Shawnu grew up in Ashland, a small northern Wisconsin town between two reservations. Shawnu’s mom was a single mother until she was ten years old when her mother married her Indigenous stepfather. She grew up in generational poverty, and because half of her family is Indigenous, they experienced racism throughout their lives. There isn’t a single issue that Shawnu has worked on during her time at TakeAction MN that hasn’t touched her family in some way.
Shawnu went to TakeAction Minnesota from the YWCA of Duluth in 2015. During her time at TakeAction MN, she helped develop a ten-organization coalition and chaired a winning municipal campaign for an earned sick & safe time policy in Duluth. Shawnu is currently the president of the YWCA of Duluth Board of Directors and the President of the Police & Fire Commission for the City of Superior, WI. Prior to TakeAction, she spent nearly seven years as a Human Resource Director in long-term care and in a non-profit. Shawnu holds a B.S. in Speech Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Shawnu is also an alum of VoteRunLead, and is dedicated to making sure women run for office and win.
A friend of Shawnu’s once said about community organizing, “This work is not optional.” Nothing has ever resonated so much with her. This work is not optional, Shawnu’s family will not survive in the world as it currently is. Systems have failed them time and time again.
All of the things that Shawnu has done and continues to do to lead her to this point, she has done while trying to dismantle the systems that have broken her and her loved ones. Through this work she has found her own liberation. She also knows that there is enough for us all to thrive, and she has a deeper understanding of how to change who benefits and who decides and she works hard every day to take back our democracy. Growing up in WI Shawnu has seen the political landscape shift, and she truly believes it isn’t because people don’t share the same values as she does but instead because they’ve felt ignored and left behind by decision-makers.
Need to talk with us?