At 22, Raie Gessesse isn’t waiting to inspire change. Appointed by former Gov. Mark Dayton, she served as a member of the first-ever Young Women’s Cabinet, working to elevate the voices of future female leaders, and received a $2,500 microgrant to invest in her vision as a Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Innovator. She currently trains young women to run for office as Midwest Program Manager for IGNITE National, and aspires to run for office herself someday. She graduated in May from Hamline University with a double major in public health and political science, and hopes to begin law and public policy school this fall. Gessesse is Minnesota-born, but her story begins in a different place.
Q: Let’s start at the beginning. How would you describe your childhood?
A: I was born in Minnesota, but I like to start with my parents’ story. My parents were born and raised in Ethiopia. When my mother was pregnant with me, they received notice that they had won a diversity visa; this is a lottery program that allows people to gain permanent residency in the United States. They first came to Boston in 1998 but heard Minnesota was the place to be to start a job. They arrived here with nothing but a vision and a dream and a baby.
Q: Your lovely name certainly attests to that dream.
A: Raie (pronounced Rah-EE) means “God’s vision.”
Q: I’m guessing that in 1998, your parents faced challenges as emigrants. What have they told you?
A: We have a…
Read More: Minn. advocate for racial, gender equity is first in our ‘Inviting Conversations’ dialogue about