We All Have a Role to Play this Election Season. Let’s Get to Work.

Helen Clanaugh of Duluth wears a blue vest and faces the camera. The photo is set outdoors, with greenery in the background.

Hey, community!

My name is Helen Clanaugh. I use she/her pronouns. I’m a St. Olaf student, a Duluthian, and a TakeAction Minnesota leader. Last Thursday, I was so happy to join TakeAction members from across Minnesota to kick off election season and launch the #PeoplesSquad, our statewide crew of progressive volunteers taking action to win this November and beyond.

Helen Clanaugh of Duluth wears a blue vest and faces the camera. The photo is set outdoors, with greenery in the background.
TakeAction Minnesota leader Helen Clanaugh of Duluth.

2020 has been hard for everyone. I started school at St. Olaf College about a month ago, and let me tell you: starting college in a pandemic is far from ideal. From the pandemic to the uprising, to a climate crisis that continues to loom larger every day, one thing has never been more apparent:

We have got to keep fighting to swear in leaders that care about people and our planet – not wealthy corporations.

We got to hear from so many incredible leaders and people from across the state at last week’s kickoff party. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar provided inspiring context for the moment we’re in. Poet Guante brought us together with a powerful spoken word performance. Activists and candidates from across Minnesota shared their stories. 

Together, we crystallized our shared vision for the just, caring future we deserve, where everyone is free to live with stability, fulfillment and creativity. A future where our Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer, and Disabled siblings can live in a world full of joy and abundance.

I was thrilled to wrap up the evening with a reading of the poem “Field Trip to the Museum of Modern History” by Franny Choi, in which she explores what it would be like to look back on America’s history of racial capitalism and police brutality from a future without police. She includes raw accounts about the harm of policing from the perspective of students. This poem realizes how detrimental policing has been to our society, and it looks forward to a future without this damaging practice. 

Listen to Franny Choi’s “Field Trip to the Museum of Human History”

To me, the future we deserve looks like community strength and healing. Everyone has access to healthcare, housing, good food, clean air and water, and childcare. We are living in harmony with the earth. Community care is the priority, and we know that we can not do this alone. 

We can make that future a reality. Together. To get there, we have got to swear in leaders who will imagine safe, healthy, thriving communities – and then fight for that vision when they are elected. 

Join me on the #PeoplesSquad this election season. Our collective action is more powerful than any candidate, corporation, or corrupt system. Together – right now – we have an opportunity to disrupt the status quo and build a government with people at the center, and a better future for all of us.

I hope you all find ways to take care of yourselves and your people even in this dark time. And I hope that, like me, you find meaning and motivation by being a part of our movement. 

There’s a role for each of us in creating the change we deserve this election season. I plan on doing at least seven shifts from now until November 3rd to help get our people elected. Sign up for a shift with me, and let’s get to work!

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