By Bill Hudson

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the time of year when teachers from across the state of Minnesota descend on St. Paul for the annual MEA conference.

While it means a fall vacation for many young families, one former educator is using it to draw attention to issues surrounding race.

Audrey Clausen left her job in the South Washington school district in 2013 to devote full time to her passion. She developed a simple board game with the goal of getting people of all ages to talk about race equality.

“Instead of me becoming upset over it, I became proactive instead of reactive,” she said.

Clausen is cutting a path towards racial progress in what many would consider an unusual way. Her board game is called, S.C.O.R.E. — Start A Conversation On Race Equality.

“The object of the game is to get to the center of the board,” Clausen said, by moving game pieces around the board. Each of the game’s 240 question cards has a number of moves on the flip side.

The idea is to have players answer blunt questions about race and cultures, where nothing is off limits and there is no right or wrong answer.

“That’s what’s needed in society,” Clausen said. “Instead of sweeping it under the rug, we need to get it out there and talk about this.”

The idea is to start a serious dialogue in a fun and engaging way. The game is designed for players ages 5 to 95.

When she came across the display at the MEA exhibit hall, Edina Middle School educator Tami Jo Cook realized it was just what she’s been looking for.

“[Students] are already thinking about it and asking questions,” Cook said, “so if we get them talking about it, working together to talk and solve problems, I think that’s the best thing to do.”

One game certainly won’t stop the tensions playing out on the nation’s streets, but Clausen believes her goal of getting everyone into the discussion is one way to start.

“Kids aren’t afraid to have the conversation either,” she said. “It’s the best place to start.”

Besides the MEA convention, the games are available both online and through Amazon.

You can find more information at www.racismisbullying.com

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