Vote for how to build bridges across faiths and cultures

A contest asking the public to pitch their best ideas on how to work across ethnic and religious lines is now open for a vote.

An eight-judge panel for the Minnesota Idea Open picked five ideas that it believes rose to the top of a field of more than 600 submissions. They finalists include:

- "Multicultural barn raisings" in which armies of volunteers would bring together people of various backgrounds to build playgrounds or work on home projects for the less fortunate (see YouTube video clip above);

- An oral history project featuring immigrants who have come to Steele County over the past 75 years;

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- A kid-friendly dialogue in which children can share face time with Minnesota leaders from all walks of life;

- A seven-step challenge led by young Muslim women encouraging conversations about Islam through activities ranging from church-hopping to handing out free pink hijabs;

- An exhibit of 8-by-12 tents, fashioned after those used in refugee camps, that tell the story of a different group persecuted because of its race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.

You can learn more about the submissions and cast your ballots here.