Breakout Sessions at the Northstar Conference

To download full Northstar Conference schedule, click HERE.

Wednesday, September 13


New Research on Gun Violence: Preliminary Conclusions on the Impact of Firearm Permitting

Dr. Beth Virnig, PhD, MPH,
Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN

This presentation will share the preliminary conclusions of an on going research study by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health analyzing the effects on various forms of gun violence of firearm permitting. Fuller description to come.

About the presenter:
Dr. Beth Virnig is a widely published author of studies examining access to health care and use and outcomes of that care. She is also the director of the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC), which is funded by a contract from CMS to provide free assistance to academic, government, and nonprofit researchers interested in using Medicare or Medicaid data for their research. As Senior Associate Dean, she focuses on faculty development, research development, and strategic planning and works closely with school leadership. Dr. Virnig serves as an investigator on the USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threats-2, which develops programs in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response. Her work as part of this project focuses on faculty development around workforce capacity in Southeast Asia and East and Central Africa.

Increased Access to Firearms, from a Domestic Violence Prevention Policy Perspective

David Keck, JD, Project Director,
National Center on Domestic Violence and Firearms
Battered Women’s Justice Project, Minneapolis, MN

Domestic violence victims are some of the most overlooked and forgotten firearms victims in our communities. This presentation will begin with a brief overview of gun violence statistics and then focus on specific domestic violence dynamics and the sometimes counter-intuitive behaviors and motivations of survivors of domestic violence. Other topics addressed will include domestic violence-motivated mass shootings, the movement to take up arms for self-defense in domestic violence situations, and the impact that increased presence of firearms has on police procedures.

About the Presenter:
David Keck is the Director of the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center at the Battered Women’s Justice Project, located in Minneapolis. Previously, he served for 13 years as a Trial Attorney in the Oshkosh Office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender, then for ten years as a Circuit Court Commissioner for Winnebago County, Wisconsin, presiding over hearings in restraining orders, family court proceedings, and small claims civil cases. Over the course of his career, David has exhibited a strong commitment to legal and policy work on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, and particularly the impact of firearms on the safety of survivors, their families and their communities.

Camp Noah: Building Resiliency in Children Impacted by Trauma

Kim Dettmer, Senior Director of Disaster Services and Camp Noah
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Inc., St. Paul, MN

Children who have experienced trauma can greatly benefit from therapy designed to teach resilience, but trained therapists are not always available. Camp Noah is a national program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota which has been proven to teach resilience to traumatized children using a day camp format and volunteers from the community where the children live. Originally designed to teach preparedness and resiliency skills to children impacted by the 1997 Red River flood in Minnesota and North Dakota, the program has evolved to include teaching resiliency skills to children impacted by historical and collective trauma, including gun violence. This presentation will include a brief overview of the Camp Noah curriculum and lessons learned from serving children after the mass shootings in Red Lake and Newtown, as well as in Ferguson, Flint, and North Minneapolis.

About the Presenter:
Kim Dettmer has served in increasingly responsible positions at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN) since 2005. She is currently the Senior Director for state-wide Disaster Services and the national Camp Noah program.  Prior to this, Ms. Dettmer was the Director of Refugee Services at LSSMN and served in various management roles at local non-profits dedicated to providing services to refugees living in Minnesota. She also served as a constituent liaison for two U.S. Senators. Ms. Dettmer spent two years working internationally for the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ms. Dettmer holds a Master’s degree from Arizona State University and received a Mini-MBA in Non-Profit Management from the University of St. Thomas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2:30-3:45pm

Black and Blue: Why Context Matters in Race and Law Enforcement

Jason Sole                          Paul Schnell

Jason Sole, ABD, President and CEO, Minneapolis NAACP

Paul Schnell, MA, Instructor, University of Saint Thomas, St. Catherine’s University, and Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, MN

Jason Sole, consultant and educator, and Paul Schnell, former police chief, will take participants on a trip back through their very different lives. One of the presenters grew up in economically deprived neighborhoods in Chicago, became a gang member, committed crimes, and was jailed. The other grew up in a non-diverse community in rural Wisconsin and went on to become a police officer and teacher. The intersection of their lives allowed them to recognize, respect and value both their similarities and their differences.

The session explores and provides a context for understanding the biases we all have, as well as, the unique filters through which we view the world. They will discuss the power of developing diverse relationships, engaging in difficult conversations, and the need to hear the pain, anger, and distrust that exists in large portions of the community–particularly those who interact with the criminal justice system. Exploring these issues is essential for the prevention of both gun violence in the African American community and police shootings.

About the Presenters:
Jason Sole is a visiting professor in criminal justice educator at Hamline University in St. Paul, a Bush Fellow, and President of the Minneapolis NAACP. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his PhD dissertation to complete his doctorate in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice. Having participated in gang violence and experienced incarceration in his early life, he is now a national keynote speaker and gang trainer, including serving as a national trainer for One Circle Foundation. Through his firm, Jason Sole Consulting LLC, he offers juvenile and criminal justice agencies the tools they need to influence people affected by delinquency, incarceration, poverty and other social ills.

Paul Schnell has more than 20 years of policing experience having worked in urban, suburban, and rural communities. He began his career in the Carver County Sheriff”s Office and the St. Paul Police Department, before serving as Chief of Police for the cities of Hastings and then Maplewood. Now he teaches courses in criminal justice ethics, restorative justice, victimology, and violence prevention at the University of Saint Thomas, St. Catherine’s University, and Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, and works in investigations for the MnSCU system. He is the former President of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention. In addition to his law enforcement experience and expertise, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is licensed in the State of Minnesota as a Social Worker.

MDH on Suicide Part I: National and State Suicide and Violence Data Trends

Melissa Heinen

Melissa Heinen, RN, MPH, CPH
Suicide Epidemiologist/Interim Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Project Director Injury & Violence Prevention Section, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provides surveillance of all violence deaths in Minnesota including, suicide, homicide, unintentional firearm and undetermined deaths. This session will provide trend data in Minnesota by race, gender, and age as it compares to national trends and will describe sub-populations with the greatest risk–including veterans, older adults, youth, and the LGBT community–as well as protective factors.

About the Presenter:
Melissa Heinen has over 15 years of injury and violence prevention and data analysis experience and is the Interim Project Director for the MN GLS grant, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) Epidemiologist. Melissa has a Registered Nurse degree and a Master’s Degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology. For the past four years, Melissa served as Minnesota’s suicide prevention coordinator. Melissa has demonstrated the capacity to work in close partnership with Minnesota’s Tribes, community health organizations, allied mental health providers, an array of state agencies and Minnesota’s military population. Melissa has also worked as the director of research and education at a regional poison center and a health statistician at the National Center of Health Statistics.

Wednesday, September 13, 4:00-5:15pm

MDH on Suicide Part II: Working Towards Zero Suicides for Youth and Adults

Melissa Dau                  Stephanie Downey

Melissa Dau, MS, Regional Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator,
Minnesota Department of Health, Mankato, MN

Stephanie Downey, BS
Regional Youth Suicide Prevention Planner
Injury and Violence Prevention Section for the Minnesota Department of Health

Minnesota’s suicide prevention efforts are based on the evidence that most suicides are preventable, involve mental illness, and recovery is possible. In this session, participants will learn how to prevent suicide deaths through evidence-based practices for different populations in Minnesota, including veterans, youth, older adults, working-age adults, and the LGBTQ community, along with being provided with local, state and national resources.

About the Presenters:
Melissa Dau is the Youth Suicide Prevention Regional Coordinator at the Office of Injury and Violence Prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health based out of Mankato, MN. Melissa has extensive experience in family/community education programs, program development (research/evaluation), active listening and crisis intervention. She is very passionate about suicide prevention and eliminating/reducing the stigma associated with mental illness through education and outreach. Melissa’s previous position was in Fargo, North Dakota where she was the coordinator for the North Dakota Suicide Follow-Up Program. Melissa has earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at North Dakota State University in Child Development & Family Science, and a Master’s Degree in Human Development & Family Science.

Stephanie Downey is the Regional Youth Suicide Prevention Planner at the Injury and Violence Prevention Section for the Minnesota Department of Health. Stephanie’s journey to her work in the field of suicide prevention grew from a passion to serve youth and families. Stephanie’s background and knowledge of youth mental health and substance abuse issues is rooted in a 20-year career at a residential treatment facility delivering assessment, mental health and dual diagnosis services. Stephanie spent 9 years coordinating suicide prevention education, awareness and advocacy to communities in the Beltrami County area. Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at Bemidji State University in Criminal Justice with minors in Chemical Dependency and Sociology.

The Human Toll of Gun Violence: Survivors Share Their Stories

Rachael Joseph, Director of Outreach and Communications
Protect Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Also, several other gun violence survivors will participate.

Gun violence claims over 33,000 American lives every year, and impacts millions. But what does the experience of losing someone you love to gun violence–or to being a victim yourself–feel like? Protect Minnesota Director of Outreach and Communications and gun violence survivor, Rachael Joseph, will moderate a panel discussion with survivors and victims of various types of gun violence. Survivors will discuss topics such as urban gun violence, gun suicide, mass shootings and the devastating long-term effects these events have on their lives and communities.

About the Presenters:
Rachael Joseph is the Director of Outreach and Communications at Protect Minnesota, the only independent, state-based gun violence prevention organization in Minnesota. She studied Animal Science and Genetics at the University of Minnesota and intended to work in veterinary medicine. The trajectory of Rachael’s life changed abruptly when her beloved aunt Shelley was murdered in the courthouse shooting at the Hennepin County Government Center on September 29th, 2003. Since then, Rachael has dedicated her life to raising awareness about gun violence and what can be done to prevent it. In addition to her work for Protect Minnesota, Rachael is a member of the Board of Directors at the Minnesota Alliance on Crime and an Advocacy Consultant at Women Against the Violence Epidemic (WAVE). Formerly, she served as the Minnesota Survivor Lead for the Everytown Survivor Network and Social Media Lead for Moms Demand Action.

Rachael will be joined by:

Sa’Lesha ‘Bunny’ Beeks, is the daughter of Birdell Beeks, an innocent grandmother shot and killed in her vehicle in North Minneapolis in May 2016. Sa’Lesha’s daughter was also in the car and survived. She has worked tirelessly to prevent gun violence ever since and recently joined the Board of Directors at Protect Minnesota

Rebecca Rhoda Fisher is a criminal defense attorney who practices in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Federal Court. Currently she is the President of the Warren E Burger Inn of Courts, Council Member and past Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association Criminal Law Section, and past President of the Minnesota Society of Criminal Justice. Rebecca has been an active advocate for gun violence prevention since her assistant, Chase Passauer, was murdered in her law office on April 7, 2016.

Rick Hendrickson survived the courthouse shooting at the Hennepin County Government Center on a September 29, 2003. He was shot in the neck at close range by a woman who purchased a gun at a gun show for $60 without a background check. He still practices law in Minnesota.

Angela Miller is an internationally known author, writer and speaker on grief, loss and trauma. In 2008, Angela’s son was shot and killed when he was two years old. She was also shot at and survived. Since then Angela has worked tirelessly to provide compassionate grief support to survivors and bereaved families worldwide. Angela recently joined the Board of Directors at the Minnesota Alliance on Crime.

Jed Schlegelmilch is a filmmaker who lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, with his wife and two children. Jed’s older brother, John, died by suicide from a gunshot wound on October 31st, 1992.

Diane Sellgren’s daughter, Angela Frankenberry, was able to purchase a gun despite being hospitalized four times during the last year of her life. On July 5, 2011, the anniversary of her father’s suicide by gun, Angela used that gun to end her life. Diane authored a bill to keep guns out of the hands of those suffering severe depression and mental illness, which did not make it out of committee. Formerly, Diane has been a Board member at Protect Minnesota, a volunteer Survivor Engagement Lead and Fellow with Everytown for Gun Safety, and has also volunteered with the Newtown Action Alliance and Brady Campaign.

Policing in Minnesota and in the 21st Century: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Promising?

Dr. James Densley, PhD, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN

Recent police shootings in the Twin Cities and across the nation have people wondering about police training. This presentation will walk participants through Minnesota’s unique system of peace officer training and education, explore the demands of 21st century policing, and assess the validity of the claim that there is a “War on Cops.” The myths and realities of police use of force will be examined in the context of discussion around the “weapons effect” in America. The presentation will examine what works, what doesn’t, and what’s promising in terms of policy and practice to improve police legitimacy and community relations, the effectiveness of de-escalation, and Crisis Intervention Training.

About the Presenter:
Dr. James Densley is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, part of the Minnesota State system, and a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts. Since earning his PhD in sociology from the University of Oxford in 2011, James has quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on gangs and youth violence and a prominent voice locally on issues of peace officer education and training. His work has attracted local, national, and international media attention, including work for CNN and Viceland. James is the author of the award-winning How Gangs Work (Palgave Macmillan, 2013) and co-author of Minnesota’s Criminal Justice System (Carolina academic Press, 2016). He has published more than 30 refereed articles and book chapters in leading social science outlets and has been an invited or plenary speaker on three continents.

Thursday, September 14

Regaining Traction on a Slippery Slope: The Next Step Program

Farji A.Shaheer, Mental Health Worker, Next Step Program Developer, and Violence Intervention Specialist, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN

Farji Shaheer is Program Developer at Next Step, a hospital-based violence intervention program at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis that connects youth and young adult victims of violent injury to resources and support. He will explain the long-term physical, psychological and social effects of gunshot wounds in the lives of survivors, and, with the help of a patient, describe the purpose, design and operation of the Next Step program. Subjects addressed will include motivational interviewing and narrative medicine, verbal de-escalation, resilience, staying positive, and self-care. He will also discuss the socio-economic dynamics of environments where the violence is almost engrained into the way of life, the on going devastation of PTSD, and the effects of trauma on communities plagued by violence.

About the Presenter:
Farji Shaheer has 15 years’ experience in Emergency Psychology at Hennepin County Medical Center in Acute Psychiatric Services, where he serves as Program Developer for the Next Step youth violence intervention program. He also has 30+ years of surviving in hostile urban environments, which has given him deep insights into roles that trauma and PTSD play in perpetuating the cycle of violence. He is a narrative medicine and motivational interview expert who specializes in working with youth and young adults 12-28 years old who are hospitalized because of gunshot wounds.

Sandy Hook Promise: Know the Signs

Tim Makris, Managing Director, Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown, CT

This presentation will show attendees why prevention is so important, and how to bring the no cost, research-based Know the Signs programs to help protect children from gun violence in homes, schools and communities. Sandy Hook Promise’s programs teach youth and adults how to recognize the signs and signals of a person in need of help before they can hurt themselves or others, and prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child.

About the Presenter:
Tim Makris, the father of a Sandy Hook Elementary fourth-grader who was not hurt in the shootings, is a co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise and serves as a Managing Director. Prior to launching Sandy Hook Promise in January, 2013, just a month after the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Tim worked in product development at several multi-national corporations. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Thursday, September 14, Th2:30-3:45pm

The Neurobiology of Trauma and Successful Interventions

Dr. Deb Semmelroth, DNP, MA, RN, PHN
Duluth, MN

Research has shown that trauma impacts our lives as well affecting all aspects of our being, physically and emotionally, which can lead to unhealthy responses. This presentation will serve to explore the neurobiology of trauma and how its effects on our brain impacts the aftermath of trauma. The layered effects of trauma impact the quality of our lives; body, mind, and spirit, therefore a discussion of adverse childhood experiences research will be explored. Participants will learn to differentiate between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma, be introduced to effective ways to intervene and connect with a person who has experienced trauma grief, and understand that grief from trauma may vary depending on the individual. Violence is all around us! How can we as professionals intentionally offer words and actions that provide empathy, presence, compassion, soothing, safety, and finally, healing and hope?

About the presenter:
Dr. Deb Semmelroth, DNP, MA, RN is a former Professor of Nursing at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. With more than 28 years of experience as a registered nurse, Dr. Semmelroth has taught mental health nursing to undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students. Dr. Semmelroth also worked at the Birch Tree Center, providing stabilization and a healing environment for those experiencing mental health crisis. Dr. Semmelroth co-facilitates a monthly grief support group for family/friends who have lost a loved one to suicide, facilitates of a monthly parent resource support group, serves as a speaker for suicide prevention and the bereaved, has served on the local NAMI board of directors, is a member of America Holistic Nurses Association, a member of the Social Work Association, and a recipient of the 2014 St. Mary’s Grief Support Center facilitator of the year award. Currently, Dr. Semmelroth is pursuing a clinical MSW.

The Shadow Epidemic: The Costs of Non-Fatal Gun Violence Injuries

Dr. Charles Gessert            Dr. Caleb Schultz


Dr. Charles E. Gessert, MD, MPH, Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus
Essentia Institute of Rural Health, Duluth, MN

Dr. Caleb Schultz, MD, MPH, Anesthesiologist,
Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

US fatalities from gun violence (over 33,000 annually) are tracked closely by organizations concerned with public health and safety.  Non-fatal gun injuries are not cited as frequently, but constitute a “shadow epidemic” with over 73,000 individual survivors of gun violence injuries each year. The costs of this shadow epidemic are enormous, and include direct medical care, loss of employment, and emotional and financial costs to individuals and families, both at the time of injury and for years thereafter. The consequences of this shadow epidemic are illustrated by the experiences of “Troy,” a 36-year-old Marine who shot himself on Super Bowl Sunday in 2017 and survived to face multiple surgeries, prolonged hospitalizations, and a long, slow, uncertain recovery. By sharing Troy’s story and the stories of other gun injury patients, Drs. Gessert and Schultz will underscore the need to address the societal burden of caring for the survivors of non-fatal gun injuries.

About the Presenters:
Dr. Charles Gessert, MD, MPH, has been a member of the Protect Minnesota Board of Directors since 2015.  Dr. Gessert previously served as a Senior Research Scientist in the Essentia Institute of Rural Health in Duluth, MN from 2000 until his retirement in 2013. His research interests included a wide range of clinical and public health issues: end-of-life decision-making, with a special interest in rural-urban differences in end-of-life care preferences; the use of feeding tubes in advanced dementia; and improving our understanding of the normal lifespan. He is currently active in teaching, local community and political action, and advocacy for health care reform. An advocate of safer gun ownership, Gessert also serves on the Board of Directors of Protect Minnesota.

Dr. Caleb Schultz, MD, MPH, received his Bachelor of Science from Duke University, M.D. and M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota, and completed residency in Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  He serves on the Edina Community Health Commission, Minnesota Medical Association Policy Council, the Twin Cities Medical Society Board of Directors, and the Minnesota Public Health Association Policy and Advocacy Committee.  Dr. Schultz practices Anesthesiology at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

America the Hostile: Gun Violence as an Indicator of a Society that is Toxic

Dr. Chris Johnson, MD, Emergency Physician, Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN

This presentation will describe the pattern of gun violence that has characterized the United States over the past 30 years, assessing who the victims of gun violence are, how that violence is perpetrated and by whom, and identifying distinct patterns of “toxic” social dynamics that lead to other social ills in the United States such as teen pregnancy, high levels of incarceration and increased abuse of intoxicants. These lessons will be applied to find ways to improve our social relationships that would benefit everyone by reducing both the propensity to violence and other serious social problems.

About the Presenter:
Dr. Chris Johnson is an emergency physician currently working with the Allina Health Urgent Care System who serves on the Minnesota Medical Association’s Board of Trustees and the Dept. of Human Services Health Services Advisory Council. He is also an active member of the Twin Cities Medical Society and the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In his 15 years as a practicing emergency physician, Dr. Chris Johnson has seen the front lines of the opiate and gun violence epidemics and understands the commonalities that drive both. A passionate advocate for healthcare reform, he has lectured on the topic of opioid abuse around Minnesota and in Wisconsin to audiences that have included medical providers, legal task forces, philanthropic organizations and political leaders. Dr. Johnson was a keynote speaker at the August 2015 Pain Pill Problem Summit hosted by Governor Dayton at the University of Minnesota and chairs the Minnesota Department of Human Services Opioid Prescribing Work Group. He has been published locally on the topic of gun violence and locally and nationally on the opioid epidemic.

Thursday, September 14, 4:00-5:15pm

Rates of Permit to Carry Applications and Denials

Jeffrey Gigler                      Jeff Mathwig

Jeff Gigler, Director of Research and Operations, Protect Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Jeff Mathwig, Research Manager, The Center for Homicide Research, Minneapolis, MN

This presentation will feature two different analyses related to permit to carry   firearms applications.

Permit to Carry Denials in Minnesota: 2006-2016

Jeff Gigler will present Protect Minnesota’s analysis of ten years of data from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension detailing rates of permit to carry firearms application denials in Minnesota by county and zip code. In addition to learning where, why, and how frequently permit to carry applications have been denied over the past ten years, participants will be introduced to the concept of “data mining,” a research technique that enables non-academics to analyze public information related to firearms and gun violence.

Examining LGBT+ Concealed Carry Rates: How High Impact Low Frequency Events Affect Gun Ownership and Concealed Carry Permit Usage

Jeff Mathwig will share a recent study by the Center for Homicide Research of how high impact, low frequency events such as mass shootings impact the rate of concealed carry usage when specific groups have been targeted. The mass shooting that targeted gays and lesbians at Pulse Nightclub was the focus of this research study, but its findings have broad applications.

About the Presenters:
Jeffrey Gigler is a former Naval officer and intelligence expert with 30 years’ experience in research and analysis in both government and business spheres. He also specializes in strategic planning, market development, and business operations. In his role as Director of Research and Operations for Protect Minnesota, he leads a team of volunteer researchers in analyzing data related to firearms and gun violence.

Jeffrey Mathwig began at the Center for Homicide Research in June 2016 working on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s research project focusing on homicide and its relationship to food scarcity and hunger. Mathwig’s education includes a bachelor of science degree in both geography and geographic information science (GIS) from Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). He specializes in crime-mapping technology using ESRI-ArcMap and QGIS software. As project manager, Mathwig successfully oversaw the Center’s most recent project: LGBT+ Concealed Carry Rates Before and After the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. The paper is available on the Center’s website. Mathwig’s research interests include gun violence prevention, active shooters, and public safety policy.

Culture As Weapon/Weapon Is Culture

John Schuerman                    Nikki McComb

John Schuerman, Curator and Artist, Instinct Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Nikki McComb, Creative Community Coordinator, Pillsbury United Communities, Minneapolis, MN

This presentation will explore the role that artistic expression can play in raising awareness about the issue of gun violence. The conversation will start among a small group of Minnesota artists who create gun violence-related work.  The artists will each present their artwork via projected images and/or video and talk about what they are investigating as artists through this work. Then questions will be posed for the artists and audience to respond to. Participants will gain new perspectives on the effects of gun violence. The artists will encourage audiences to use their imaginations as they try to make sense of stories and statistics about gun violence, and through imagination, make it more real (paradoxically). Participants will also experience a different kind of inquiry into the problems of gun violence, that of the artist. Artists will share their thinking and investigations.

About the Presenters:
John Schuerman is an independent curator and a self-taught artist and until 2017 was the Gallery Director for Instinct Art Gallery in Minneapolis. Instinct was awarded Best New Gallery by the Star Tribune in 2015, and was a contemporary gallery with an emphasis on art that honors the natural world. Schuerman’s deep interest in nature and human nature are reflected in both his art, and his curatorial work, primarily group exhibitions focused on sociological themes. His aesthetic style and social consciousness formed as he grew up on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin, coming of age during the cultural revolution of the late 60’s and early 70’s. His provocative exhibits engage viewers on today’s most pressing issues: Empathy, Human Overpopulation, Money, Time, Gender Perspectives, Identity, Environmentalism, and Politics. Nearly every exhibit has been covered by the press in one form or another, and several of the exhibitions have traveled elsewhere in the region after their initial run locally. From October 6-20 he is curating an exhibit on gun violence called “Culture As Weapon” at the Space 369 in the Dow Building, featuring the work of seven area artists. For more information go to [email protected]

Nikki McComb’s public safety campaign titled #ENOUGH uses art as a catalyst for change and social disruption. Taking on the trenchant problem of illegal firearms, McComb uses photographs and video to reach people from the street level to the legislative arena and to help provide communities an outlet where they feel safe enough to seek help, empowered enough to give help, provoked enough to work harder to unify, and unified enough to make change collectively through art. For seventeen years, McComb has applied her artistic interests and skills to working relentlessly in North Minneapolis and surrounding communities in youth and family achievement. In addition to being an art educator, she has organized exhibitions, including Art Is My Weapon, a program whereby local artists select decommissioned guns to then create new work for display. McComb is The Creative Community Coordinator at Pillsbury United Communities. She is also a 2017 recipient of The Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, a 2016 recipient of a Micro Grant for photography and a 2014 and 2015 recipient of several community leadership awards.

The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota

Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Gun violence in Minnesota exacts a high physical, emotional, and financial toll on our family, friends, and neighbors. We often hear about the heartbreak and physical pain these shootings cause, but there is another aspect of the gun violence epidemic that doesn’t receive as much attention: the overwhelming financial cost.

About the Presenter:
Robin Lloyd is the Director of Government Affairs at Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly. Prior to joining ARS, Robin served as the Director of Federal Affairs for the City of New York under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Previously, Robin served as a legislative aide to Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX). Robin is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Robin may be joined by members of the ARS Coalition for Common Sense in Minnesota.



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