20 Under 40: Breanna Ellison

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Breanna Ellison (Tyler Schank /

Breanna Ellison, 24, Duluth

What do you do? (job, community involvement)

I'm an organizer with TakeAction Minnesota. I do both community and political organizing both in Duluth and statewide. Outside of organizing, I serve on the Community Development Committee with the city of Duluth, and I play broomball with Twin Ports Broomball.

How do you spend your free time?

I really enjoy hanging out and spending time with other people. I'm an extrovert so I really flourish being able to joke, laugh and build with others. I've also gotten into mountain biking in the past few years and really appreciate the trail system we have in Duluth. I like to spend time playing music when I'm feeling creative as well.

Tell us about an influential person in your life.


It's really hard to pick just one person because my life has been impacted by so many people. My parents have been super influential in who I am and how I express myself and move through the world. My dad taught me to think critically and question everything. My mom taught me to use my voice unapologetically.

In Duluth specifically, I'm inspired by other strong BIPOC community leaders who are getting into the "good trouble," especially Terresa and Jordon Moses, Daniel and Sandra Oyinloye, and Alicia Kozlowski. They are the people I look to for an example of how to consistently give back to and improve our community.

Where is your favorite place in Duluth/Superior?

This is a tough one! I'd have to say that my favorite place in the Twin Ports is on the shores of Lake Superior at sunrise. There is something so beautiful and centering about starting a day watching the sun rise over the greatest great lake.

What have you learned in your time spent at home during the pandemic?

In terms of literal things learned, I've become a better baker. I've learned how to overcome the barriers that COVID has created to still be able to connect and build relationships with others across the community, even though digital meetings are inherently more awkward than in-person ones. A bigger takeaway: Value today, even the tedious parts, because you never know if tomorrow will bring a life-changing pandemic.

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Breanna Ellison (Tyler Schank / free

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