Danielle Wong is University of St. Thomas' 2016 ThreeSixty Scholar. Photo by Annabelle Marcovici.

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. Continue Reading

toxic stress

“I’m ready to die” Jamar Clark, school violence and toxic stress

What does it say when, within a minute of the police arriving, a young black man speaks those words? And when, within 61 seconds, that young black man lies dead? What does it say when teachers who are worried about their (and their students’) safety are labeled racist? What does it say when the vast majority of our children who grow up in worlds of “toxic stress” are low-income students and students of color? It says a lot about us, about our disregard for our children, particularly the most vulnerable. Continue Reading


McCollum, Ellison cosponsor resolution calling for end to conversion therapy

Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison are cosponsors of a resolution in the U.S. House that calls on states to ban conversion therapy for minors. The Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California. McCollum and Ellison are among 34 co-sponsors of the resolution.The SHOK resolution states, in part:It is the sense of Congress that sexual orientation and gender identity or expression change efforts directed at minors are discredited and ineffective, have no legitimate therapeutic purpose, and are dangerous and harmful.Congress encourages each State to take steps to protect minors from efforts that promote or promise to change sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental illness or developmental disorder that can or should be cured.“It’s time to end this abusive quackery masquerading as medicine,” Speier said in statement. “Being transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual is not a disease to be cured or a mental illness that requires treatment. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Documentary film hires north Minneapolis youth to challenge dominant narratives

In September of 2013, I joined the Community Technology Empowerment Project AmeriCorps, or CTEP (“C-tep”) for short. I’ve spent the last year promoting digital access and literacy with my cohort of 30-some fellow AmeriCorps members throughout the Twin Cities. That’s where I met Adja Gildersleve. Adja has a vision. She is, among other things, a documentarist, and wants to engage our local communities in dialogue about issues she’s passionate about, like racial and social equity, empowerment of community voices, and digital literacy. She had been dreaming up this particular project for a while, and has been so excited to make it into a reality. Continue Reading