ChangeMakers

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ChangeMakers is a series from MPR News showcasing Minnesotans from diverse, often underrepresented backgrounds who are making an impact. Whether they’re making history or making a difference for just one person, these individuals are leaders building new futures for their communities. Scroll down to meet our ChangeMakers.

Leigh Finke helped make Minnesota a 'trans refuge' state
Finke, 41, made history last November when she won her election for the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the first openly transgender person to ever serve in the Minnesota Legislature.
13 trans and nonbinary people making an impact in the Twin Cities and beyond
They’re pioneering gender-affirming health care, bringing trans and nonbinary representation to city and state government, paving the way for trans and nonbinary musicians and comedians, and more.
Care about punk music, trans history or both? You need to know Venus DeMars
DeMars, 63, formed her first band and came out as trans in the ‘80s. She’s full of stories and wisdom from more than three decades as an out trans rock star in Minnesota.
ChangeMakers: Jeong Eun Park’s cabaret troupe is by and for transgender people
Park, 52, has made a career of an unlikely collection of skills: drag and therapy. The Minneapolis-based therapist not only provides relationship and family counseling, but also organizes the performing troupe Transcendence Cabaret.
ChangeMakers: Reneka Evans has dedicated her life to helping Black trans women
Evans, 54, has been working in community health care in Minnesota for more than two decades. She currently works as the LGBTQ+ community lead for the Minnesota Department of Health as part of its COVID-19 community response.
For two-spirit legislator Alicia Kozlowski, community is everything
Kozlowski, 35, made history last fall when they became Minnesota’s first nonbinary legislator. Their path to office started with a running group for women and gender-expansive people called KwePack.
Jada Pulley makes space for LGBTQ+ performers
Pulley, 28, is a nonbinary improv performer and theater artist, cofounder of the Queer and Funny Improv Festival, and a house manager for HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis.
Seal Dwyer heals trauma, connects LGBTQ+ community in St. Cloud
Dwyer, 42, is a nonbinary licensed marriage and family therapist. As a fifth-generation Stearns County resident, they’re focused on supporting the growing LGBTQ+ community in St. Cloud.
ChangeMakers: Cameron PajYeeb Yang is an activist for the Hmong community
Cameron PajYeeb Yang is a queer, transgender, nonbinary Hmong activist working on issues from police use-of-force to gender-based violence in the Hmong community.
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