Jo Ann Vertetis, St. Paul, MN

Jo Ann Vertetis, St. Paul, MN

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Jo Ann Vertetis, St. Paul, MN

Jo Ann Vertetis is a white working-class woman of mixed cultural heritage – Polish, Hungarian, German, and Irish, to name a few. Being born on the hottest day in 10 years at a hospital with no air conditioning on the summer solstice of 1953 might explain her preference for warm weather. She grew up in Hudson Valley with her parents, five sisters and one bother. A social justice advocate since high school, where she and her friends circulated and carried racial equity petitions to their school board concerning busing for all; she learned early on how freedom of speech paired with timely accurate press coverage are powerful assets in not only achieving equity and fighting racism but essential components of a healthy democracy. She has a BA in History from the Minnesota State University, Mankato and is certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language K-12. She has certifications in both Yoga and Oriental Bodywork. She has served on numerous boards and committees for both non-profits and community-based organizations in New York, Maryland, Arizona, and Minnesota.

Jo Ann has two grown children. She has spent a lot of time learning the laws governing young people and folks with disabilities. She used this knowledge to advocate for her children and their friends in school and in court. During this time, she has also enjoyed writing grants and raising money for arts and community organizations. Her favorite remains an aerial dance company that did a workshop which helped young people build confidence through trapeze arts.

Currently, she is both the president of the MAC (Membership Advisory Committee) and a board member at the Aliveness Project in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A lifelong learner, she is now studying herbs for use as healthy food and medicine as well as treatment of pain through movement and manipulation. She develops practical plans to address long and short-term health issues; for once, she co-owned and managed a medical family practice.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to folk music, and container gardening on her balcony. Her favorite quote is “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” John Lewis