Power Where There's People
To my community,
The Northside is my home. I'm an artist. I painted my first mural at age 8 on the corner of Plymouth and Dupont — the building is no longer there, but I am. North Minneapolis is where my political consciousness grew, it’s where my social consciousness grew. And I think it's time our local leadership be a true reflection of a community that raises hard workers, great teachers, and storytellers.
As an artist and organizer I've dedicated myself to propping up the genius of the community. I've collaborated with young people as a teaching artist and as a homeless youth counselor — helping to equip them with tools to create new reflections of their community, envision bold futures for themselves, and tell stories no one else will tell about us.
I've been, and still am, invested in popular, political education for the people of the Northside. We don't simply need to be invited to have a "seat at the table", but to collectively develop cooperative community ownership, worker owned businesses, and community land trusts that ensure North Minneapolis is a place where working class people can thrive.
I've been a fighter for workers' rights. We need a local economy that works in solidarity with the people by elevating their wages, supporting their education and helping them build wealth. We need clean air and water, and access to healthy, locally sourced food.
We need community safety measures that replace conventional wisdom with actual wisdom. We need to address the root causes of youth violence. We need to tip the scales of power between the publicly funded, uniformly trained police force and the racially + economically diverse, collective of individuals that make up a neighborhood.
I want us all to get involved. Not only in the way we are expected to, but in a way that affirms our neighbors and our talents, whether you're a welder, a bus driver, a teacher, or a small business owner. Let’s be the storytellers the Northside needs. Let's imagine a future for the Northside authored by Northsiders, honoring the stories that have been written here: stories that don't simply include us, but are for us.
–Jeremiah Bey Ellison