Salma Abdi

Salma is a current junior at Century High School and has been an organizer for the past few years. As a member of the Governor’s Children's Cabinet Advisory Council, a Minnesota Youth Council Representative, and Co-Lead of the Southern MN Youth for Climate Justice, she is driven to make positive change and fight for climate justice, juvenile justice, and advocate for youth. Furthermore, Salma says she believes “in the power of community and mutual aid, ” which is why she has joined RCI’s Education Committee. According to her, “Education is what will revolutionize the change that is needed.”

Bailee Benson

Hello all I'm Bailee! I've lived in Rochester my whole life, and I'm currently a senior at Mayo High School. My hobbies include caring for my absurd amount of plants, learning about true crime cases, and watching nature documentaries. I love RCI because of the community it's formed, I've also connected with so many passionate and kind people.

Autumn Busse

Autumn Busse is an 18 year old senior at Mayo High School. She is a member of the educations committee and is dedicated to implementing change in Rochester Public School’s education system. Joining Rochester Community Initiative has allowed her to put her passion for social justice and equity into action.

Jaida Crowson

Jaida Crowson is an upcoming senior at Mayo High School, and serves as the director of RCI Educations. Jaida's involvements include being the Mayo Diversity Committee President for two consecutive years, an active member of Teen Council, and a member of a peer-led sex education and advocacy organization through Planned Parenthood. Above all, Jaida believes in uplifting her community by providing an

equitable environment for all.

Yusra Hassan

I’m a senior at Century High School. I enjoy spending time with friends, sleeping, and being in rci:) I plan on becoming a human rights lawyer after college!

Sahra Jilaow

Sahra Jilaow is a senior at John Marshall High School and a part of the Educations Committee. Sahra values the power of education, difficult conversations, and youth advocacy. She has contributed to many school clubs, such as Diversity Council, Key Club, and Speech. Sahra believes that the greatest leaders are those who are able to be vulnerable in the public eye for the sake of amplifying the voices of BIPOC communities.

Julia Sanchez

Julia is a ninth-grader at Mayo High School and is new to RCI. She has been aware of social injustice from a young age. She lives at home with her twin sister, Sophie, as well as her parents, brother, and two adorable pups. Baking is Julia’s love language and she also enjoys listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. Julia is very much looking forward to getting back to in person school so she can make new friends and escape from her father’s constant series of terrible dad jokes.

Sophie Sanchez

Sophie is very excited to join RCI this year. She is a freshman student at Mayo High School. Sophie has been passionate about social justice, anti-racism and feminism since a young age. In her spare time, Sophie loves music, scary movies and expressing herself through painting and other forms of art. While she enjoys the company of her dogs during online school, Sophie is really looking forward to going back to in person school along with her twin sister, Julia.

Gauri Sood

Gauri Sood is a junior at Mayo High School and a member of the Educations Committee who is dedicated to educating and empowering young voices to create lasting change. She is actively engaged in education-based initiatives including the Student School Board, Global Affairs, and Environmental Action clubs of Mayo High School, and is a teen leader for Food Allergies of Rochester MN, a group for educating and supporting those with food allergies. Gauri is also a co-creator and lead trainer for HappiGenius, a social and emotional learning curriculum presently designed for elementary school students. As a student leader, Gauri strives to empower and educate young students so they can better handle their academic and emotional challenges and achieve their highest potential.

Sakayah Harvey

Im a junior and I attend John Marshall High School. My main goal is to help educate others. Through RCI I figured that it’d be the perfect place to bring the facts to the youth, as well as helping others’ voices be heard. One thing I love is dance, I’m involved with dance through dance at a studio and through the school.

Will Laudon 

William Laudon is a current sophomore at Mayo High School and is passionate about creating change in the world around him. He is an active member of the Mayo Band and Choir programs, Mayo Stage Door, and the Mayo Speech and Debate teams. His passion for performing stems into the community, where he frequently performs in plays, musicals, and with youth companies in the Rochester area. Additionally, William is a part of Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council, which provides peer-led sexual education in Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota and supplies a much needed outlet for advocacy regarding Planned Parenthood and sexual health. His leadership in various youth-led and youth-driven activities have motivated William to help others. By striving to educate his peers and uplift those around him, William is a proud member of the Rochester Community Initiative and their work to create an inclusive, equitable, and fair world.