In the backyard garden of a modest home on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota, two dozen people drink mojitos and chat on a humid Sunday afternoon.
One woman dons a shirt emblazoned with Che Guevara’s image. Another man wears a shirt advertising Havana Club rum. A banner reading “End the Blockade Now” drapes the backyard fence. Below it, in smaller words, is the name of the activist group meeting here: the Minnesota Cuba Committee.
People move inside to the basement to watch a documentary about a medical school in Cuba that trains aspiring doctors from around the world free of charge. One of the speakers featured in the documentary, Gail Walker, traveled from New York to be here this afternoon as a stop along her Midwest route to raise money for a humanitarian caravan to Cuba later this year.
After the film ends, Walker, executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, speaks about how her group facilitated getting 170 people from across the country medical degrees through Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine. She explains how the Cuban government is training these medical students, most of them people of color from low-income areas, to be “revolutionary doctors” who will “return to communities across the US that are in dire need of a perspective of medicine that really puts people first.”