Hennepin County Library says event excluding ‘white-bodied’ people was ‘incorrect’

The event description previously told "white-bodied" people not to register.

The Hennepin County East Lake Library in Minneapolis. (Google)

The Hennepin County Library says that an event posting advertising a Nordic spoon carving class for people of color only was “incorrect.”

“The woodcarving event description from Fireweed Community Woodshop was incorrect. We have contacted our programming partners and they have updated the listing to remove the exclusionary language,” Daniel Rogan, the assistant county administrator, told Alpha News.

The event’s description previously stated that “this class is intended for folks identifying as people of color.” The website went on to tell people not to register for the event if they are a “white-bodied person.”

The exclusionary language has now been removed, but the event is still called “BIPOC Spoon Carving.”

The event, taking place at Hennepin County East Lake Library on March 11, will teach participants traditional Nordic carving techniques to make spoons.

“Hennepin County Library buildings, programs, and services are for every resident — all ages, identities, cultures, and interests. Anyone is welcome to participate in this woodworking class and any future library program,” Rogan said.

“Excluding participants in a library program based on skin color would be wrong and a violation of contract,” he added.

Rogan provided Alpha News with a portion of Hennepin County’s standard programming contract, which states, “In accordance with County’s policies against discrimination, Contractor shall not exclude any person from full employment rights nor prohibit participation in or the benefits of any program, service or activity on the grounds of any protected status or class, including but not limited to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender expression, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or public assistance status. No person who is protected by applicable law against discrimination shall be subjected to discrimination.”

Another event listed on the Fireweed Community Woodshop website that’s being sponsored by the Hennepin County Library excludes participants on the basis of sex.

“All community members who identify as women or non-binary are welcome,” the event description says. “This class is sponsored by Hennepin County Library and is available as a free class for BIPOC students!”

The organizers of the event, Fireweed Community Woodshop, say their mission “is to empower women and non-binary folks through the art of woodcraft.”

Fireweed Community Woodshop regularly hosts wood carving events and one course offers three free spots to those in the BIPOC community, saying they believe in “wealth redistribution while our nation has still not offered proper reparations to marginalized communities.”

Another woodworking course offered by Fireweed, the “Power Tools 101” course, which says that it’s “for women and marginalized genders who feel comfortable with a femme approach to woodworking,” offers “micro-reparations pricing for BIPOC students wishing to pay only the consumables and materials fee of $26.”


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.