COMMUNITY VOICES | Organizing and representing the community


The votes were in and counted, and it was confirmed: a dedicated African American community leader from St. Paul won. Rena Moran is now representing District 65A and the community on Capitol Hill in St. Paul.

The compassion she has for community and her experience as a foot soldier working her way show in her involvement with grass roots organizations and programs she helped form such as  Leading Individuals and Families Together (LIFT) to end poverty.  Rena Moran partnered with Community Action and together they’re working to end poverty by 2020.

“Save our Homes” another program initiative by Rena Moran with community in mind, was created to preserve homes and community roots along the Central Corridor, made her a perfect candidate.

Rena Moran is an African American woman raised in Chicago, IL and mother of seven children.  Most optimists would think with odds like that her future may not be so bright. However, because Rena Moran “doesn’t see barriers, only opportunities,” she has overcome the myths and stereotypes some may have about  women in the African American culture: of no higher education, career government assistant recipient with multiple baby daddies. Through the organizing process, she “loves the idea of giving those who are so often under represented; the hope of achieving a better tomorrow.”  Her involvement illuminates the communities she touches.

It was all in the stars for Rena Moran. Ironically, it started with just one street. She felt that it was unjust that only half of her street got paved and she rallied with other supporters and meet with city officials to get them to pave the rest of her street; now she’s a government official. ”While doing community organizing,” she said, “I realized political organizing was just as important and the two go hand in hand.”

As an African American woman, Rena Moran realizes that “change doesn’t happen quickly” and that not enough people of color, especially African Americans throughout our communities, overcome impoverishment, but it makes her more determined to work harder towards a better and different outcome that recognizes and value all human beings.  Rena Moran’s love for engaging communities and wanting to create a more fair and just society, gave her the vision of becoming a lawmaker; she wanted to be “capable of enacting fair and equitable laws that represent all of Minnesota.”

Rena Moran’s life has been a testament of will and determination. She took advantage of the opportunities in her life and she has come from being homeless to being a homeowner; she’s overcome trials with triumphs, and from a community organizer to a state official, she’s proven that with hard work and the help of community it is possible to beat the cycle of poverty. Instead of looking up to gang members and dope pushers for role models, my people, let’s look at leaders who are a positive model in their roles.