Category Archives: Community

Nikki Niles

Eliminating Disparities in
Community Services
By Terri Allred

When Nikki Niles moved to Rochester eight years ago, she immediately felt like she was moving home. It reminded her of East Lansing, Michigan, her previous home. “Rochester has a small-town feel without being a small town,” Niles shares.

Just like East Lansing, Niles appreciates the opportunities for families and the focus on increasing diversity in Rochester. Really, the only problem with Rochester is that Michigan State isn’t here. As a die-hard fan and alumna, she looks forward to being able to travel back for games. Continue reading

Korean Culture Camp

A Do-it-yourself Experience
by Amy Krause  |  photography by A. Krause Studio

Growing up in the Midwest as a Korean adoptee in a transracial family, it was always important for me to experience opportunities where I could learn more about my Korean heritage. One of these opportunities was a summer camp in Minneapolis that was dedicated to celebrating Korean culture. Korean adoptees and their families came from all over the United States to experience this magical week filled with traditional Korean dance lessons, taekwondo demonstrations, music class, language lessons, delicious food and more. Continue reading

Local Elections 2020

Women in Office, Part 2: General Election Candidates
By Brittney Marschall

Women have tackled milestones in politics, from the first women’s rights convention in 1848 to Minnie Buckingham Harper, the first Black woman in the state legislature in 1928 to Nancy Pelosi, who in 2007 became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. And now the Democratic nominee for vice president is Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian American woman to be in the race. Continue reading

Women in Farming

A Growing Profession
By Trish Amundson

Area women are part of an expanding demographic in agriculture, proving it’s possible to succeed in a male-dominated field when you have hard-working stamina and a can-do attitude.

The U.S. has more female producers than ever, accounting for approximately 36% of all producers in the nation. Women are becoming more active and better recognized for their contributions in agriculture throughout the country. Here, four Southeastern Minnesota women share information about their unique journeys. Together, they play an integral role in changing the culture of farming for generations to come.   Continue reading

Nashauna Lenoir

A ‘Journie’ to empower at-risk kids
By Emily Watkins Photography by

Nashauna Lenoir has an impressive resume, from hosting her own radio show to acting, writing, teaching, singing and dancing. She is also a hairdresser.  Whatever she does, she goes all-in, and one of her strongest skills is organizing. She organized a Juneteenth event this year, bringing in food, a DJ and dance performances, all despite the limitations that the pandemic presented.

But Lenoir’s true love is working with teenagers. She says, “I grew up as a troubled kid in foster care. I was given opportunities that changed my life, and I’m just paying it forward.” Continue reading

In search of Rochester’s Racial Roots

A walk through a complex history
By Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara

In 2016, the summer Philando Castile was killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, I had been in Rochester barely a year. I often think back to that summer as we live through this unsettling pandemic and the labor pains of reckoning and nascent revolution. Racism has deep and intractable roots coursing through the American story. It is all too familiar, even as some deny it. History is full of the silence of this denial. And it is the silences I am often listening for. Today, cities across the country and the world are reflecting on their own racial pasts with fiery debates about monuments and public spaces. And so I went in search of Rochester’s racial roots, wondering what we might pull up when we dig our hands deep into the city beneath our feet. Continue reading

National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 – October 15, 2020
Looking backward and forward, but with stronger racial intelligence
By Grace Menchaca

Cultural recognition days, weeks and months are like doors. Visitors are welcome to turn the knob and enter a culture of food, dance, history and tradition. But when we leave, what do we take with us? That is a question to ask ourselves as National Hispanic Heritage Month comes during a time of unrest. Continue reading

A is for Apple

Orchard season in Minnesota
By Maka Boeve

From Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden to Snow White’s poison fruit, apples have always been part of common folklore. Apples are mentioned in nursery rhymes. They are symbolic of teachers and back-to-school. They were used in science to prove gravity, and now people are talking into Apple phones. Apples are everywhere! Continue reading


Learning from the Experiences of Others
By C.H. Armstrong

The race-related events of the last few months have left our nation shaken. In Minnesota, the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer hits especially close to home. The officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, ignoring Floyd pleading, “I can’t breathe.” In the aftermath, many of us are struggling to understand how this could happen in our own backyard.    Continue reading

Corona-Style Theater

Continuing to “play”
despite a pandemic
By Emily Watkins & Misha Johnson

The arts are of critical importance right now. Art awakens curiosity and allows us to be in the moment with our thoughts and feelings. It also reminds us of our humanity, bringing us necessary beauty in times of struggle. Continue reading