The Minneapolis People for Liberation and Solidarity (MPLS) Initiative stands for community-control of healthcare, including mental health services and preventative care. Because the land where our city stands has an on-going history of personal and cultural trauma that too often goes unrecognized and unspoken, is in necessary to take serious action to make amends and restitution as part of cultural healing. We propose a Health Wellness and Healing Council (HWHC) to serve these needs in Minneapolis. The HWHC would develop community-based response networks to provide mental health services, violence prevention, and addiction counseling. Working with Minneapolis Urban Parks Service (MUPS), the Health Council would establish, staff, and maintain everyday clinics and emergency services in the parks. The Minneapolis Parks system has extensive reach into many neighborhoods across the city. Basing city services, particularly Health, wellness, and food distribution, in the parks brings them into the neighborhoods, rather than centralizing access in Downtown. The Soil and Farm Council (SFC) would join HWHC and MUPS to eliminate food deserts in Minneapolis and alleviate food insecurity in solidarity with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). The HWHC would promote and coordinate Community Patrols throughout Minneapolis. Community Patrols have a long history of effective violence prevention and public safety in Minneapolis. North and South Minneapolis.

The pandemic and uprising has brought the concept of Community Patrols into the current era. The Minnesota Freedom Riders, all the groups talking at Floyd Square, and even the Violence Interrupters are the new face of Community Patrols in our city. The emergence of these and other neighborhood defense groups that sprung up during the uprising reinforced our belief that Minneapolis residents will unify to accomplish positive actions, without need of centralized government. Indeed, often with opposition from the centralized municipal government. Minneapolis residents have also set up care, food, and staple supply networks within the community, as well as violence disruption networks. A recent example of effective community response was the August 24, 2020 spate of broken windows, fire, and reallocation of goods that briefly took place after a rumored fatal police shooting in a Downtown parking garage. Community members were brought into the situation by Chief Arradondo and quickly took to the streets to calm the crowds and tell them the truth about the shooting. The MPLS Initiative stands with these self-organizing community groups. These are the kind of resident- and community lead solutions we need to renew Minneapolis and grow a safe, healthy, and nurturing city.

George Floyd Square. Photo credit: D. Okar

The recent proposal for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the Minneapolis City Council is in-line with MPLS Platform Plank Zero. While there are significant and valid reasons to question the intent of the City Council to follow through and make Minneapolis the first major US city to create such a commission, it is obvious that something of the sort needs to be done. The MPLS Initiative would replace the word “reconciliation” with “reparations” however, because our debts to historically oppression communities must be acknowledged and repaid. The proposal by the current Minneapolis City Council is fatally flawed from the outset because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be designed, organized, and implemented by the Office of Race and Equity apparently without input from existing community groups already working in the city. The MPLS Initiative will respect the community activists and organizers already doing the work, and honor their knowledge by amplifying their efforts through the Truth and Reparations Commission (TRC). We believe the most effective Commission will be designed, convened, and conducted by the people from the most vulnerable and historically oppressed communities.

If I were the Council Member from Ward 12, I would use whatever leverage I could muster to put the power of the TRC in the hands of the people. Pulling up the rug under which the Whites have swept significant parts of our history will be a painful and emotional series of events. It is critical that it be done deliberately and with solid backing of the residents of the city, if it is to move us toward any kind of atonement, reconciliation, or healing. We began this campaign with Platform Plank Zero because any city rebuilt on the foundation of white supremacy will inevitably be taken down the next time the voices we continue to silence become too loud to ignore. If we are to sustain as a city; a society; a culture, we must strengthen our foundation by fully accepting our history and making amends. Only then can we stand in solidarity with our neighbors and work together to renew Minneapolis.