During my senior year at Macalester College, I was appointed to the Young Women’s Initiative Young Women’s Cabinet in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Established in 2016, the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota (YWI MN) is a public-private partnership between State of Minnesota and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN). The goal of YWI MN is to bring together nonprofits, businesses, and government, philanthropies, and young women to create a plan to build equity in outcomes for young women in the state of Minnesota. This multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment intends to achieve equity in opportunities and to improve the lives of Minnesotan woman, focusing especially on young women of color, American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ youth, and young women with disabilities. It is the first statewide initiative of its kind in the United States.
The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota seeks to achieve these goals by focusing on improving the lives of young women between the ages of 12 and 24 across eight different demographic groups. The first phase of the program, which began in November 2016, engaged three core committees in the development of an Action Plan – spearheaded by the inaugural Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet of which I was a part – to create opportunities for young women in Minnesota to achieve equity in outcomes. Make sure you read our YWI MN Blueprint for Action, which was released in November 2017.
I joined the YWI MN Young Women’s Cabinet because I am committed to doing everything I can to expand opportunity for all Minnesotans and especially women and LGBTQ+ youth who continue to face discrimination, struggle to access basic resources like food and shelter, and strive to flourish despite limited access to personal and professional enrichment opportunities. YWI MN has given me the opportunity to join an organization whose mission – to create a Minnesota where every girl* has the opportunity to thrive and is the champion of her own life – aligns with my values of equity, compassion, and justice.
We all do better when we all do better. By focusing on improving equity and opportunity for young women in Minnesota, we at YWI aim to build a Minnesota in which all have equal opportunity to succeed.