Our trip has come to and end, and what a trip it was! Before we get nostalgic, let’s back-track:
We spent Wednesday morning exploring Iowa City and meeting Rusty the Giant Sloth at the Museum of Natural History (dude is really big!). We then hit the road for our longest stretch of driving towards Minnesota. On the way we stopped in Mason City, Iowa to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House (it was closed but we peeked in each window and Diana made up some facts about Wright that sounded like they could possibly be real).
The next morning it was an early interview with Qwill, a junior at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. The interview marked our first profile photo of a participant in a tree (yes, a tree). We then headed to St. Paul, MN to meet with two youth participants at SOY (Shades of Yellow) at the Hmong Cultural Center. Minneapolis is home to one of the largest Hmong populations in the United States. We met with two enthusiastic participants and learned a bit more about the Hmong culture.
We also met with Nhia, the SOY staffer brought on to coordinate community outreach for “Vote No on 1,” the marriage amendment bill on the ballot for the November 6 election. The bill (if passed) would prohibit marriage between two people of the same sex, essentially recognizing marriage as only the union between one man and one woman.
We then had dinner with Emiko Nakano (!!!), intern Sarah’s (wonderful) mother. She treated us to a home-made meal of sushi, tempura, soup, salad and finally green tea cake. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, if not the entire year!
Friday morning we met with Hannah, an interesting young woman studying religion and theater at Augsburg College with the hope of one day becoming a Lutheran pastor (a first for a We Are the Youth participant!)
We then headed to Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), where we met Kara, the head of the Gay Club (yes, it’s actually called “Gay Club,” how post-modern!), as well as some other rad new participants. In between MCAD interviews, we visited the Guthrie Theater and met another new participant who, ironically, will be starting MCAD in the spring.
Back at MCAD, after meeting with members of the Gay Club, we had dinner with Hot Sundae founder, Nicole Killian (a visiting artist/professor at MCAD) and her partner, Brittany (an adjunct professor at MCAD). Hot Sundae has done some design work for us in the past so it was a (big!) treat to hang out with Nicole in person!
Saturday morning was our last interview of the trip (with Sloan, another MCAD student, pictured below), after which we had a quick look around the Walker Art Center and then headed to the airport.
All things said and done, it was an amazing trip filled with amazing people. We really can’t say thank you enough to all the Kickstarer donors, friends, family, strangers, LGBT youth, community organizers, etc etc etc, who made this possible. It’s such a humbling experience to travel to new parts of the country and interview queer youth from various backgrounds. All of the participants have incredible and unique stories and it’s an honor to hear them and be able to share them with the world. Stay tuned for the new work and thank you again for all the support.