Weaving Magic, Together

The story of Angela Conley’s victory is one about organizing, to be sure. Electoral victories happen because doors are knocked, conversations are had, volunteers are recruited and retained, babies are cared for, dinner is made, and so many spreadsheets are managed. All that. But this victory is also about leadership, love, and alchemy. It’s a story of the magic and power that is unleashed when a community comes together and exercises their radical imagination.

We cast a love spell together. And it worked. 

Angela led us with the weight of history on her shoulders. More than 150 years of all-white leadership on the Hennepin County board, the weight of white supremacy and toxic masculinity as so many told her to sit down and wait her turn. The weight of institutional power as nearly every elected official and labor union in the state endorsed her opponent and money flowed into his campaign coffers from every developer, lawyer, lobbyist, sports team owner, and other powerful interest in town. The weight of all of the hope that we had—the weight of holding up the vision of a world where she was our Commissioner, believing it with all she had, sharing her vision of that world with us again and again, even when we got discouraged, even when she got discouraged.

And the personal weight of not sleeping enough, wearing through shoes as she knocked doors for hours, voice hoarse from talking and heart heavy from listening to all of the pain and suffering that people in our community live with. The weight of having to leave her home and her children every day and the guilt of not being there for them.

“We cast a love spell together. And it worked.”

I realized at some point that all of this was on her shoulders and marveled at her ability to keep it moving. And then I realized that all of us were underneath her holding her up. Her family, the ancestors, all of us working with her campaign, everyone who picked up a volunteer shift, talked to their neighbors, or threw in a dollar for her campaign, everyone all across the city who wasn’t able to contribute in those material ways but held her up with their belief, support, and love. This is about her power and resiliency but also the way that she allowed all of us to occupy our own power, resiliency, and generosity by inviting us along on this journey with her.

Running for office is hard AF (trust—I did it this year too!). Doubly so as a black woman, a mom to young ones, a first time candidate up against an entrenched incumbent. Angela rose to this challenge with joy and humor and love even when it got hard.

She gave all of us who worked together on her campaign the opportunity to love each other, to make our love for our community manifest through action, the chance to will and work the world that would elect Angela Conley as their County Commissioner into existence. I couldn’t have ever imagined that helping on an election for County Commissioner would be one of the most profound experiences of community I’ve ever had but that’s what happened. I am changed and I will forever be grateful to have joined with thousands of my neighbors and folks across the city and region to weave this magic.

We talk about how another world is possible—my belief in this fuels my organizing and political work. We took a leap into that world on November 6. We have a long way to go and we can only go together but the work will be joyfully sustaining and life-affirming and so very worth it. Let’s keep pushing.

Read “Reflection, Healing, and Magic: The Transformative Power of Angela Conley’s Campaign” for more narratives on Angela Conley’s campaign and win.

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