Hidden Figures – Find them in Dakota County

hidden-figures-1They will be hard to see, the ones you pass as they make a meal from weekend food samples at Dakota County grocery stores. When you stop to fill the tank, you may not notice the one paying $9 for a shower at McStop on 35w and County Road 70 in Lakeville. She uses the car for more than transportation. You may not realize the backpack a young one carries as you pass by him at Town Centre, the outlets in Eagan or Burnsville Mall is not holding his homework rather his home.

The remarkable new film Hidden Figures, a film which every youth and adult would be lucky to see, tells the story of how, using the mathematical calculations of 3 African American women, NASA supported John Glenn in the space race to become the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. In how to plan Glenn’s trip, the women were asked not only to look at the numbers but look around them. What creative solution could advance the cause?

A coalition of churches in Dakota County (Dakota County Adult Shelter on Facebook) is asking you not only to look at the numbers but look around them too. In less than a month, more than 60 people have walked through the shelter’s doors. The group has established the same persistence those women had to advance their mission, a stable site to shelter Dakota County’s homeless men, women and youth age 18+. We don’t know what city will lead in saying yes, as a shelter for this group has never been opened in the county. It will be a first. As President Kennedy said at the time, “The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.” You are invited to learn what’s hidden in your community at www.homelessindakotacounty.com or by attending a community forum Jan. 30 at Shepherd of the Valley in Eagan, 7-8:30pm.

Yesterday, when the temperature was -9, some found safety and warmth in a simple mat on the floor at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan. When Pastors Kristen Capel and Brandon Newton said yes to a temporary crisis shelter and members Rhonda Bennett Doran, Laura Backman, Jill Blair, John DeSutter and the congregation embraced the shelter day after day, they exemplified Kennedy’s words that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. Some did not make it to shelter last night or will face new challenges when the shelter closes Friday due to a lack of stable home and funding. www.gofundme.com/dakcountyshelter. But you won’t see the frostbite of their hidden fingers when you pass by them.

What those 3 brilliant, black women accomplished was very difficult. Not even Kennedy knew of their feat when he stated, “We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone.”

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2 thoughts on “Hidden Figures – Find them in Dakota County

  1. Hi Monica,

    Myself and a fair number of people from our parish attended the January 30th event and placed our names on a contact list, as we are very motivated to get involved! No one has heard any updates recently, and so I wanted to reach out to find out if there has been any progress made with finding a permanent location, and/or if the “moving shelter” will be functioning again?

    If there is anything at all you could pass on to me, that would be great. We really do want to get involved, and I would suspect some might even be willing to get involved with some of the meeting/planning stages of all this if asked.

    Thanks so much!

    Scott Brazil – Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation & Social Justice
    Church of the Risen Savior
    1501 E. County Road 42
    Burnsville, MN 55306

    Parish Phone: 952.431.5222
    Direct Line: 952.698.1724
    Fax: 952.431.5221
    Website: http://www.risensavior.org


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