With so much uncertainty and negative news it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But as a refugee, I learned to accept that I am here. And rather than fight against that reality, I focused on where I wanted to go. That journey brought me to Austin, Minnesota and then to Riverland Community College and finally to LeadMN.
My journey at LeadMN over the past two years has been an experience that I will not soon forget. There are some that hope for change. At LeadMN we make change happen. Students have a unique voice that needs to be heard now more than ever and LeadMN gave me the tools to make sure that I was able to take my passion and personal story to create a better world.
Growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya, I knew what food insecurity was. Every month my family would get a ration that we would need to last us the entire month. There was no going out to the grocery store to pick up more food when we ran out. When I came to United States, I thought that I would never experience the pain of hunger again. I thought that this is the land of opportunity, that no one goes hungry in America. But then I enrolled in college and faced a large tuition and textbook bill that drained all my money. I went to go get some food, but I could not even afford the french fries.
The Fight Against Food Insecurity
Two in five community college students in Minnesota face food insecurity on a regular basis. I got involved in LeadMN because I want to make sure that college students can focus on their classes and not on where their next meal is going to come from. Over the last two years at LeadMN, we have raised the awareness of policymakers that more needs to be done to support students that experience food insecurity.
That is why I was so proud to lead the fight for the Hunger Free Campus Act. This year, 16 colleges across Minnesota followed the road map to begin to address the problem of food insecurity on campus. These changes will make a meaningful impact on the lives of students on those campuses because now there is a group of faculty, staff and students working together to make sure that those students can get access to the resources they need. While there is still more work to be done, we are proud of the impact that we have had on community college students. Read more about the impact here.
Below are all the victories that we should celebrate this year.