St. Cloud: We can Create the World We Want to Live in.

Author Britton Mikkelson, lead organizer for TakeAction and rock star community activist, hosts a GOTV text bank from her home office in St. Cloud.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my community lately. When I arrived in St. Cloud in 2014, I was pulled into this community through local elections and engagement. Those three months changed me and my life. I felt like I could make a home here, so I did.

Through the investment of community leaders and comrades fighting to make Minnesota a better place, I grew to understand how our government and institutions actively fail our most vulnerable, and even our most privileged, by creating false choices that force us into scarcity mindsets and turn us against each other.

Recently I have seen the rising tide of white nationalism, anti-Semitism and calls to create a world where the people I hold closest to me do not exist outside of the shadows. In all of this, I have been disheartened by the lack of leadership, political imagination, and willpower to step outside of our comfort zones from our political leaders.

Last month – when my St. Cloud neighborhood was tear-gassed, when there was a police helicopter above my house at midnight, and when I heard the screams of youth as they ran from police while trying to bring attention to centuries of systemic oppression at the hands of our government – I realized we are in the kind of moment I asked my grandparents about during the Civil Rights section of my fourth-grade history class.

Times of revolutions, times of new beginnings, times of courage and times of change.

As I flushed tear gas from a young woman’s eyes, I was called back to the righteousness and anger I’d felt as I read about youth standing against water cannons and police dogs. I was called back to the values I hold in my heart and hide, because too often it feels like our world is too harsh for them to be a reality.

And as I stood with TakeAction leaders and watched community members lead with more courage, clarity and hope for a caring community than I have seen from those we have elected, I realized we are worth more than the leadership we have. I realized the world that felt possible when I was younger really can come true – when we believe in it and work for it.

We deserve the kind of leadership who will stand with us as we fight for justice. Leaders who will listen and stick around for the tough conversations. We deserve the kind of leadership we have seen here in St. Cloud from Buddy King, Hassan Yussuf and Lenora Hunt.

St. Cloud, it is time for us to do the work and create the world we want to live in.

We must ask ourselves: why is the average age of the City Council is 65? Why we have never had a person of color sitting on that Council? Why is there only one woman on the Council?  

Why have we been asked to swallow the lie that we don’t deserve representation that stands with us on the front lines?

I am ready to do what it takes to elect not only elect the first people of color to the City Council, but to also build the kind of political courage and willpower it takes to beat back racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. I am ready to be imaginative when it comes to housing, healthcare, community safety and community power.

I am ready to elect Buddy, Lenora and Hassan to represent me because I have not felt like the Council represents my voice – and I know that sentiment is deeply felt in our community.

Are you ready to join us in creating a new kind of political leadership in St. Cloud – one that listens, one that is courageous, and one that is ready for the kind of changes we need to meet this moment? We have so many ways you can invest in supporting these fantastic candidates, including text banks, phone banks, virtual events and lots more. Check out all the opportunities to get involved.

Let’s get to work building a St. Cloud that works for all of us.

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