As we prepare this magazine for publication, so much is changing every day. Students are
returning to in-person school. Minnesota is distributing vaccines. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is underway. Our community is reflecting on the one-year mark of living in a pandemic. And, George Floyd’s legacy is remembered as a long overdue racial reckoning continues. The question that remains, which we examine in this issue of our magazine, is: What’s next? How do we move forward? What does “normal” even mean?
This magazine features a collection of stories about people who are not only answering the question of what’s next, they are doing the work to make our community kinder and more inclusive. You’ll learn about how Penumbra Theatre is leading racial healing and how the new Morrison College of Health at St. Thomas is centering itself around diverse health care. We share the stories of a dynamic North Minneapolis duo whose advocacy saved more than 100 local businesses in the pandemic and aftermath of Floyd’s murder. We profile youth organizations advocating and securing a better future for those they serve (YLI and Youthprise).
Community-based storytelling has the power to change mainstream narratives, and we highlight the work of our ThreeSixty alumni and others who are daring to tell stories differently and better. This includes an anthology of young Somali writers, the work of alumna Hlee Lee-Kron and the Racial Reckoning: Arc of Justice project powered by Ampers, employing four super talented alums, Lee-Kron included.
Again, we also continue to showcase the powerful voices of our young people. Through our #360YouthVoiceChallenge and fall workshop, our reporters wrote op-ed stories capturing what’s happening in their world. You’ll hear about the challenges of online school, a plea to wear masks, calls to amplify black voices and historical reminders about xenophobia, as well as examining why voting matters, among others.
As I think back to the last year at ThreeSixty, I feel immense gratitude that we could still reach our students and adapt quickly. Our classrooms continue to be safe spaces, and even in the hardest times, our conversations remain infused with hope. We collaborate creatively with our students thanks to our partners, alumni and volunteers. We’re also emerging stronger.
What’s next for ThreeSixty is great. We are optimistic we will return our programming to campus and looking ahead to summer camps. And, I can’t wait for everyone to meet our new program manager, my dear friend and a ThreeSixty alumnus, Dymanh Chhoun. He is the real deal. After attending ThreeSixty in 2005, he worked his way through college, (doing?) small-market photography jobs until he landed at WCCO-TV, where he worked the last six years. He did it all with his trademark smile, joy and perseverance. He already inspires the next generation of storytellers and leaders. He will continue to do that and more in his new role. It’s an honor to turn this magazine over to his capable hands.