As fairgoers begin the day with excitement and energy around the Great Minnesota Get-Together, it is critical that we acknowledge how the State Fair has always been a place of oppression for people of color. The Minnesota Territory ran its first territorial fair in 1854. The 1857 census shows fewer than 100 black residents in Minneapolis and St. Paul combined. The fair became the state fair in 1859, one year after Minnesota’s statehood. It has taken place in 151 of the 156 subsequent years, only being canceled for reasons such as war and polio outbreaks.
Danielle Wong speaks: Passion, brilliance and what we talk about when we talk about young people of color
Every year, ThreeSixty Journalism, a nonprofit program at University of St. Thomas for young, journalists, designates an exceptional participant as that year’s ThreeSixty Scholar. That person receives a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to study journalism and communication at St. Thomas. This year, that honor goes to Danielle Wong, a 17-year-old high school graduate from Lakeville.
People do occasionally ask her – and her parents – how she does it.
“Definitely not by myself,” she said.
Wong insists that she’s met countless people who have taken their time to help her. But the motivation, the drive, the passion – that’s all her.
“My parents have never been the ones to push me to do something I don’t want to do – except learn Chinese,” she said.
Most people who know or have worked with Wong will talk about how young she is. She recently turned 17, but she’s already planning for her freshman year at St. Thomas, excelling at a summer internship with ThreeSixty and writing for Tommiemedia, St. Thomas’ campus news source. Most students studying journalism at St. Thomas will have to wait for their junior or senior year for the same honor. She also blogs and occasionally acts for Mu Performing Arts, a theater company that produces performances from the Asian American experience.
This week, $15 minimum wage campaign wins court case to appear on Minneapolis ballot, Green Party candidate Jill Stein promises “New New Deal,” and two Minnesota colleges named LGBTQ-friendly.
In certain circles, shooting an unarmed person of color in front of a child is only awful if we can prove that the victim deserved to live. For them, respectability sources the right to draw air.