Activating YNPN Voices

Minnesota 2020 partnered with YNPN Twin Cities to find inspiring stories from our members doing amazing things. Here's four YNPN-TC members featured in the Activated Voices series by Minnesota 2020. We also asked Tom Niemisto, Minnesota 2020 Video Production Specialist, a few questions!

Bridges for Community

Zahra Aljabri

Non-traditional Resume

Jamie Millard

Economic Vibrancy in Immigrant Communities

Semhar Araia

Talk, Laugh, Think

Tane Danger

What’s the goal of Activated Voices? What is Minnesota 2020 hoping to accomplish with this project?

This generation of young adults is entering one the worst economies in recent memory. Frankly, we—policy wonks and the media—tend to frame the bad economy as if 18-35 years olds have little control over their own economic outcome. Yet we see young Minnesotans getting engaged with economic policy. Activated Voices provides our readers and viewers a chance to hear directly how this generation is meeting and overcoming economic barriers, slim job prospects, wage inequity, and social immobility.

Minnesota 2020 aims to expand the public policy debate, and we feel Activated Voices, with short video segments, meets young adults in a medium they’re familiar with and provides an entryway into the debate over issues that impact Minnesotans of all generations: job security, economic justice, health care, entrepreneurship, and sustainability.

Is there a type of person who Activated Voices would love to feature who you haven’t yet had the opportunity to?

We’re looking for a transplant, someone who came to Minnesota for college or a career and decided to stay, call Minnesota home, and make a difference in our community.

What have you learned from the Activated Voices series? Anything especially surprising?

Much of what saturates popular culture truly underestimates this generation’s intelligence, passion, and drive for economic and social justice. None of the people we’ve interviewed for this series fit the stereotypes we find in network sitcoms, MTV, or TMZ. Through this series, we’ve seen young adults who advocate on behalf of the less fortunate, who use their entrepreneurial skills to make real change in the business world, and who are determined to realistically rise above economic hardships.

If you had pick one emotion that you’d want viewers of Activated Voices to walk away with, what would it be?


For more videos in the Activated Voices series, visit

Tags: News

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