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  • Writer's pictureTodd Barnes

Barnes, Blaze, and The Link MN, begin new fellowship cohort

15 talented young people from North Minneapolis participate in the third 'We Will Breathe' fellowship, a health recovery initiative sponsored by Minnesota Department of Health and Hennepin County

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--On Thursday, September 14, fifteen diverse young people gathered to begin the third 'We Will Breathe' cohort, a fellowship which meets throughout the month to pour over the words in the book, Deconstruction Zone, written by Todd Michael Barnes and Lewis "Lewiee Blaze" McCaleb. The fellowship name, 'We Will Breathe' was developed as a response to the murders of Eric Gardner in New York City and George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN.

During each fellowship session, participants gather to share their thoughts on the content written Deconstruction Zone book, express their mutual appreciation for each other, and engage in fiery, yet meaningful debates about hidden subtext. Deconstruction Zone was written as a collective action curriculum, encouraging readers to move from a place of See Me, to I See, learn new ways of losing Psychic Pounds and rebooting who we are. The book focuses on developing a talent-informed lens, not just a trauma-informed lens.

Every other session, youth participate in a broader adventure or field trip designed to introduce them to the many options available to them in their own backyards, and emphasize that we all have the right to enjoy our many lakes, rivers, forests, cities, streets, and treasure destinations we hold dear; that there are no second-class citizens or residents.

The fellowship is co-facilitated by Barnes, Blaze, and program director at The Link MN, TaShonda Williamson. Williamson and The Link are responsible for recruiting the talented young people.

When asked what he thought of the new cohort, co-facilitator Lewis McCaleb said, "This cohort felt like a cascade of new beginnings. Our youth in this cohort exemplify leadership, transparency, and made it clear they are ready to put in work. We already have a strong bond as a team. I'm so grateful for our fellows and excited for this journey."

'We Will Breathe' is a health recovery fellowship brought to you by The Link MN, N4 Collective, and Equity News Network, sponsored by Hennepin County and Minnesota Department of Health. This cohort of young people will continue their fellowship work until the graduation ceremony in December 2023.

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