I am thinking about the privileges that I have living where I do, currently, in North Minneapolis, as a human being who identifies as a Black /Mixed mom of five, who still has four in elementary, middle, and high school, who wakes up and gets to go home to an affordable living situation, where I feel seen and safe.
I am feeling privilege in the form of school choice and having at my disposal daily and weekly activities where my kids socialize with families that both look different and are very much like them. I am grateful that school choice, while not perfect, also allows them language immersion exposure, and the chance to be seen and heard as their whole selves, with policy and procedure that work for them and with teachers who are rooting for their successes.
I am also able to count on the conditions of my job at Minnesota Women’s Press that pays the bills, with proximity to the North Minneapolis office. If my vehicle doesn’t run, I can catch a bus or a Lyft easily. There are many choices for groceries and basic items, as well as many local farmers markets.
I reflected on all of these things and many, many more on the drive back to Minneapolis from Worthington, where I had the privilege of listening to youth, fellow moms, and elders discuss the situations that they have been dealing with for the last 20+ years in the southern Minnesota town in Nobles County.
I was witness to stories of inequality, pain, trauma, and disconnection, while marveling at the collective power of what could be: why they stay, and the future they envision for their children and grandchildren.
The fact that over 60 percent of the overall population and a majority of the school district is nonwhite, yet both the city council and school board remain all-white, is a statement.
I know from my own lived experience that policy and procedure, attitudes, and overtly racist practices are still steeped in white Supremicist culture here in the Twin Cities. This is even more the case in rural cities like Worthington, where high numbers of immigrant residents live, work, and are educated. Holding down what communities can be is a mixture of fear and the ridiculous notion that some humans are better than others.
I am practically optimistic for the people of Worthington because I was witness at our discussion to folks with the power to collectively change and shift the dial where it needs to be.
My brain also was working overtime while there, thinking about the groups, organizations, and individuals I will share the story of Worthington. While we are networked and yet still siloed in some ways in the Twin Cities, we have so much to offer a Minnesota community that does not have the resources we do.
Gentrification happens everywhere. Openly racist practices happen everywhere, in school systems, transportation, medical and mental health choices.
There are so many ways the collective power of organizers and immigrants, refugees, and U.S.-born Black folks can make improvements throughout Minnesota together. Listen to the future.
There is resistance to change by those who currently feel secure and are afraid of somehow losing that privilege when more people also feel that strength.
What I hope to see in the near future is that the members of our Changemakers Alliance statewide network begin to support the efforts of Worthington residents to create a community center where they can connect, strategize about how to achieve certain priorities in housing and education and transportation, and then collectively support those efforts.
If you want to be part of that effort, please reach out to me at Crystal@womenspress.com