Alright – so, a few weeks ago, the Somali community and Minnesota Republican Party held an event to sort of meet and greet. I say it is about time. Actually, there were a few events prior to this one. I know I attended one years back put together by Murshid Barud and Sen. Hann who is currently the MN GOP Chair. What a small world. If you can believe it, I advocated with Sen. Hann and Rep. Abeler to fund autism research that looked into how Somalis and other minorities access services.
Sen, Dr. Jensen (God Willing, Next MN Governor), his Lt Gov, and others who are running for state offices attended. It was jam-packed, well attended to the tune of hundreds, and watched by over sixty-five thousand on social media. I know what the heck is happening. Maybe finally maybe, Somalis in Minnesota are realizing how DFLers take our votes for granted. Yay!
I for one have been preaching for years that we need to learn to negotiate with our voices. We need to be issue-based and not just believe the hype of the MN dflers. Yes, I know a Minn dfler can sell water to a drowning minority person. Think about it, if the dflers in Minn (not all of them) are so good then why are our children failing and getting kicked out of school. I will tell you. They unapologetically align with the teacher’s unions instead of students and families. How many Somali judges did Gov Walz appoint? Nada, zilch, and zip. How many Somalis work in his administration such as DHS, MDE, and MDH in a position of power and influence? nada, zilch, and zip. Ugh, so depressing. How many Somalis work in his office as policy advisers? you guessed it; zilch and zip.
In other words, insanity is voting for the same politicians and expecting different policies. We can’t vote for Walz again. I obviously only care and understand about autism. His health administration has done zero autism research. His education dept constantly sides with teacher’s unions instead of our kids. They want to decrease and eliminate charter schools by cutting their funding. Do not believe the one Minn hoax ads. When the rubber needs to meet the road, Walz is full of flash and no substance.
At any rate, I wish at this highly attended event, we also negotiated our voices with the MN hopeful GOP leaders. We should’ve had points and issues we need addressing if we vote for them. Sadly, we did not and non of them told us what they will do differently if elected. I guess this is a good step in the right direction. Next time, we have to put the hype Patton down and get to the hustle and gritty work. If I planned this, I would’ve asked the following:
- Will your health department do autism research? The last study was done by Gov Pawlenty.
- Will your administration reflect us in positions of meaning and influence, not just coordinator and outreach yucky positions?
- Will you appoint Somali lawyers (there are lots now, yay!) to be judges when the opportunity arises?
- Will you fund the Minn Dept of Human Rights fully as other state agencies are funded?
- Will you support charter schools to be funded fully and hold teachers and principals accountable when they fail students and create discipline disparities?
- Will you ensure DHS hires diverse staff in middle management to ensure providers are treated fairly? This is not happening now.
- Will you recognize disparity exists and vow to eliminate it in education, health, employment, and economic opportunities? if yes, what is your plan for this?
- Will you ensure Minn Dept of Public Safety (DPS) leadership and state troopers reflect the state and get diversified?
- Yes, law and order are necessary for a civilized state/country, but can you understand the high disparity created by law enforcement. If yes, what is your plan to address this so that the justice system is fair for everyone irrespective of race, color, ethnicity, religion, etc.?
- What else can you add that you think Gov Walz is not doing now that you will do for our community?
I read Jensen’s plan and it looks good. I would however take out the portion in his education plan that villainizes students with disabilities whose disability is a behavior disorder which includes autism. Sen. Chamberlain had this bill this legislative session, and I have testified against it along with sooooo many parents. We can not punish kids for their disabilities. That is inhumane. Luckily, it did not pass in the end. Yes, all parents want safe schools. This is possible without punishing students with behavior disorders and a disability. I would add any school district that has a high education gap/discipline disparities must use a percentage of its funding for training. Additionally, equity and equality can not be taken out from anywhere in this state or this country. If that is not constantly pushed and enhanced, black, brown folks, and even women would suffer.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate