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The View from Gen Z: MN Perspectives in a Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic is motivating young women across Minnesota to accept unfamiliar responsibilities and step into new leadership positions in response to these unprecedented times.

The Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet of MN (YWI MN) is taking the voices and leadership of its members to the ‘virtual’ streets with a mission to engage, inform and gather perspectives from young women across the state.

What is YWI MN?

The Young Women’s Cabinet is comprised of 31 youth leaders (ages 16-24) from eight communities across Minnesota (African, African American, Indigenous, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latina, Greater MN, Young women living with disabilities, LGBTQ). The YWI initiative was launched by the Women’s Foundation of MN and the Governor’s Office in 2016, and YWCA St. Paul hosts the Cabinet and provides leadership development and advocacy training for Cabinet members. YWI MN is a multi-year investment that mobilizes the leadership skills of young women of color – identifying solutions to create a Minnesota where every young woman can thrive.

The initiative is grounded in research from the YWI Blueprint for Action frameworks of education and lifelong learning; health and wellness; safety and violence prevention; financial stability and prosperity. Coming from all corners of the state, YWI Cabinet leaders are engaged in a collective act of solidarity to ensure that all communities are cared for during and beyond COVID-19.  Projects they are working on include:

  • COVID-19 resource guide specifically designed to support young women and girls across Minnesota.
  • Statewide survey to capture the experiences and impact of COVID-19 on young women, trans, non-conforming and non-binary youth across the state
  • Virtual interviews with young people to develop op-eds designed to share with the public the intersectional impacts this has on communities.

Over the next several months, teens across the state will author these blog posts, sharing hopes and fears, while highlighting ways they and their peers are making a difference in their communities. YWI wants to ensure that all voices are heard and that resources will be allocated intentionally.

What do you think? We want to hear from our readers and have this question for you: How have you seen your community come together during this stressful time? Let us know on Facebook!

To stay engaged follow the #ywimn on all social media platforms.