Personal Reflections on the 2021 Minneapolis and St. Paul Elections
In a year that has shown us how fragile our democracy can be, I am grateful for the record number of voters who made their voices count-it was the vivid show of democratic participation that has long defined what it means to be a Minnesotan.
Regardless of how you may have cast your ballot, we know that an overwhelming majority of us share the same urgent desire to reimagine public safety and ensure housing availability and affordability so that all of our neighbors can thrive.
It is possible to have multiple truths. In the heat of political campaigns, it’s all too easy to forget our common aspirations. We get further entrenched into our positions. After an election, we need to remember we are still neighbors. The work of our messy, amazing, pluralistic democracy continues long after Election Day and requires us to encourage more listening than talking, more hope than fear, more belonging than othering.
"In the heat of political campaigns, it’s all too easy to forget our common aspirations. After an election, we need to remember we are still neighbors."—TONYA ALLEN, PRESIDENT
Every person in our community-especially Black men-deserves the dignity of a respectful encounter with law enforcement and to return whole to their families. The police officers who join the ranks to honorably serve to keep communities safe deserve the same. There is an undeniable truth that we have a broken system. Our community deserves an end to violence—and everyone deserves true safety.
Every family-be it a single person or multi-generational households-deserves to live in a community where housing is affordable, stable, plentiful, and safe. We saw how renters and small-scale landlords alike struggled during the pandemic, exposing the need for smart, just policies and safeguards that protect families and landlords who rent fairly, so that our neighborhoods can thrive.
To paraphrase the poet Amanda Gorman, we all must lay down arms so that we can reach out our arms to each other, especially to those who voted differently than us. I am in no way suggesting this will be easy; actually, I am suggesting the opposite. We have to do the hard and rigorous work necessary and use our Minnesotan ingenuity to find solutions that deliver impact. With the world’s eyes on us, it is the only way we are going to successfully chart a course toward a more vibrant and equitable Minnesota.
As my grandmother used to say, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” It’s a lesson I take to heart often. We need everyone-all voices and perspectives-at the table to effectively confront our challenges and craft smarter approaches to rebuilding a stronger, safer community together.