time. Kaosu and I have one pet, Pawsha. She is a sweet cat that we adopted together nine years ago.

 

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy reading and watching documentaries about art and history, experiencing art at museums and galleries, as well as making art, traveling as much as possible, working in my gardens, continuing to learn how to cook, practicing yoga, bowling, walking within nature, sharing a meal with friends and family, catching a comedy show or a play, and mentoring youth in my neighborhood.

 

Tell us about an influential person in your life

Shor and I met in 2012. Shor identifies as transgender and shared with us some of their experiences being transgender, the importance of using preferred pronouns, and why access to hormone therapy is an issue to support and advocate for.  

A few years later my son came out as transgender. Because I had met Shor and learned so much about pronouns, hormone access, and other issues around being transgender, I was able to support and advocate for my son in a way that I would not have been able to otherwise. Shor continues to be an inspiration and source of support for me on this journey together.

What's the best decision you've ever made?

Serving two years in the Minnesota Reading Corps as an early literacy teacher in a Duluth Head Start classroom. It was through this national service that I was introduced to issues around generational poverty, systemic and institutional racism, and how they intersect with the links between low literacy levels and incarceration rates. Everything I experienced as a Minnesota Reading Corps member has influenced employment, volunteer work and projects I worked on after my service and has helped lead me to where I am today.

 

What is your biggest accomplishment?

One of my biggest accomplishments professionally was a three-year effort (2015-18) to help create community garden plots and demonstration gardens at Harrison Park. This effort included:

  • The Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative receiving the Communities Eliminating Tobacco Inequities Award to create healthy spaces in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
  • Successfully aligning this goal with the city of Duluth’s Harrison Park Mini Master Plan, which included a desire for community garden plots and demonstration gardens.
  • Leveraging funding from three additional sources for workshops in the park and collaborating with more than 10 partners to get the work done.

What keeps you in the Twin Ports?

  • Our great Lake Superior.
  • The people who live, work and make their homes here.
  • The revitalization work that is taking place in neighborhoods;
  • My professional and personal work in my communities.
  • The potential Duluth has to become truly equitable for all citizens.

Describe your happy place

Places that make me happy include being close to the St. Louis River, specifically the Western Waterfront Trail. I also enjoy hanging out on the shores of Lake Superior, hunting for rocks and beach glass, taking in the sights and sounds, feeling the cool breeze on my skin and the water splash onto my feet. I especially enjoy the peacefulness of relaxing next to a small lake when the fireflies are out or listening to loons call for each other as the moon rises.

 

What’s your five-year plan?

Getting my kiddo off to college next fall, working on making art and completing my house and garden projects, traveling as much as possible, and exploring becoming a foster parent. At the Collaborative, we are working on starting a family daycare, creating a three-year strategic plan, and seeking support and sustainability for our current and upcoming programming.

 

What words of wisdom do you have for young adults?

My words of wisdom to young adults who are seeking employment is to network, network, network. It’s not always what you know, but who you know.

My words of wisdom for young adults in general is to be mindful about everything you do and be sure to make time to take care of and get to know yourself, your families, your communities and your environment.