Community Endorsement: Tony Aarts and Adrienne Widener

Adrienne and I moved to Northeast Minneapolis four years ago. We were immediately drawn to its rhythm, the great local businesses, and the strong sense of community.

But we have been disappointed with our current Council Member Kevin Reich.

When I've emailed him with concerns, his response has been lukewarm, and it really only echoed work already in progress through City Hall. When Jamar Clark was shot and killed, communities in Minneapolis struggled to feel that the city was responsive to their needs. At a moment of crises in our city, Council Member Reich never showed up at the 4th Precinct to listen to communities and begin to heal the trust between government and citizens. His council decisions show me that he is non-committal on police accountability.  

Ward One deserves a leader who will step out in front to push for positive, necessary change. That’s why earlier this year we researched the candidates running for City Council in Ward One. When we saw that Rep. Ilhan Omar had endorsed Jillia Pessenda, it got our attention, so we decided to go to a meet and greet at The Coffeeshop NE.

Jillia talked about her interest in community building and lifting each other up through strengthening local political power. She believes we can find solutions to the problems we face by engaging more people, by incorporating all of our voices.

We like Jillia’s openness and willingness to listen. We’re impressed by her deep experience and involvement in social justice issues on both a city and state level (the occupy homes movement and marriage equality to name just two). Jillia is a person willing to fight for us and has the tools to do just that.

With the powers that be on a national level trying to move us backward, we must concentrate on making real change in our neighborhoods. We need a leader who will advocate at City Hall for all of us and take action to address the racial disparities in our community, which are among the worst in the country.

Jillia is working hard to bring all of us to the table.  She is actively out in the community and having conversations with people. If you haven’t met Jillia yet, you should.