From June 12, 2020 City Council meeting
At several neighborhood meetings this week, and flooding in through every communication channel, I’ve been asked about the pledge some of my colleagues took last Sunday. News outlets from seemingly everywhere. I wrote about this in my last newsletter. It’s important to understand that this event, on a stage at Powderhorn Park, had statements on large canvas but was not an official act of Council. And as I said in my last statement, I attended this rally to support the desire to transform the MPD, and to importantly bring my role in representing Southwest Minneapolis to show support for the transformation of MPD. I feel well prepared for the work ahead, and I will not lose sight of the potential for change. While I could not and did not take part in the pledge, I went to join the community conversation circles, and heard from people who live in other parts of our city- and beyond- about their experiences.
There’s a lot of common ground here.
At today’s regularly scheduled Council meeting we passed a resolution to move forward together, through “a year long process of community engagement, research, and structural change to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city.” The article below outlines how we can work together to propose deep, structural changes to public safety in Minneapolis. This resolution commits to community input and to specifically include the input of Black people, people of color, and organizations serving and representing people of color.
I’m all in. For the record.
There were two important things that we needed to accomplish with an official act of Council this week. First, we needed to come together as a unified body to show our resolve towards systemic change. Every member of the Council agrees that we need to approach the issues of police reform and public safety in a new way. This resolution shows that resolve. Secondly, we had to be clear in our commitments and especially in how to involve the public. Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, Council Member Steve Fletcher and I spent many hours negotiating every detail of this resolution.
Government moves faster when we all work together. Not just as a Council, but the Mayor’s office, the MN Department of Human Rights partnership, and beyond. I am deeply committed to those relationships and that work.
Today Mayor Frey also announced three new public safety task forces charged with developing new initiatives and policy recommendations, for structural changes. The three subgroups – national partners, local systems, and community partners – will begin meeting next week. These groups will supplement the Council’s work, with Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins serving as council liaison for the community engagement process.
I am proud of this first step today and grateful for the mountains of feedback that have helped to shape this path forward. Let’s not lose the politics of the possible. Creating a true community-led vision of public safety will take all of us working, sharing and listening together.