The events of Memorial Day, May 25, 2020 — the death of George Floyd, captured on video, created a nationwide protest. It was a grisly harbinger of the ever-present specter of racism, but also a powerful call for pressing change not just in Minnesota but across the country and around the world. 

If you were talking about equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) just three years earlier at a North American destination marketing organization (DMO), you were most likely in the marketing department and you were most likely explaining to your peers and superiors the necessity of using inclusive images in communications.

Don't believe it? Ask around. Ask the marketing directors how we approached EDI in 2017. 

I was personally reminded of that by a peer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I must say, in some sense … we've come a long way. However, the road to inclusivity in all destinations, and in all walks of life, is a long one. My guest in this episode of the Future of Tourism podcast is no stranger to this immense challenge and has developed skills we can all learn from. 

Ka Vang is an American playwright, writer, and artist born in Laos at the end of the Vietnam War. She moved to the United States in the 1980s and spent her formative years in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota Vang was nominated for the Midwest Book Award in 2012 and was the country's first Hmong-American news journalist working for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Chicago Tribune. In 2023, she was given two recognitions by the Twin Cities Business Magazine: “Notable 100 Leaders” and “Notable BIPOC Leader.” 

As of 2020, Vang is also the first-ever Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Meet Minneapolis. 

Join our discussion about how to build an inclusive destination amid unrest and inequity. How do you build trust and create opportunities for a better future? What role does tourism play and where do you start? 

With that question, we turn to Ka Vang.

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