Education is critical component to the health and future of our community. It’s also a deep expression of our commitment and promise to give our young people an equal chance to succeed at life. To better invest in our future, we must improve availability and accessibility of quality early childhood education for our youngest, let’s make sure there is equity in the K-12 system and that we're doing everything we can to close the academic achievement gap, and ensure that there are opportunities for our young people to be engaged in mentorship programs out of school as well as prevent the summer slide by providing youths with productive and safe activities.
We know that kids who start school behind are more likely to struggle academically and drop out. And when only 40% of students of color are graduating from high school on time, it's clear we need to start investing in our future from early education and through the K-12 experience to ensure that young people have the tools to succeed.
Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship
It's no secret that small businesses fuel our local economy and serve as job creators. These businesses are also our community’s greatest assets. They provide services/products; contribute to our economic well-being through taxes and gifts, and the employment of local people. By focusing on supporting workforce development programs and small business development efforts, we can harness the potential of the residents of the ward and inspire meaningful participation in the cities economy.
Public Safety & Social Justice
We need to cultivate better relationships between law enforcement officers and residents of the Ward in order to promote positive community policing efforts and ultimately keep our neighborhoods as safe as possible. This includes efforts to make sure law enforcement have the skills and understanding to work in diverse communities, as well as creating positive opportunities for ward residents and law enforcement to interact better outside the usual settings in order to solve problems.
Young people, and particularly youth, are increasingly getting caught in the "system" for petty crimes and misdemeanors. A young offender's first interaction with police often taints their record and makes it impossible for them to move beyond that mistake. With law enforcement and other civil rights agencies, we can identify alternatives to give young people the opportunity to become productive members of society before resorting to harsh sentences that fail to provide a remedy for criminal actions.
Housing & Environmental Justice
Currently, only 21% of low-income households in Minneapolis have access to affordable housing, the rest are paying too much for housing, living in sub-standard living conditions, or are highly mobile. Mobility causes deep issues with families, particularly those with children in the K-12 education system, as highly mobile kids they are less lucky to perform well in school. But this isn't an issue we hear about enough because low-income households aren't represented in policy circles. While local leaders hear from homeowners often, the of renters often go unheard. As someone who hears frequently from low-income renters, I'm here to amplify their concerns.
We also need to ensure that our neighborhoods have equitable access to public transportation, libraries, and a vibrant mix of commercial and public assets. In addition to the availability of low-income housing, we must also promote mixed income living so that we're not creating inequitable or racist housing patterns. Great things happen when people from range of ethnic, economic, and social experiences live together.
Diversity & Inclusion
The most exciting part of this campaign has been bringing people together – first time caucus goers and seasoned political organizers – to shape this campaign. From the very beginning, this campaign was all about making sure that ALL communities, particularly low income communities who are often left out of the table, are able to represent themselves throughout all aspects of public life and are heard on the issues that impact their lives. We must create an inclusive City where residents feel comfortable and have the power to influence the issues they face as individuals, families, and communities.
I don't believe that we can talk about low-income housing, the achievement gap, representative leadership, or other local issues without bringing people together who are impacted by these questions. In fact, the most sustainable solution to local issues occurs when those impacted are empowered to shape solutions. Additionally, our City benefits when we bring diverse voices together and those with differing life experiences and backgrounds are represented. People are more likely to contribute to and give back to their community when they are civically engaged.