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Our View: ‘Rise Up’ program offers a lift to non-white students

Efforts such as this, however small, serve the goal of creating the equitable society most of us desire.

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A dearth of opportunities for people of color in Rochester and elsewhere across Minnesota create a dynamic in which there’s not really one Minnesota, but two.

“If you’re white, you’re doing really well,” says Wale Elegbede, president of the Rochester branch of the NAACP. “If you’re Black, or Hispanic, or Native American -- maybe not. … We’re leaving a lot of untapped potential.”

An effort to bridge the two worlds is found in a new program co-sponsored by the NAACP in partnership with Mayo Clinic . Called “Rise Up,” the four-week program introduces 20 non-white high school students, juniors and seniors, to career opportunites in health care and science.

“The goal is to maximize human potential,” said Dr. Anjali Bhagra, the medical director for the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

Efforts such as this, however small, serve the goal of creating the equitable society most of us desire. Thumbs up.


‘Significant achievement’ at the ‘U’

Another promising equity initiative was announced last week at the University of Minnesota. The ‘U’ and its affiliated campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston and Rochester will begin to offer “substantial financial support,” in many cases including free tuition, to members of Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations .

The assistance will be available beginning next fall. The program has long been in effect at the fifth U of M campus, in Morris, where more than 6,000 students have benefitted from it over the last six decades.

Some of the rollout details of the Native American Promise Tuition Program are still being worked out. But on the face of it, this certainly appears to be the “significant achievement” that university President Joan Gabel described it as in her announcement. Thumbs up.

Drug overdoses are up -- you can help

A shot can save a life.

No, we’re not talking about the COVID-19 vaccine. In this case, the life-saving jab would come courtesy of the opioid overdose reversal medication Narcan/naloxone.

A class on how to administer the shots is being held on two dates this week : 7 p.m. Thursday at Christ United Methodist Church and 9 a.m. Friday at the Salvation Army Community Center.

A rising rate of drug overdose is one unfortunate product of the pandemic year. Such overdoses occurred 18% more often in 2020, compared to the previous year. There were 427 overdose deaths in the state in 2019, the most recently reported year.

The classes are being offered by Zumbro Valley Medical Society, in partnership with the Steve Rummler HOPE Network. You don’t have to sign up to reserve your spot. Simply show up. Admission is free.


Attending one of these classes might be -- literally -- a life-saver. Thumbs up.

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