The YASI Interns of LCEC took a Delegation trip to Minneapolis where they had the full Minnesota experience! They began the trip with a tour of UW-La Crosse where they checked out the campus and hung out in the dorms. The teens said this was one of the best campus tours they’ve ever had! 

Once in Minneapolis, they toured the University of Minnesota campus. Although they didn’t get to see all of the buildings they wanted to, everyone agrees that it is a gorgeous campus.

The Real Minneapolis (TRM) is a nonprofit on a mission to cultivate hope, health, and healing in the Twin Cities area. Priority projects are determined by thoughtfully listening to members of their community and taking swift and dependable action. The interns met with Valerie Quintana, two youth interns on staff, Ella and Jada, and a volunteer named Bernadette. They learned about how The Real Minneapolis came to be and about the work they do in Minneapolis, and also briefly met with Myon Burrell, who shared his story of injustice. Afterwards, TRM took YASI Interns and YASI Staff to two houseless encampments to give out food, water, and hygiene care items (underwear, socks, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste). This is something TRM does multiple times per week. The encampments were something YASI Interns have never seen in Madison. It has given YASI Interns a new perspective and appreciation for the small things they may take for granted. Afterwards, everyone ate at the Midtown Global Market – a beautiful space that supports small businesses, cultural diversity and free/low-cost programming for the community. This is where TRM and YASI groups really connected and became more informal with one another–even talking about TRM visiting us here in Madison!

The following day, the Interns visited George Floyd Square. This was an incredibly impactful and somber moment for the teens. There were many plants and artwork around the square. They noticed that there were other names among George Floyd, notably Daunte Wright. Because of the beautiful Lussier shirts, a woman took notice and approached the group. She introduced herself as George Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson! Here she is with the group, pictured in the center (link to photo). This was quite a surprise for everybody! She thanked YASI for coming to visit and for keeping George Floyd’s name and spirit alive.

In addition to those moments, The YASI Interns got to visit Minnehaha Falls and the Mall of America. During their time at the mall, the YASI Interns and staff experienced something that is increasingly becoming all too familiar: the potential for a mass shooting. There was an isolated incident in the mall that day, which resulted in many of the patrons fearing the worst and fleeing the premises. The interns and staff showed quick thinking, resilience, and bravery by remaining calm and staying together. The outstanding, dedicated staff were quick to jump into action and remove everyone on the trip from any potential danger. This incident has prompted LCEC to examine our own policies and continue to work towards a safe and healthy community.

Some quotes from the YASI teens about their trip:

  • “Tomorrow isn’t promised. You never know what’s gonna happen.”
  • “The delegation trip is a great bonding experience.”
  • “Uno nunca sabe.” (translation: “One never knows.”)
  • “I noticed that only People of Color were at the houseless camps.”
  • “We have to appreciate all that we have. Food, homes, clothes, bathing. I think we have to appreciate all of that.”
  • “We’re all so much closer.”
  • “Meeting Myon and George Floyd’s Aunt were unforgettable experiences.”