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Our Work

Black Lives Matter Protest

JUNE 6, 2020

In June of 2020, The RCI hosted the largest protest in all of Rochester's History in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. 

RCI Public Forum & Rally

JULY 18, 2020

In the month following the protest, the RCI created a community forum for the locals of Rochester to ask the officials and politicians the pressing questions about our community.

The Intersectionality of Race, COVID-19, & Community Health Town Hall

JULY 30, 2020

The RCI co-hosted “The Intersectionality of Race, COVID-19, & Community Health Town Hall” along with other organizations in Rochester. 

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Black Lives Matter Rally

September 5, 2020

In September, the Black Panthers and Brown Berets of Minneapolis joined forces with RCI to create an impassioned plea for an end to the rampant systemic racism and police brutality through community speeches, art, and more.

School Board Listening Session #1

September 13, 2020

RCI held a School Board Listening Session, which was a great opportunity for students to ask school board members and candidates critical questions. 

School Board Listening Session #2

September 27, 2020

This was the second School Board Listening session RCI held to share their stories and experiences with candidates and have important discussion.

September 5, 2020

RCI Virtual Voter Education Workshop

October 24, 2020

A virtual workshop to educate voters on all the positions up for election in November. Within this workshop, voters chose which breakout rooms to join in order to learn about specific candidates and a presentation on voter suppression in the CD-1 district. 

RCI  Voter Empowerment Series

October 20 - November 3, 2020

As election day approached, RCI started putting together a Voter Empowerment Video Series. This series, targeted toward the youth, was composed of a series of video clips every day, with RCI members and others telling viewers to Get Out To Vote! 

RCI Community Merchandise Competition

November 16 - 30, 2020

RCI called all artists for a Community Merch Competition, in which the winning three designs would be featured on shirts and stickers. 

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RCI Food & Clothing Drive

December 14 - January 15, 2021

RCI held a food and clothing drive to collect donations for refugees in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Youth Gift Drive

December 14-15, 2020

RCI worked on a gift drive for teenagers in need in collaboration with the Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission

Children First Rochester: A Community Conversation on Educating all of our Children

December 17, 2020

RCI partnered with Rochester for Justice, The Rochester Diversity Council, and The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to facilitate a conversation with Justice Page and Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve, in regards to their proposed education amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. 

RCI Educational Programming

2020-2021 RPS School Year

RCI has created a curriculum of topics including tolerance, empathy, equity, equality, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality to be taught within the Rochester Public Schools district schools throughout all levels. RCI’s educational programming also includes a pen pal program between elementary students and RCI members. Lastly, the program offers leadership talks for classes to emphasize the importance of sharing your voice.

RCI First Edition Newsletter

January 2021

RCI members created a newsletter that discusses equity and equality, includes community spotlights, resources, updates, future ideas, and more!

RCI Community Merchandise  Sales

January 28, 2021

RCI has opened up t-shirt and sticker sales with the winning designs from the previous competition. Pre-orders ran from 1/28-2/13.

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RCI Mental Health Survey

February - March 2021

RCI created and disseminated a mental health survey to gather data on the mental health of the child, adolescent, and adult populations in the Olmsted County area. Survey data identified common trends regarding accessibility and satisfaction of mental health services in the region, as well as the mental well being of the population. Once the data collection from this survey was complete, the information gathered will be used to guide advocacy efforts for expanding access to mental health care. Currently, the Logistics Committee is using this data for working on creating a small scale Interface program. 

Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota Act Advocacy

February 19, 2021

RCI produced a video discussing the urgency and importance of the ITOCA Act! RCI also won social media competition for helping spread information about the Act.

NAACP Black History Speaker Series Panelists

February 20, 2021

Youth leaders sharing their perspectives on the transformational nature of 2020, and where we go from here. 

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RCI X Riverside Pen Pal Program

February - June 2021

For RCI Members to connect and build relationships with elementary students so they can see themselves represented in community leadership. Also, students learned essential writing and tech skills.

RCI X BWC | A conversation on youth mental health and community resources

February 28, 2021

RCI collaborated with BeWellCOVID and guest speaker Dr. Jess Garcia to host a Facebook Live youth discussion on mental health and the community. 

RCI X YEA: A conversation on the climate crisis and climate justice education

March 6, 2021

RCI collaborated with Youth Environmental Activists to discuss the climate crisis and climate justice from our perspective as youth on Facebook Live.

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Organizing, Educating, & Advocating: The Rochester Community Initiative

March 18, 2021

RCI presented at the In The City For Good Forum and answered community questions on our work and the essence of our advocacy. 

RCI X RPR X PPAF | Lobbying 101 Training 

April 3, 2021

RCI co-hosted a beginner friendly lobbying training with Rochester for Reproductive Freedom and Planned Parenthood Fund community members to learn the ins + outs of lobbying and gain confidence while doing it. 

So You Wanna Be an Activist Community Conversation 

April 10, 2021

Joined by MN Teen Activists and The Just Action Coalition to discuss social justice and youth activism with community members 

Rochester Area In-District Meeting with Legislators 

April 10, 2021

A conversation to hold our elected officials accountable and hear about key issues from legislators and stories from community members

RCI 5K Fun Run/Walk

May 29, 2021

A run to raise environmental awareness, reunite the community, partner with local businesses, and create a platform for Rochester’s youth to discuss environmental issues. 50% of the revenue made from fundraising was donated to local nonprofits and environmental groups as well as being used to fund the RCI community garden.

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RCI Eco-Education Program

July 13 - 16, 2021

Program running from July 13-16th, the purpose of the project was to develop relationships between local students and Rochester youth leaders through cultivating community gardens and educational lessons on the importance of the environment and climate preservation.

RCI Back to School Staff Week Presentation

August 24, 2021

A professional development presentation to Rochester Public School Staff exploring ideas and principles students want their educators to incorporate in the classroom. Combining our personal experiences and drawing from academic research, the topics we shared included cultural competency, global awareness as a 21st century skill, and intersectionality.  

RCI Climate Justice Book Drive

August 24, 2021

Provided accessible climate education resources exploring social, economic, historical, and political climate-related topics. We’ve purchased and distributed hundreds of books across the Mayo, Century, and John Marshall High School libraries. 

RCI Period Equity Project

November 1 - December 19, 2021

The Period Equity Project was a local Rochester initiative to connect menstrual products with people who need them. The collected donated supplies were given to organizations, such as The Landing and Gage East Apartments, in Rochester that support community members in need.

RCI Winter Supply Drive

November 29 - December 6, 2021

The Winter Supply Drive was a community initiative to help low-income community members gain access to essential clothing items over the winter months. All items were donated to the Alternative Learning Center, The Landing, Riverside and Willow SOS Rooms, and Local Homeless Shelters.

RCI X ISAIAH Coalition Caucus Training

December 18, 2021

The training event was hosted by both RCI and the ISAIAH Coalition to provide community members with a space to learn about the local caucus process for the upcoming 2022 elections.

RCI Guide to the 2022 Elections

January 18 - February 1, 2022

RCI launched a voters education series to help make local elections and less intimidating. Topics covered included common terms and definitions, importance, districts, candidates, and Caucus Day.

RCI Community Merch Competition

January 24 - February 14, 2022

RCI held its second Community Merch Competition to provide local talent the platform to get involved in artistic endeavors. Artists from across the area competed in creating a design to be featured on our next merch sale and win prizes. 

RCI New Parent Drive

February 26 - March 12, 2022

RCI held its first New Parent Drive to help new parents in need of baby items by collecting donations at local community locations. Hundreds of items were distributed at Soldiers Field.

RCI: The Community Through Art

May 21, 2022

RCI hosted a community art show to spotlight and support local BIPOC and young artists at Forager Brewery. Local artists had individual spaces to showcase their work and sell their products with an opportunity to have their art remain on display at Forager Brewery after the event.

RCI Second 5K Fun Run

May 28, 2022

RCI hosted its second annual 5K Fun Run at Soldiers Field in hopes of increasing environmental awareness. Local organizations, businesses, vendors, and hundreds of community members were in attendance. From free goodie bags and silent auction baskets to live music and youth speakers, the event was a major success!

RCI Substance Use Survey

June 1, 2022

RCI put together a survey with the purpose of gathering data on substance use amongst teenagers within the Olmsted County area. The data was used to identify common substance use trends in the region.  The information gathered was used only for educational purposes and anonymously collected.

RCI Community Naloxone Training

June 30, 2022

RCI partnered with Diversity Council to hold Community Naloxone Trainings in Rochester. The training was to help community members learn how to recognize an opioid overdose, administer Narcan (naloxone), and inform them about Steve's Law (MN's Good Samaritan and Naloxone Legislation).

RCI Rochester for Roe Rally

July 9, 2022

RCI and Joined Parenthood partnered in organizing the Rochester for Roe rally at Peace Plaza after the official overturning of Roe v. Wade. While abortion in Minnesota is protected in the state constitution, there is no guarantee it will be protected forever. The rally was a statement on the importance of continual support for pro-choice politicians.

RCI Second New Parent Drive

July 15 - 29, 2022

RCI held its second New Parent Drive after the immense success of and high demand after the initial drive. Baby formula, diapers, clothes, and so much more was donated in support of new parents. All items were distributed at MLK Park.

RCI Green Business Recognition Series

October 5, 2022 - February 15, 2023

RCI held a Green Business Recognition series to recognize local businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability. Every month, a new business was featured and awarded either a bronze, silver, or golden medal for their sustainability efforts. 

RCI General Elections Voter Education Series

October 21 - November 1, 2022

In response to the fast approaching midterm season, RCI put together a voter education series for November 8th's General Elections. Several topics were covered, not limited to general overview, definitions, focus, voting locations, what's at stake, and candidates.

RCI Pronouns and Inclusive Language 101

December 17, 2022

RCI held a Pronouns and Inclusive Language 101 session to help teach community members on the importance of using inclusive language, help clear-up misconceptions, and equip those watching with the appropriate tools to be cognizant and respectful of others. 

RCI Reads

March 6 - May 17, 2023

RCI Reads is a mentorship based literacy program that aims to improve community connection and address declining Rochester literacy rates through avenues of education. The program connects high school upperclassmen with elementary school students in an effort to build confidence and skills in reading, phonetics, and vocabulary. As elementary-age students receive individualized tutoring, high school kids become empowered as educators and agents of change within their community. The pilot program took place at Sunset Terrace Elementary School.

RCI Reads Book Drive

March 6 - May 17, 2023

To kick off the program, RCI held a book drive to provide elementary school students with take-home books of their own to build personal libraries with, further extending the program into their own homes. RCI collected hundreds of books, all of which effectively went to The Free Book Buggie room at Sunset Terrace Elementary School for distribution.

RCI Community Art Show

March 19, 2023

RCI held its second Community Art Show at Forager Brewery to celebrate local BIPOC and young artists.

School Funding

April 5, 2023

A community conversation on how the state legislative funding of $2.2 billion in new funds for education impacts Rochester Public Schools. State legislations, educator and community members were in attendance.

RCI Caring for Minnesota Rally

April 29, 2023

As the Minnesota legislative season neared an end, RCI and the ISAIAH Coalition partnered to make a final push in persuading lawmakers to pass a caring economy agenda that safeguards the dignity of all individuals. Over 200 legislations, government officials, educators, and community members were in attendance.

RCI Third Annual 5K Fun Run

May 21, 2023

RCI held its third annual 5K Fun Run at Soldiers Field. All raised money was donated to the Rochester Boys and Girls Club to help make community sports more equitable and inclusive. The event included over 12 local business collaborators, a silent auction, guest speakers, and more! An RCI record amount of money was raised with over 200 community members in attendance.

RCI Pre-Registration Campaign

July 4 - Present

After Governor Walz signed the "Democracy for the People Act," 16 and 17 year olds were granted the right to pre-register to vote in Minnesota. RCI and We Choose Us came together to host a Minnesota-wide pre-registration campaign for 16 and 17 year olds. Over 600 youth have been pre-registered to vote at various public high schools.

RCI Listening Session

August 27, 2023

RCI held a community listening session at 125 Live to create a Youth Agenda for the upcoming year. Several reflection and discussion exercises were hosted, and a guest speaker came to educate those in attendance on recently passed Minnesotan legislation.

C2C Summit

October 4, 2023

RCI presented at the annual C2C Education Summit for the second year in a row. This year, Elena Meves and Morgan Morey discussed "The Power of Educational Relationships from a Youth Perspective," highlighting RCI's highly successful RCI Reads program. Several professionals in the field of education were there, as well as Mayor Norton.

RCI Reads Part Two

November 6 - December 18, 2023

After the widespread success of the pilot, RCI is launching a second RCI Reads program starting November 6. The program will last six weeks and will take place at Sunset Terrace Elementary School.

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Want to Learn More?

Each youth member of the RCI has a story to tell.

Read them here.

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