Mayor Hodges began her commitment to racial equity work in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King verdict. She realized then that racism is inherently a white people problem. This commitment has been at the core of her work ever since. She now consults with mayors and public entities to make their racial equity work effective, especially in strategizing how to navigate white resistance to meaningful systems change. The years she was the mayor of Minneapolis from 2014-2018 was a time of significant racial reckoning in Minneapolis and the country—a reckoning that came to a notorious head after her departure. Her perspective and voice on race are particularly timely.
“As she continues her work going forward, her readiness to challenge white progressives to think in new ways about our racialized reality is especially courageous and important for a country still struggling to confront systemic racism, and I know that her influence and contributions will continue to grow.”
United States Secretary of Transportation | Former Mayor, South Bend
“Betsy Hodges is one of the foremost voices for equity and justice in the United States. Whether the cause is protecting the climate, advocating for Black men and boys, or advancing justice for all, she is a fearless champion for people. We are all fortunate to count Betsy as a co-laborer in the vineyard.”
former Mayor of Gary, IN & current President & CEO of the Chicago Urban League
“Mayor Hodges speaks with extraordinary wisdom, candor and clarity about race, racism, privilege and our contributions to continuing structures that systematically oppress. We may not always want to hear it. It may make us uncomfortable. But I know how much I learn, and how much she compels self-reflection, every time I hear her speak or read her words. She makes me want to do better, to be better.”
Managing Partner, Emerson Collective. #ChicagoCRED. Author of How Schools Work
“Betsy is a dynamic communicator. She is direct but always graciously, which makes her all the more engaging. Most of all, as I’ve seen from sharing time in a classroom with her, she is as willing to learn as she is eager to teach.”
Strategic communications consultant; Board of Directors for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence advocacy organization.
“I had the honor of working with Betsy during her Harvard fellowship, where she mentored undergraduates and led a weekly seminar open to the public. Betsy has the amazing ability to discuss complex issues around policy, race, and political strategy with a wide range of audiences, and ensure that each participant feels connected to and excited about the topic at hand. Moreover, as a personal mentor, her enthusiasm, empathy, and wisdom have allowed me and many others to develop the tools needed to thrive in public service and many other fields.”
“Mayor Hodges is that rare combination of visionary and pragmatist. She thinks big on how to make things better, but she also knows which nuts, bolts, levers, and wheels need to be assembled and activated to make true change happen. She is one of America’s great thinkers and doers on the subject of cities, mayors, and equity.”
Victor W. Hwang
Founder & CEO, Right to Start
“Working with Betsy you get someone that has achieved great things, but you also get someone who has survived great difficulty. She brings her hard-earned wisdom to bear in all her endeavors and her collaborators benefit from this breadth of experience. I routinely rely on Betsy’s guidance and judgement, never once has it led me astray.”
Evan Absher Esq.
Senior Program Officer, Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
“Betsy Hodges shows us that there is deep power in vulnerability. She has a profound ability to call you into your most fundamental and best self, offering accountability from a place of unconditional humanity. Witty, insightful, and most important: relentlessly caring — Betsy invites us to grapple with the hardest parts of ourselves and our society — reminding us that by doing so, we are able to tap into the most beautiful potential of human, and personal, restoration.”
Founder & Executive Director, Lead for Minnesota
“I’ve known Betsy Hodges as an activist, elected official, author and public speaker. What has remained constant is her deep integrity, remarkable intellect, and wry humor. We need her passion to confront and unwind whiteness, and her compassion for people who want to realize racial equity, in our country’s conversation about race.”
Community organizer, founder of TakeAction Minnesota, national social justice consultant
““Betsy Hodges is undertaking a task of enormous importance and difficulty that is also invisible to almost anyone with privilege: encouraging white people to engage with their whiteness, and loving them through that process. She does this with grace, humor and patience; her work fills me with joy and hope.”
Ana Marie Cox
Writer and host of the podcast “With Friends Like These”
“With far-reaching facilities in anti-racism strategy, Betsy Hodges’ raison d’être is to enroll fellow white people in the project of dismantling white supremacy. She understands that because white supremacy is constructed and upheld through interlocking systems of oppression, it therefore must be challenged in broad, strategic, and multisectoral ways. Betsy’s experiences as a mayor, consultant, and writer uniquely position her as a visionary in the world of anti-racist advocacy, governance, and policy formation.”