Minnesota has recently gained national attention as the epicenter of peaceful protest and civil unrest surrounding police brutality being perpetrated against the black community. Minnesota’s young people are also at the center of a youth-led struggle for equity in pandemic support. Over the past two months, several high school youth have enacted a broad-based campaign to overturn a state law that prevents the State of Minnesota from providing unemployment benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance to an estimated 25,000+ otherwise eligible youth enrolled in high school.
These issues have sparked significant engagement and passion among youth, especially youth from low-income families and communities of color, and with the upcoming election, this heightened awareness and desire to engage in civic action offers an unparalleled opportunity to substantially grow the civic knowledge and capacities of Minnesota young people. To that end, Minnesota-based Youthprise will partner with Bridgemakers (a newly-formed, youth-led grassroots organization based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities) to implement a two-pronged project that seeks to (1) involve youth statewide in developing and promoting a youth policy agenda to the current pool of candidates currently running for national, state, and local office during and (2) enable Minnesota’s high school students to (a) receive unemployment benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance in 2020 and (b) become eligible to receive state unemployment insurance in the future. This statewide project will be led by young people who will be engaged at every level, from serving as project director, to ambassadors and volunteers, with adults serving as mentors.
The Minneapolis, MN Team