Who knew that the 3 biggest proponents of defunding the Minneapolis Police Department – councillors Andrea Jenkins, and Phillipe Cunningham, and Alondra Cano – would be spending $4,500 a day on private security? While we understand that no councillor deserves to receive personal threats to their safety, neither should residents.
Surely they should lead by example and be the first to live by the very system they expect the rest of the city to live by. How strange that these were some of the same people who endorsed an advisory telling residents to obey criminals and hand over their wallets, purses and smartphones while insisting their safety is still paramount.
What could possibly go wrong?
The profiles of the three councillors bear some attention.
Why do they insist on self-promoting their history of activism? Note the detailed descriptions of their identities contained in the personal summaries directly copy & pasted from the Minneapolis Council website. One council member is even proud to list that she has been arrested and handcuffed before. Was this advertised on her campaign posters, flyers and correx boards?
Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Jenkins has experience working in community development in North Minneapolis, and in delivering social services in South Minneapolis.
Jenkins moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979 and was hired by the Hennepin County government, where she worked for a decade. Jenkins worked as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.
Andrea holds a Masters Degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a Bachelors Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, a 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion, and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships.
Phillipe M. Cunningham (pronounced fil-LEAP) is the Minneapolis City Council Member representing the 4th Ward in North Minneapolis. He is the first and currently only out trans man of color elected to office in the United States. Prior to being elected and unseating a 50-year family political dynasty in 2017, Council Member Cunningham served former Mayor Betsy Hodges as her Senior Policy Aide for education, racial equity, and LGBTQ+ rights. He also previously worked with youth as a special education teacher and youth worker for over 10 years.
As a policy wonk and fierce community advocate, Council Member Cunningham’s goals are to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and violence and build community wealth with Northsiders already living in the community. His writings have been published in ‘The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys and Millennial Compact with America.’
Council Member Cano represents the Ninth Ward. The Ninth Ward is located in the heart of Minneapolis and is the most diverse in the city, encompassing the largest American Indian and Latino populations, a growing East African community, and an active LGBTQIA community.
When elected to her first term in 2013, Alondra said to Minnesota Public Radio: “My entire life I have worked on efforts to make sure the diverse communities of Minneapolis and Minnesota were engaged, empowered, and served by the various institutions that govern us. […] I’m humbled. I’m excited. I’m ready to serve.
Council Member Cano was elected to the 13-member Minneapolis City Council as the first Latino/a to serve in its history. 2013 also saw the first Hmong and Somali Council Members to be elected. Voters returned Alondra to her second term in 2017, also electing at this time the first transgender council members to serve in the council’s history. Undoubtedly, ours is one of the diverse city councils in the country, on which Council Member Cano is proud to be an active member.
Before serving as an elected official, Alondra was a policy aide to then Minneapolis City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren. She was also the manager of the Multilingual Communications Division at the Minneapolis Public Schools. Alondra is a longtime activist and community organizer. As Associate Director of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, she worked on a wide range of social and racial equity issues facing Latino immigrants and undocumented students. Alondra has long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, and worked to help pass the Minnesota Dream Act at the Minnesota Legislature. The Minnesota Dream Act gives undocumented Latino students better access to higher education options in the state.
Alondra was born in Litchfield, Minnesota and spent her early years in Chihuahua, Mexico before returning to Minnesota at the age of 10. Alondra attended the University of Minnesota where she became active in student government and political activism. During a sit-in protest to keep the General College open Alondra was arrested and handcuffed along with fellow students.
While congratulations might seem to be in order for the three individuals achieving the status of “first” in history, one imagines that the community is fast waking up to the fact that identity can never compensate for a lack of ability. What irony that the very people who have been fighting for inclusion in all of its forms discriminate against the very people who backed their diversity and elected them to office.
Will these councillors openly take responsibility for instituting obviously disastrous policies when the city depopulates, taxes dry up as crime surges or hide their incompetence behind the necessary evil of progressivism?