Steve Pederson of Alexandria has been named the 2012 Facing Race ambassador for Greater Minnesota by the St. Paul Foundation’s Facing Race initiative.

As part of its ongoing effort to create a more equitable, just and open community, the foundation’s anti-racism initiative created the award to recognize people in the region who are committed to building a community which everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

Pederson is the owner of a grain and livestock operation near Farwell. In addition to his work on his farm, Pederson is very active in the community.

He serves on the executive administration team of the Diversity Resource Action Alliance and is a member of the city of Alexandria’s Cultural Inclusiveness Committee.

He is also a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Community Actions Diversity Council.

Alexandria Mayor Dan Ness said that Pederson’s contribution to the community has made an impact.

“As the former vise chair and a founding member of the Cultural Inclusiveness Committee, Steve helps to weave diversity and inclusiveness into the fabric of Alexandria” he said. “Steve has been vital to the Cultural Inclusiveness Committee in providing education, research and funding opportunities to increase knowledge and skills related to inclusiveness and diversity.”

DRAA leaders said that to understand Pederson’s commitment to inclusion, it’s important to recognize the delicate balance he possesses between an idealistic vision of inclusion and a sensitive perception of the current climate of diversity.

As an adoptive parent of African American children living in rural Minnesota, Pederson wants to help increase awareness about acceptance and tolerance of diversity.

In addition to the award, a donation of $10,000 will be made to the DRAA in Pederson’s honor. The donation will be used to support programs that help create a more equitable community.

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