BCLI Graduates its 11th Cohort!

On Thursday April 4, 2024, the Nexus Twin Cities Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) held its annual graduation ceremony. This year, the BCLI graduated 12 fellows in its 11thcohort. These graduates join the Twin Cities BCLI alumni network, now 157 strong. Congratulations to BCLI cohort 11!

BCLI cohort 11 graduates. a multiracial mixed gender group of people standing smiling at the camera.

The evening began with networking and a Soul Bowl catering, including mac and cheese, collard greens, and jerk chicken. Nexus President and CEO Repa Mekha kicked off our program welcoming and congratulating the fellows. He said, “thank you for joining a deep network of passionate community leaders. We are excited to see you grow, evolve, and continue to advocate for equity in spaces of power.”

Next, the cohort was honored by our keynote speaker, PaChia Yang, a Labor Standards Investigator for the City of Saint Paul with extensive experience in labor law, civil rights law, and more. Previously, she worked with the Minnesota State legislature and clerked for a Minnesota District Court Judge. She is a first generation Hmong American who grew up watching her parents organize and fight to make systems like health care and education more inclusive of new Americans. Her parents’ dedication to social justice inspired her to pursue a career of public service.

PaChia congratulated the fellows on the strides they have taken to gain seats at the table and to make lasting policy change. She told the graduates, “you are agents of change who are joining a capable body of alumni. Together, you will move the needle on health equity, transit equity, sustainable development, and more. Use your voices to speak truth to power and to make meaningful changes in the lives of every day people. These actions will reverberate for generations to come.”

The night ended with each fellow receiving a Graduation Certificates and framed artwork by local movement artist Ricardo Levins Morales.

This year’s 11th graduating Twin Cities BCLI cohort members were:

  • Ahmed Makaraan
  • Alex Abraha
  • Antisar Vickers
  • Chrstina Nicholson
  • Ferome Brown
  • Melissa Grimes
  • Rasjus Jackson
  • Rhea Koehler
  • Roxanne Draughn
  • Sakawdin Mohamed
  • Sonia Warmuth
  • Victoria McWane-Creek

Congratulations to the Twin Cities BCLI fellows of 2023-2024!