Minneapolis’s “Step Up” Turns 20

This week’s edition covers stories from December 29th to January 4th, 2023. Today’s issue is 812 words, a 6.2minute read.

Helene and Nyabang talk about Minneapolis’s Step Up program celebrating its 20th year, Drivers Licenses for All 2023, and Pele’s death.

Helene here! With Isabella away this week, I’m excited to introduce you all to Nyabang, NewPublica’s Community Engagement Specialist! She’ll be contributing to NewPrensa this week and sharing some of the news that impacted her the most. Things are very collaborative around NewPublica, so even though Nyabang may not be a regular face of NewPrensa, I’m sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear from her. 

A young Step Up intern 📸  Achieve Twin Cities

It’s the 20th anniversary of Step Up this year. Have you heard of it? Here’s their mission statement, to give you an idea of what it’s all about: “Step Up brings together Minneapolis young people with Twin Cities employers through internships and training that build careers and lead to a diverse, skilled, and equitable workforce.” The interns are between 14-21 years old and get matched up with participating employers around Minneapolis. The internships are really diverse, and you can read a list of the employers here. The entire process of participating in Step Up begins in January (starting right now!), when the application opens, and once interns are accepted into the program they go through work readiness training and then once paired with their internship, they have a career coach to follow them throughout the summer.

Step Up is a partnership of the City of Minneapolis, Achieve Twin CitiesCareerForce Minneapolis and Project for Pride in Living. I think it’s so great to see success stories of young people from the Twin Cities contributing their knowledge to local businesses and, in turn, local businesses and organizations investing in this opportunity. Mutually-aiding communities prosper! If you or someone you know is interested in applying or learning more, visit the Step Up website here.

Sen. Zaynab Mohamed at a “Driver’s Licenses for All” press conference 📸  Grace Deng | Minnesota Reformer

One last thing from me today! A coalition called “Driver’s Licenses for All 2023” has found new footing as the Minnesota House and Senate are welcomed back. After the election, Minnesota found itself with a legislative “trifecta”, meaning that Democrats control the House, Senate, and the governor’s office. Inspired by this control, Driver’s Licenses for All 2023, which is fighting for legislation to allow undocumented Minnesotans the ability to apply for drivers licenses, called for support this past Tuesday. This fact sheet paints a nice picture of the benefits of passing relevant legislation. It seems undeniable that allowing undocumented neighbors to pursue drivers licenses would create safer roads for everyone and allow immigrants to get to work safely! 18 states already allow anyone, regardless of their immigration status, to obtain licenses. I hope Minnesota joins them!

Nyabang here. Feliz Año Nuevo to the world! I hope everyone had a great 2022 full of blessings. I had a fantastic 2022 year because I got my job at New Publica as the Community Engagement Specialist. I’m happy to bring my engagement skills and work in a welcoming family-oriented environment. I’m blessed, excited, and thrilled to start this incredible chapter in 2023 with New Publica. I know 2022 wasn’t easy for all of us but remember do not give up on yourself and those that you love.

Pelé (center) with young fan, Italy vs Brazil, San Siro Stadium, Milan, May 12, 1963 📸 Public domain image

This year, the world has lost some great leaders including the greatest soccer player from BrazilEdson Arantes do Nascimento (aka Pelé) died on December 29, 2022, at age 82. To many around the world, Pelé was considered the greatest soccer player of all time. Before his passing, I decided to watch his documentary on Netflix because I wanted to understand the hype about this man. I had skimmed through sports articles years before but never actually learned about Pele. So when I decided to finally watch Pelé on Netflix, I was very impressed. I sat down with my loved one to Watch Pelé and thought, Wow! This guy loved soccer, people, and Brazil. I remember sitting there watching this incredible 17 year old  black boy from Tres Coracoes, Minas Gerais Brazil lead Brazil to its first World Cup win against Sweden in 1958.

The winning of the World Cup in 1958 put Pele on the world stage but it also put Brazil on the world map. Pelé would go on to win two more World Cups with Brazil in 1962 and 1970. Pelé would complete his World Cup success by earning 77 goals, more than all players in Brazil except Neymar who tied him. Brazil was going through a lot of political unrest but Pele and his soccer skills, warm smile, positive energy, and love helped unite the divided Brazil. Pelé committed himself to his people in Brazil and always made sure to shine a positive light on his home country. Pelé was a great competitor, father, friend, grandfather, husband, and advocate. Pelé brought the world together with a soccer ball and a heart of gold on and off the field. Since his passing, Brazilians and people all over the world have taken to the streets to celebrate the great Pelé. Yesterday, January 3, 2022, he was laid to rest in Memorial Necropole cemetery near Santos stadium where it all started for him.

That’s all from us this week! Stay warm, Minnesota! 
Nyabang and Helene

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