Legacy Story: Changemakers 1989-2023

Our new 162-page book “35 Years of Minnesota Women” ends with a first-ever compilation of all of the people and organizations who have been recognized each year since 1989 as a Changemaker. We are reprinting that list here and will update this page as new Changemakers are honored each December.

1989 Newsmakers

  • Chris Voelz, U of M women’s athletic director  
  • Geraldine Carter, Survival Skills Institute 
  • Sen. Linda Berglin
  • Melinda Creed & Shelley Jacobson, fundraising project for single mothers to take vacations
  • Karen Thompson, gay woman not allowed to visit her partner in nursing home turned advocate
  • Nicci Hagenah, young playwright
  • Stephen Cooper, Human Rights Department head focused on gender discrimination
  • Phyllis Goldin, Physicians for Social Responsibility (anti-war)
  • Winston Granger, abortion rights legislator 
  • Heart Warrior Chosa, first female (and Native) mayor of Ely
  • Carolyn McKay, doctor focused on racial inequality and infant mortality rates 
  • Joanne Smith & Roberta Levy, chief judges of Hennepin and Ramsey County district courts
  • Minnesota Supreme Court, for comprehensive study of gender bias in the state’s courts
  • Jean Keffeler, advocate for women at the University of Minnesota

April 1990 Mavericks

A special award was given to Minnesota Mavericks, honoring women who follow their own way, sponsored by Minnesota Women’s Press and the Minnesota Press Club. In her talk, Catherine Jordan defined herself and sister mavericks as women who “avoid being branded, who challenge the status quo, who make waves and rock the boat whenever possible.” 

  • Carole Osborne Bratter, founder of organization helping women and men follow their own paths in the workplace 
  • Valerie Lee, received award from MN women’s fund
  • Sage Cowles, activist, dancer, athlete
  • Isabel Gomez, judge in Hennepin County district court, serving on juvenile bench
  • Catherine Jordan, founder and director of Peer Education Health Resources 

1990 Newsmakers

  • Vivian Jenkins-Nelson, INTER-RACE program
  • Steven Miles, advocated for women’s needs in court system 
  • Tamara Taylor & Liane Nelson, called out gubernatorial candidate on charges of sexual assault 
  • Meridel Lesueur, Meridel Lesueur Peace and Justice Center, writer and activist 
  • Eucharist Planners, women who held mass without priest in Harriet Rose Garden
  • Jean Foster, Mary Hourigan, Jeanne Weigum, anti-tobacco activists
  • Cathy Nelson, 1990 Teacher of the Year 
  • Linda Fancher White, developed “her-story” program at Metro State University 
  • Esperanza Guerrero-Anderson, Metropolitan Economic Development Association
  • Marj Schneider and Lynn Zelvin, founder of Womyn’s Braille Press 
  • Julie Tilley, established battered women shelter in Mankato
  • Hubert H. Humphrey III, MN attorney general

1991 Newsmakers

  • Judy Mahle Lutter, educates women about physical exercise, Melpomene Institute
  • Jenny Hanley, hockey player
  • Jilly Olson, Katy Lyle, Susan Black, filed sexual harassment lawsuits and won
  • Ann Bancroft, explorer
  • Mark Andrew and Peter McLaughlin, champions of affirmative action
  • Carol Banister, East Metro women’s council director 
  • LaJune Lange, judge who sentenced rapist and murderer Richard Moorman to life in prison 
  • Phyllis Wiener, artists
  • Doug Grow, journalist 
  • Cathy Meredig, designed more realistically proportioned doll 

1992 Newsmakers

  • Ada Posey, state political director of Clinton campaign 
  • Kathy Thurber, park board member
  • Pat Mindt, LGBTQ+ advocate and army national guard captain 
  • Sophie Liu, diversity in arts activist
  • Shirley Nelson, political organizer and head of coalition focused on getting women elected to office 
  • Jeri Rassmussen, executive director of Midwest Health Center for Women 
  • Rosalie Maggio, highlighting representation of women in literature 
  • Edith Pacini, speaker about Prairie Island Reservation’s struggle with Northern States Power Co. 
  • Anne Wolf & Gretchen Thompson, launched campaign to get “johns” out of their neighborhood 
  • Carol Faricy & Gloria Segal, founders of Anita Faye Hill fund
  • Joanne Whiterabbit, founder of Native Americans in Philanthropy 
  • Deb Sunderman, member of U.S. Women’s paralympic basketball team
  • Cher Johnson, founder of Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition 
  • Laura Kuhn, Action Committee to End Sexism and Violence Against Women in the Media
  • Lola Reed, first woman head of St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly (union) 
  • Andrea Minkkinen, St. Paul’s first female firefighter 
  • Sue Mutziger & Cheltzie Heintz, filed sexual harassment charges against school district on behalf of daughter

1993 Newsmakers

  • Sharon Sayles Belton, Minneapolis mayor
  • Emilie Buchwald, Pamela Fletcher, Martha Roth, “Transforming a Rape Culture” editors
  • Karen Clark, State representative, legislated for LGBTQ+ rights
  • Sally Hill, Twin Cities Metropolitan Church Commission
  • Ann Bancroft, explorer 
  • Brenda St. Germaine, American Indian Business Development Corporation 
  • Arvonne Fraser, President Clinton chose her to represent U.S. women at global conversation
  • Kim Cardelli, Children’s Safety Center
  • Jane Hodgson, abortion doctor
  • Doua Lee, Home Based Industries, Inc. sewing company 

1994 Newsmakers

  • Sheila Wellstone, domestic violence advocate
  • Carol Ann Shudlick, basketball player
  • Rosemary Rocco, Tina Welsh, Karen Diver, Duluth Building for Women
  • Judy Schaubach & Sandra Peterson, MEA, MFT
  • Winona LaDuke, activist for Native rights
  • Anna Chong, Engineered Demolition
  • Ann Wynia, Senate candidate 
  • K. Ilean Her, first female Hmong attorney in Minnesota
  • Annie Lee, Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, leadership and public policy seminar for college-age women 
  • Jean Harris, Eden Prairie mayor 

1995 Newsmakers 

  • Angie Losh and Dawn Litzau, petitioned for name change of tribal area 
  • Ethel Curry, died at age 107 and left behind more than $2 million for scholarships 
  • Amy Hixon & Carolyn Cushman, Twin Cities Take Back the Night
  • Jeanne Audrey Powers, lesbian clergywoman
  • Rafala Green, created art for Minneapolis’ Philips Neighborhood
  • Skyway BPW, presented opposition to growing sex industry in downtown Minneapolis
  • WILPF, sent 20 delegates on the Peace Train, a historic trans-continental journey to Beijing 
  • Mitzi Witchger, advocated for girls’ hockey
  • Barbara Stuhler, authored book about Minnesota suffragists 
  • Harriet Tubman Center

1996 Newsmakers

  • Susan Hagel & Josie Johnson, paralympic athletes
  • Helen Healy, battled state board of medical practice to practice naturopathic medicine 
  • Domestic Alert Alliance
  • Ellen O’Neill, worked 11 years to build the Minnesota Women’s Fund
  • Brenda Elsagher, hairdresser, cancer survivor, standup comic
  • Margaret Boyer & Sharon Henry, The Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals
  • Alice Hausman, Becky Lourey, Mindy Greiling, ousted speaker of the house 
  • Neng Lee, first Hmong artist to exhibit her work commercially in Minnesota
  • Nina Rothchild & Bonnie Watkins, oral history of feminism, “In the Company of Women”
  • Karen Sunna, one of only a few Buddhist women leaders  in the country 

1997 Newsmakers 

  • 18 women from eight Twin Cities nursing homes, formed an organizing committee 
  • Ricky Rask, organized Fund Kids First to make legislators reconsider allocating public funds to Twins Stadium 
  • Roseann Lloyd, honoring unnamed women who died from domestic violence 
  • Rose Robinson & Global Women’s Network, provides business training and networking help for women crafters 
  • Alika Galloway, pastor at first Black Presybyterian church in Minnesota
  • Gayle Winegar, runs fitness club 
  • Denise Brooks & Carol Soto, organized Minnesota contingent of Million Woman March
  • Gail Brinkmeier, organizer of Midwestern Young Feminist Summit 
  • Colleen Hathaway & Danielle Olson, run chiropractic clinic based on patient-set fees
  • Julie Gay, Agricultural Women’s Institute founder

1998 Newsmakers 

  • Jearlyn Steele Battle, first Black woman to host her own radio show on WCCO
  • Rita Steinhagen, women in prison advocate
  • Kifah Abdi-Coleman, torture survivor and advocate 
  • Lar Mundstock, United Cambodian Association of Minnesota 
  • Directors of abortion clinics, who are targeted by anti-abortion terrorists 
  • Jennifer Schmidgall & Alana Blahoski, gold medal winning hockey player

1999 Newsmakers 

  • Lois Jenson, settled nation’s first class action sexual harassment suit
  • Brianna Scurry, U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper 
  • Catherine Azora-Minda, KFAI feminist radio voice
  • Nancy Hite, CEO of Minneapolis YWCA 
  • Amal Yusuf, founder of Somalian Women’s Association 
  • Sandy Spieler, Heart of the Beast Theater
  • Mary Gaines, campaign to bring Minnesota children to mothers in federal prison 
  • Amazon Bookstore Owners, sued Amazon.com for trademark infringement
  • Jodi-Michaelle Carlson & Jeanne Engen-Duranske, citizen lobbyists 
  • Yee Won Chong, co-directs Women Against Military Madness
  • Patricia Weaver Francisco, rape survivor who wrote memoir 

2000 Newsmakers

  • Dads and Daughters (DADS) Joe Kelly, valuing daughters for who they are
  • Winona LaDuke, activist for Native rights
  • Jaye Rykunyk, advocate for workers’ rights
  • Betty McCollum, representative, 4th District
  • Meena Natarajan, Minneapolis playwright, elected President of Women Playwrights International
  • Neva Walker, first Black woman elected to the Minnesota Legislature, district 61B
  • Jessica Roe and the late Sen. Janet Johnson, shepherds of environmental law
  • St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church, ordained openly LGBTQ+ Pastor Anita C. Hill
  • Target Market, youth movement targeting the tobacco industry  
  • Hmong Women’s Action Team, volunteers writing Hmong women into history (Mai Vang Thao, chair) 

2001 Newsmakers

  • Sarah Harris, Artistic Director of Patrick’s Cabaret, building community through art
  • Ann Bancroft, explorer
  • Hot Flash, first crew of women over 50 to compete in the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship 
  • Sonia Hohnadel, first person of color to serve on the Moorhead school board
  • New Moon, ‘The Magazine for Girls and their Dreams,’ edited by Nancy Gruver 
  • Welfare Rights Committee, grassroots organization of 20 welfare recipients, low-income women, and immigrants
  • Marcia Zimmerman, Senior Rabbi Temple Israel, largest reform congregation led by a woman
  • Linda Berglin, U.S. Representative, champion for reproductive choice
  • Men’s Action Committee to End Violence Against Women (Chuck Derry and Joe Morse, founders)

2002 Newsmakers

  • American Indian Neighborhood Development Corporation, goal to clean up East Franklin Ave.
  • Dr. Amy Gilbert, Family Tree Clinic,  improving access to emergency contraception
  • Somalian Women’s Association (Amal Yusuf, President and CEO)
  • Judi Dutcher & Becky Lourey, gubernatorial runners up
  • Yvette Boe Oldendorf, Career Solutions, employment counseling agency for women entering the workforce
  • June Goemer, Salary Equity Warrior, three pay equity lawsuits at St. Cloud State
  • E–Women Win, electronic mailing list developed by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus 
  • Minnesota Nurses Association, health care activists (Monica Vollmuth, President)
  • Lois Beckel, lead teacher at Minneapolis YWCA, teaching self-confidence to kids
  • Stompin’ Grounds Coffee Shop in Staples, youth-owned and run

2003 Changemakers

  • Joyce Yamamoto, Director of Social Justice Programs at the YWCA
  • Merceil Ennis Burkhalter, Keeping it Real
  • Barbara Hensley, Hope Chest for Breast Health
  • Catherine Settanni, Digital Access Project
  • Speak Out Sisters!, gathering together to fight patriarchy
  • Jan Johnson and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, protesting war with Iraq
  • Dads and Daughters (Joe Kelly)
  • Faith Zwemke, Speak Softly and carry a pay equity plan
  • Center for Ecomomic Progress, Kim Farris and Kimberly Gartner
  • Jeanne Bailey, International Institute for Women Entrepreneurs, College of St. Catherine
  • Elaine Fleming, first woman and Native American to hold office in Cass County and only Green Party mayor in state

2004 CHANGEMAKERS (Special anniversary issue)

  • Linda Berglin, State Senator, Power for the People
  • Lois Jenson, fought Eveleth Mines for 15 years
  • Judge LaJune Lange, passionate about civil and human rights
  • Justice Rosalie Wahl, Supreme Court Justice
  • The MN Women’s Consortium, Bonnie Peace Watkins
  • Winona LaDuke, founder of White Earth Land Recovery Project
  • Amazon Bookstore Cooperative, Word Warriors
  • American Indian Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Pacyinz Lyfoung, Hmong Women activist 
  • The Portage for Youth, Raeann Ruth, afterschool enrichment center for Hmong girls
  • Arvonne Fraser, putting human rights on an international agenda
  • Shirley Nelson, Women Candidate Development Coalition
  • Casa de Esperanza, training videos for Latino teens
  • Dr. Mildred Hanson and Dr. Jane Hodgson, provide safe, legal abortions
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, helping neighbors
  • Women’s Prison Project, books open doors for those who are locked in 
  • Legislative Commission on the Economic Status of Women (former directors Nina Rothchild, Aviva Breen)
  • Silent Witness National Initiative & Janet Olson Hagberg, exhibit of women who have died from domestic abuse
  • Ann Bancroft, explorer
  • Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
  • Chris Voelz, architect of University of Minnesota women’s sports
  • Women Against Military Madness, founder Polly Mann
  • Nancy Gruver & Joe Kelly, New Moon Magazine, Dads and Daughters
  • Sheila Wellstone, advocate for victims of domestic violence
  • Womenventure, teaching women about careers and business

2005 Changemakers

  • TvbyGirls, empowers girls to tell their stories and use media for social change
  • Joy Anderson, restaurant server who helped persuade state legislature to increase the minimum wage
  • Regina Nicolosi, defiant deacon from Red Wing
  • Erin Matson, president, MN NOW 
  • Elizabeth Dickenson and Farheen Hakeem, Green Party first-time mayoral candidates
  • B-Girl Be, celebrating women in hip-hop
  • Dorothy Mayer, Confederation of Somali community of Minnesota
  • Ananya Chatterjea, activist, Ananya Dance Theatre
  • Cheryl Thomas, director, Women’s Human Rights Program at Minnesota Advocates
  • Ann Lynch, organized women’s campaign school in 2003 to help elect women to local and state offices  

2006 Changemakers

  • Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator
  • Liz Johnson, The White House Project, Vote Run Win
  • Patricia Torres Ray, first Latina State Senator
  • Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, first woman from Minnesota to go into space
  • Shannon Drury, radical housewife, activist, president MN NOW
  • Greater Minneapolis Girl Scout Council, director Shelley Jacobson
  • International Girls Summit, director Zora Radosevich
  • Women’s Environmental Institute, director, Karen Clark
  • Sally Kenney, director, the Center for Women and Public Policy, U of MN Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

2007 Changemakers

  • Vednita Carter & Breaking Free, helps Black women and girls escape prostitution and educates about sexual exploitation
  • Connie Perpich and Planned Parenthood, reproductive justice
  • TADA! Teens Against Dating Abuse (Princeton, Milaca, Onamia), Pearl Crisis Center, director Judy Pearson 
  • Pakou Hang, ran for St. Paul City Council, setting a high bar for community-based campaigns
  • Nancy Scheibe, paddled the Mississippi from the headwaters to the delta  
  • Nancy Stephan, honoring Women Worldwide
  • Native Women Lead, Sheila Wellstone Institute program, led by Lonna Stevens
  • Julie Hellwich, Smart Woman Creations, social change through business
  • Lauretta Dawolo, KFAI News director, Youth News Initiative
  • Foundation IX, eliminating cost as a barrier to girls’ participation in sports and fitness 

2008 Changemakers

  • Infinity Project: Lisa M. Brabbit, Marie Falliner, Sally Kenney, and Mary Vasaly, getting more women judges 
  • Wendy Rahn, Survivors Studio for Women’s Health
  • Cindy Reuther & Laura Jeffry Academy, girl-focused education, recruit from underserved populations
  • Ann Dwight Lewis, Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers 
  • Susan Armington & Meeock Park, Talking Suitcases Project 
  • MNPOWER Camp, math and science, Metro State
  • Mujeres en Liderazgo, Maria Cisneros and Alicia Ramsey, Waite House Pillsbury United Communities
  • Kathryn Kysar, feminist anthologist of women’s writings about their mothers
  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher, policy role model for girls 

2009 Changemakers

  • Kathleen Murphy, MN C.A.F.E. Coalition, working to get the Equal Rights Amendment in the state constitution 
  • Shá Cage, The Teen Summit, sponsored by the Minnesota Spoken Word Association
  • Kristine Holmgren, Dead Feminists Society, provocative feminist salons
  • Elizabeth Erickson & Patricia Olson, community for artists, Women’s Art Institute
  • Bukola Oriola, trafficking survivor who shares her story
  • Marlene Jezierksi, book of poetry illuminates emotional domestic abuse
  • Audrey Thayer, Native Women Together Sewing Project

2010 Changemakers

  • Peace Circle Initiative, St. Paul group to break the cycle of city youth violence
  • Sayer Frey, film gives voice to healing after abuse
  • Nurses’ strike, one-day walkout raises awareness about healthcare delivery
  • Marie Garza, the Brides’ March honors and remembers abused women
  • Ellen Kennedy, World Without Genocide, works to end mass atrocities around the globe
  • 29th Street Petal Pushers, Log Cabin Flowers, grows socially responsible business women
  • Silvia Pérez Sánchez, organizer in Powderhorn neighborhood creates community for Latina immigrants
  • Hnub Tshiab, Hmong Women Working Together
  • Reentry Clinic, one-to-one mentor relationships rebuild lives of women leaving prison
  • Women & Water Rights, art as a catalyst for water issues

2011 Changemakers

  • Safe Harbor, legislation to protect exploited youth
  • Global Women’s Leadership Convening, led by Sandy Pappas and Paula King
  • Monica Nilsson, director of homeless outreach program 
  • Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership, WISE mentoring program 
  • “Women Making Change” video by AAUW and TPT documents political women in Minnesota
  • SlutWalk Minneapolis, Kimberia Sherva
  • MCAD and WILPF, merging organizations on behalf of peacemaking
  • Candy Hadsall, chlamydia educator
  • Northside Women’s Space, Kwanzaa Community Church, refuge from the sex trade

2012 Changemakers

  • Gender Justice, Lisa Stratton and Jill Gaulding
  • Fatima Mohamed, Hijab Day confronts stereotypes about Muslim women 
  • League of Women Voters, led the charge against voter ID
  • Gender Democracy Toolkit, by Refugee and Immigrant Women for Change
  • “With Impunity,” documentary by Michael Paymar, Ellen Pence, and TPT about gender-based violence
  • Marsha Freeman, director of International Women’s Rights Action Watch 
  • Theatre Unbound, women’s theater company shrinking the gender gap on stage
  • “Of scars,” Kate Kunkel Bailey and Elli Rader portraits of breast cancer patients 
  • Christine Stark, speaks out for sexually exploited Native women
  • Susan Strauss, campaign against sexual harassment

2013 Changemakers

  • Marriage equality, historic legislation
  • Janeé Harteau, Minneapolis police chief
  • Angela Champagne-From, teaching women and girls to ‘Fight Like a Girl’
  • Girls Restorative Program, a high school ‘girls at risk’ support group
  • Ami Wazlawik and Hollaback! Twin Cities, hollering back at street harassment 
  • “Nellie,” History Theatre and playwright Kim Hines about Minnesota activist Nellie Stone Johnson
  • Pippi Ardennia, supporting young female jazz musicians
  • Cindy Larson, helping women veterans find housing and support
  • Allison Broeren, bringing the Women of the World Poetry Slam to Twin Cities
  • “Our Mama is a Beautiful Garden,” Katy Tessman Stanoch book for children about a mother’s cancer treatment

2014 Changemakers

  • Women’s Economic Security Act, expands unpaid leave for parents and supports economic security for women
  • Alexandra Pierce and Lauren Martin, study sex trafficking
  • Ethelind Kaba, StarGirl Initiative to build self-confidence in teens
  • Betty Folliard, organizer of “We Are Woman” Minnesota delegation to Washington, D.C. about the ERA
  • Ann Manning, organizer of national Women’s Congress for Future Generations about environmental change
  • Erica Gerrity and Isis Rising, coalition to support pregnant women and new mothers in Minnesota prisons and jails
  • “How to Be a Feminist Artist,” investigations from the Women’s Art Institute 
  • Barb Greenberg, support and knowledge for women to rebuild lives during and after divorce

2015 Changemakers

  • MN Tradeswomen & JE Dunn Construction, Women Build the Capitol 
  • Minneapolis NAACP
  • Panyia Vang, Linda Miller & Sia Her, breaking the silence about sexual abuse in the Hmong community
  • Sarah Super, speaking out as a rape survivor 
  • Sarah Deer, work to stop violence against Native women
  • The Anna Westin Act, advocates to eliminate discrimination for those with eating disorders
  • Barbara Porwit, artist turns health challenges into power
  • Carolyn Holbrook and The Loft Literary Center, curators of safer spaces for Black women’s stories
  • Wiki edit-a-thons, grassroots editors aims to get more women on Wikipedia
  • Ginger Jentzen and advocates for fair wages

2016 Changemakers

  • Moms Demand Action Minnesota, to end gun violence
  • The Minnesota Lynx, role models on the basketball court
  • Anne McKeig, Minnesota’s first Native American Supreme Court Justice
  • Barbara Battiste, Office on the Economic Status of Women
  • Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment
  • Guerrilla Girls Takeover organizers, arts collaboration
  • Jessica Smith, art exhibit about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
  • Gretchen Carlson & Abby Honold, speaking up against sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • FairPlay MN, equitable space for women-trans-femme improvisers
  • Maiv PAC, first Hmong American women’s political action committee in the U.S.
  • Marva Lynn Shellenberger, Lego team coach brings ‘girl effect’ to STEM competition

2017 Changemakers

  • Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, with the Governor’s Office and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota 
  • WeARE The Clinic, offering sex education and resources to youth in Brainerd
  • First Nations Women’s Caucus: Mary Kunesh-Podein, Susan Allen, Jamie Becker-Finn and Peggy Flanagan
  • Sarah Rasmussen, artistic director of Jungle Theater
  • Ilhan Omar, first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the U.S.
  • Melissa Hortman, listening to women of color at the State Capitol
  • Hannah and Dave Edwards, fighting for their child’s transgender rights
  • Girls in Aviation Day
  • U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team, pay equity champions
  • Women’s March Marchers, “Nevertheless she persisted” to raise women’s voices

2018 Changemakers

  • Maria Regan Gonzalez, Minnesota’s First Latina Mayor (Richfield)
  • Der Vang, Hmong Village lawyer 
  • Eileen Hudon, Ogitchidakwe Council
  • Leslie Redmond, Minneapolis NAACP
  • Asma Mohammed, advocate for Muslim women to break silence about sexual abuse 
  • Jessie Diggins, part of a duo to win the first women’s medal in Olympic Cross Country, advocate about eating disorders
  • Kathy Hermes, legal protections for transgender people in Duluth
  • Me’Lea Connelly, Village Financial, Black-led credit union
  • Norah Shapiro, documentary filmmaker, “Time for Ilhan”
  • Kathy Magnuson & Norma Smith Olson, editors of Minnesota Women’s Press, 2003-2017

2019 Changemakers

  • Sarah Park Dahlen, researcher of diversity in children’s literature
  • Daniela R. Montoya-Barthelemy, doula and sexual health advocate
  • Kim Norton, Rochester mayor focused on building a sustainable community
  • Valerie Shirley, activist on behalf of the deaf Muslim community
  • Laura Connelly, UnTapped Inc., healing around trauma
  • Valerie Castile, activist around school lunch debt and police violence after death of son Philando Castile
  • Elaine Wynne, Veteran Resilience Project, bringing new technique to post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Antoinette Smith, representing for women of color in technology
  • Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Teri Greeves, curators of MIA exhibit of Native women artists
  • Joy Dolo, transform narratives through diversity in theater
  • Kari Larson (in memoriam), long-time Minnesota Women’s Press staff member

2020 Changemakers

  • Victoria McWane-Creek, Fergus Falls anti-racism facilitator
  • Markeela Toreen, organizing with elders in Lower Sioux Community during pandemic
  • Marny Xiong (posthumous), education activist
  • Magdalena Kaluza, tenants rights activist
  • Claire Avitabile, 20% Theatre Company founder
  • Ellen Longfellow, legal advocate for Muslims facing discrimination
  • The Alliance, bringing equity voices to development and policy decision-making tables
  • Teen Activists: Juwaria Jama, Monique Walker, Nyagach Kueth, Semhar Solomon
  • Women for Political Change, pivoting with mutual aid after uprising about George Floyd murder
  • Jael Kerandi, student who quickly worked to end University of Minnesota relationship with police

2021 Changemakers

  • Lucina Kayee, advocate for youth in the foster care system
  • Sue Purchase, independent public health provider focused on harm reduction and the opioid epidemic
  • Georgia Fort, holding mainstream media accountable
  • Irene Ochoa, over 30 years of service to survivors of gender based violence in the Latine community
  • Representative Kelly Moller and Representative Marion O’Neill, stronger sexual assault statues
  • Naheed and Yursa Murad, meeting the basic needs of Minnesota’s immigrant communities
  • Nancy Marie Beaulieu, educating on the importance of Native treaties
  • Sabine Engel, Climate Smart Municipalities 

2022 Changemakers

  • Seraphia Gravelle (Aguallo), racial justice leader on the Iron Range
  • Somali Sisters Network, networking for a stronger community
  • Missy Whiteman, amplifying real Indigenous stories with film
  • UnRestrict Minnesota Coalition, fighting for abortion rights in Minnesota
  • Sarah Ingram, prioritizing the mental and physical health of restaurant workers
  • Kimberly Pilgrim, strengthening families in transition

2023 Changemakers

  • Hli Xyooj, bridging the Hmong community
  • Mercedes Yarbrough, reimagining education one comic book at a time
  • Rhonda Martinson, policing the response to domestic violence
  • The people behind the 2023 legislature

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