Monthly Archives: November 2017

Comments Off on 2017 Minnesota Elections and What They Mean for Autism

Alright – so, this week there were quite shake-ups in Minneapolis politics. The voters said goodbye to the old ways of doing things and hello to new and fresh faces and ideas. Even St. Paul elected its first African American Mayor. How amazing is that!

Mpls Mayor: Jacob Frey won and beat a list of candidates including the current mayor Betsy Hodges. Four years ago, candidate Hodges came to many Somali community events and promised to do a lot. Yes, I know candidates promise a lot before reality of governing hits. Mayor Hodges named the first Somali policy adviser ever. She also along with the city council gave an autism grant to a Somali autism advocacy agency, and she came to one of our annual autism meetings. In terms of getting her police department get trained about autism – well that has been a lot more challenging. The Mpls police department under Hodges has not been autism friendly, it also has not been minority community friendly. I am hoping Jacob can change this and ensure all of Mpls police officers get trained and learn about autism. Additionally, Jacob is a genuine person by nature. What you see is what you get. I don’t think he will promise anything he can’t deliver. I have met Jacob years before he was a city council member, and I must say he is the same today as he was back then. He is a sweet, kind, authentic individual who calls it from the hip without any passive aggressive Minnesota nice bullshit. I will for sure contact him and ask if Mpls police officers can finally get a comprehensive and thoughtful autism training.

City Council: Well, it was no brainer that Abdi Warsame won again. I don’t even know why Mohamud Noor keeps running. I mean how many times can a guy lose before he gives up. Warsame and Autism – I would say it hasn’t been as fruitful as I had hoped but I also haven’t really contacted his office and asked for help other than once few years ago when we invited him to come to an autism event and he came. What I like about Warsame is that he is passionate about representing his constituents. This term, I will for sure ask him to help with autism policies in particular with Mpls health dept and Mpls police training. I am also hoping in this term, Warsame on his own advocates and creates autism policies that help his constituents.

One Mpls mayor candidate that I hoped she would run for a different office was Nakima Levy. In my humble little opinion, she would be a much better candidate running against Hennepin County district attorney Mike Freeman. He needs to go and be replaced by a fair more just person. I think he is cocky, self-soothing and arrogant district attorney for this county which has some of the highest racial inequalities in the nation. He reminds me of the attorney from Ferguson Missouri who won even after the riots and injustices that city suffered. This is another area that sorely needs minority representation. Guess how many district or county  attorney’s of color there are in Minnesota -….. wait for it…. drum roll pls…. ONE. Yep, just one. And, how many counties are there in Minnesota? …… lots and lots.. Additionally, have you noticed how many state judges are minorities….. almost non-existent. Yet, no one hardly runs against them. I really hope Nakima and others like her change the landscape in this area by running in these offices.

City council member and president Barbara Johnson lost. My take on that is goodbye and good riddance. First of all, the fact that Ms. Johnson has been sitting in this seat for decades is wrong, then her family apparently represented this area for half a century. Let’s put this into perspective, Mpls has some of the worst disparities and gaps between people of color and whites and those living in north Minneapolis have it the worst. The fact that Johnson represented this area that has suffered for so long and seemed so out of touch with reality is beyond shame. I am glad she lost and I hope the new winner changes things for the better.

Mpls Park Board: This was another area where many minorities including Somalis were running. If you live in Mpls then you have noticed the differences in the parks where minorities live versus parks where whites live. It is like day and night. I thought previous park board members were self-righteous, rude, entitled and plain racist in a Minnesota nice passive aggressive manner. Everyone talked about equity and acceptability, I really hope this includes creating parks for children with autism. Even dogs have safe parks with fences, but there are no safe parks for children with autism who often bolt and elope, and have no safety skills. I think that is unacceptable, parks must be a safe place for all children to play irrespective of their abilities or disabilities.

At any rate, I think overall this was good election year. I think many in communities of color are realizing in order for equality to prevail and opportunities to be fair, they must do it themselves and represent their communities. America is a nation of immigrants and diversity, it is possible to live in harmony and embrace each-other’s culture and values – that is what makes America the beacon of hope and the best country in the world.

Final election results

A Liberian American becomes a mayor in a city in Montana!

An American born Sikh becomes a mayor in a city in New Jersey!

Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.

Idil – Autism Mom and Advocate