Hennepin County Commissioner Board has been all white since 1852 – and that might end on Nov. 6

This piece is part of Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series covering the 2018 elections season. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents. “If you want to know if you are going the right way, follow women of color because we know where justice is. We are closest to the pain, which makes us closest to the solutions. Continue Reading

New politicians, renewed responsibility for constituents to hold them accountable

In the 2017 election, the Minneapolis government experienced the largest shakeup in local government in recent history. Along with new mayor, Jacob Frey, the city council received five new members as well. With a new progressive majority on the City Council, local advocates are looking forward to the next four years but also realize they can’t be complacent in holding candidates accountable. Alex Boutrous, president of the Minnesota Young DFL (MYDFL) is feeling positive about the potential for change. “We have this very young and progressive council who is really committed to doing this work and really moving our city forward in creative ways,” said Boutrous. Continue Reading

Three years after ‘Ban the Box,’ Minnesota ex-offenders find mixed prospects upon re-entry

With a first degree possession of a firearm and a second degree possession of a controlled substance on his record, Jason Sole had a tough time finding meaningful work when he got out of prison. “[Employers] didn’t see my value, they only saw me as a deficit,” said Sole. His first job out of prison was working at a Holiday Inn for $10 an hour.  Sole pointed out that employers know there are a limited amount of jobs, so when they see you’re an ex-offender, they take advantage of it. “The things they make you do because you’re an ex-offender is appalling,” adding, “They just wanted me to be a worker, they weren’t trying to make me a boss.”

Sole didn’t want anybody to be able to oppress him so he figured out how to be his own boss. Continue Reading