"We all do better when we all do better." Those words don't resonate just because they are good words. They resonate because they were spoken by a leader who was devoted to giving them meaning.
Minneapolis has many candidates for office who are eager to say good words, but only a select few with the vision, courage and experience to rebuild our city with the equity, prosperity and safety they promise.
This year, Minneapolis residents have a historic opportunity to keep our city moving forward. The struggle to build a city that keeps everyone safe and ends violent systems designed to harm Black, brown, Native and poor people continues on the ballot this November.
In "These candidates can restore our city to sanity" (Opinion Exchange, April 12), Bill Rodriguez and Don Samuels astutely pointed out the urgent need for fresh leadership and a new path forward for the people of Minneapolis. We couldn't agree more. That's why we're puzzled by the endorsements made by their group, Operation Safety Now.
In the wake of the police killing of Daunte Wright, as militarized forces under Operation Safety Net invaded our communities, and as the murder trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin retraumatized our entire community, we are unified in our demand for change.
It's time for a new public safety system that works for everyone — no exceptions.
This year's election in Minneapolis — already in full swing with the DFL caucuses underway — finds our community in dire need of true progressive leadership. There are transformational candidates running for City Council this year with the courage, conviction and qualifications to rebuild Minneapolis safer, stronger, more prosperous and more secure for every person in every neighborhood.
The leaders we have endorsed embrace a vision of life-affirming institutions. They support investments in housing, health and community services that make our city safer. Incumbents on this list are committed to transformational change and led the practical fight for investments in new mental health teams, violence prevention programs, and the initiative to move nonviolent 911 calls out of Police Department to other city departments.
These leaders understand that at its heart, governing is about listening to people and knowing that we do have the power to create neighborhoods and a city where every person, no exception, is free to live a safe, secure, creative and joyful life.
These candidates stand up to institutions, and a mayor, who bafflingly believe the proper response to police violence is to turn our neighborhoods into Operation Safety Net military installations, compounding the harm and trauma already inflicted on our blocks.
Our endorsed candidates are unapologetic in their pursuit of justice and a democracy that works for everyone. Their bold visions align with the Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign, which will give city voters the power to update our city charter through a ballot amendment to create a new Department of Public Safety and transform safety in Minneapolis.
The people we endorse know that transforming the way we do public safety in Minneapolis will take really hard work. This is work candidates aligned with Mayor Jacob Frey and Operation Safety Now have not committed to, and which no mayor is capable of taking on alone. Building a city that works for everyone is much harder than reflexively spending more tax dollars on more guns, more helicopters and more cops.
Minneapolis will not find its way by deferring to the will of cynics and special interests, or by electing candidates who have pledged away their responsibility to lead. Regardless of their intentions, politicians who have sabotaged every opportunity for transformational change have proved themselves incapable of even imagining Minneapolis' best future, much less realizing it.
Right now, we have a choice: We can keep relying on a system designed to brutalize and kill Black people, or we can choose a new path forward, where all of us share equally in our city's prosperity and security.
Let's turn the page, and seize the opportunity to build back better, stronger and safer. By passing Yes 4 Minneapolis and electing leaders who will take major strides toward our shared vision for a Minneapolis reflective of our values — one where we are all doing better.
TakeAction Minnesota Endorsements for Minneapolis City Council
Second Ward: Robin Wonsley
Third Ward: Steve Fletcher
Fourth Ward: Phillipe Cunningham
Fifth Ward: Jeremiah Ellison
Seventh Ward: Nick Kor
Ninth Ward: Jason Chavez
10th Ward: Aisha Chughtai
11th Ward: Jeremy Schroeder
TakeAction Minnesota is a multiracial, multigenerational, grassroots membership organization. This letter was submitted by TakeAction Minnesota Political Committee members who live in Minneapolis: Amity Foster, Joey Giffen-Hunter, Halley Norman and committee co-chair Claudia Zavala.