Grace Deng

Grace Deng

Grace Deng was a reporting intern with the Minnesota Reformer. They studied legal studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. The Seattle native has previously been a statehouse intern with USA TODAY Network Ohio and an editorial fellow with Washingtonian Magazine.

‘My first smile came in the homeless shelter, because I was painting.’

By: - June 13, 2023

Every usable surface in Ellie Allakhverdiyev’s one-bedroom Edina apartment is cluttered with art supplies. There’s a large easel by the window, canvases and prints tucked away under an end table and shelves upon shelves of paint jars and brushes. In the kitchen, Alice in Wonderland-inspired prints are scattered across the counter. Allkhverdiyev holds one of […]

A new force in progressive politics: doctors and medical students

By: - May 9, 2023

Austen Ott came out to their doctor in middle school before they came out to anyone else.  “I felt like the doctor’s office was supposed to be a safe place,” Ott said. “Instead I was being told that ‘Some people feel these things. You’re not supposed to talk about it and you’re supposed to repress […]

Payday loans trap Minnesotans in a cycle of debt

By: - March 22, 2023

It started with a $300 loan. Desiree Smith was already surviving paycheck to paycheck when she suffered a severe concussion. After spending all of her paid time off on medical appointments and physical therapy, she was forced to take unpaid time off of work. She had to pay her bills somehow. For Smith, a payday […]

Dora Zaidenweber, 99-year-old Holocaust survivor, tells state lawmakers: “Mass murder can happen”

By: - March 15, 2023

When Dora Zaidenweber first came to the United States in 1950 after surviving Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, some people did not believe the Holocaust happened — and that it certainly could not happen in America.  “Not only all students, but everybody — everybody in Minnesota educated — should have a knowledge of the dangers […]

Minnesota Senate passes universal free school meals; bill heads back to House

By: - March 14, 2023

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill 38-26 to provide free school breakfast and lunch for all Minnesota students. The bill (HF5) will have to go back to the House for a concurring vote before making its way to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk for his signature. Walz supports the legislation and included universal free […]

Legislature week in review: Driver’s Licenses for All, gender-affirming care and Indian Child Welfare Act

By: and - March 10, 2023

This week, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, while Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers advanced a bill to protect families with trans children traveling to Minnesota for gender-affirming care,  and moved a bill to Walz’s desk codifying Indian Child Welfare Act language ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling […]

A young girl with brown hair carrying colorful teddy bear in blue pajamas sits in between the legs of adults in dark and neutral clothes. The girl looks up at her brother and the adults. The teddy bear is almost as big as the girl.

Families with transgender children seek refuge in Minnesota

By: - March 9, 2023

Louie Bullock was 17 years old when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state to investigate families with children receiving gender-affirming care for child abuse. Bullock, who is non-binary, said that’s when they knew their home in a small town outside of Austin was no longer safe.  “There had been moments where I would just […]

Walz signs executive order reaffirming right to gender-affirming care in Minnesota

By: - March 8, 2023

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed a mostly symbolic executive order reaffirming the right to access gender-affirming care in Minnesota for trans and gender non-conforming people.  “In this state, hate has no home,” Walz said at the signing while surrounded by Minnesotan families with trans children and gender-affirming care providers. “In this state, love and […]

Undocumented Minnesotans regain right to obtain driver’s licenses

By: - March 7, 2023

Over 80,000 undocumented Minnesotans will soon be able to get a driver’s license. Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday signed “Driver’s Licenses for All” legislation into law, undoing former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s unilateral 2003 order requiring proof of legal residence to obtain a Minnesota driver’s license.  At the signing, elected officials credited advocates and community […]

Legislature week in review: Lawmakers advance bills increasing labor rights, expanding voting rights, regulating PFAS chemicals

By: and - March 3, 2023

With a bit more than 10 weeks left in the legislative session, Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers remain busy, advancing a number of bills including voting rights expansion, PFAS chemical regulation and protections against wage theft. On Gov. Tim Walz’s desk: Walz signed “Restore the Vote” legislation Friday morning, giving more than 55,000 Minnesotans the right to vote […]

Walz signs bill giving people still on parole or probation right to vote

By: - March 3, 2023

Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill on Friday restoring the right to vote for over 55,000 Minnesotans still on parole or probation. “We’re a country of second chances. We’re a country of welcoming folks back in,” Walz said. “And the idea of not allowing those voices to have a say in the very governing of […]

Driver’s licenses for all, voting rights restoration bills clear final hurdle; Walz will sign

By: - March 2, 2023

Minnesota House lawmakers on Thursday voted to concur with the Senate on a bill to give undocumented residents driver’s licenses and a bill to allow people still on parole or probation to vote.  The driver’s licenses bill (HF4), known as “Driver’s Licenses for All,” would impact the estimated 81,000 undocumented immigrants who live in Minnesota […]