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.

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.  

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RCI Climate Justice Book Drive

August 30, 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. 

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Want to Learn More?

Each committed youth member of the RCI has a story to tell. Read them here.