Isabelle Wong is a University of Minnesota Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student as well as a senior at Apple Valley High School. She first joined the political sphere so that she could help her and other underrepresented voices be heard by interning for a couple of politicians and joining her school district’s legislative advisory council. Isabelle continues her activism as the Logistics director of MN Youth for Climate Justice and District 2’s representative on the MN Youth Council. In her free time, she loves spending time with family and friends getting boba. Isabelle is so excited to continue growing as an organizer and person during her time at YEA!

About My Campaign

According to the Guardian, the climate crisis may create 150 million climate refugees by 2050. And we can already see the beginnings of it. In December of 2019, more than 300,000 people were displaced by a huge flood in Jakarta, Indonesia. Earlier that year, CNN reported that the Indonesian government planned to move the capital from Jakarta which is one of the fastest sinking cities in the world to Borneo. As an Asian American with family overseas, it’s scary to know they might be affected. When researching popular places to escape the effects of climate-related natural disasters, Minneapolis and St. Paul are ranked among the highest. Not only will the weather stay relatively calm but the Twin Cities are both “sanctuary cities.”

A sanctuary city could have a different meaning in varying locations but in most cases, it means that those cities don’t use local law enforcement to assist in the detention of undocumented immigrants. In order to offer a more welcome place for the influx of climate refugees to come, my main goal for my YEA! Campaign Cohort is to turn my home city, Apple Valley, into a sanctuary city. This would require a resolution to be passed by the City Council and the mayor.

As a start, I have started to connect with more people to learn about the process of immigration and becoming a sanctuary city. I plan to be interviewing actual climate refugees in the next few weeks and will be able to use their stories to write a medium as evidence of the importance of sanctuary cities as well as the hardships climate refugees go through. After I’ve officially finished putting together all my evidence, I will meet with the City Council and the mayor to present them my case to make Apple Valley a sanctuary city.