Monthly Archives: January 2023

Comments Off on Opposing the Rehiring of MN State Medicaid Agency (DHS) Commissioner Harpstead

Minnesota Senate

Health & Human Services Committee

Chair: Sen. Wiklund

January 31, 2023

Re: Opposing the Rehiring State Medicaid Agency (DHS) Commissioner Harpstead

Dear Madam Chair and Committee Members, my name is Idil Abdull. I am a Somali Autism Mom and a pretty tired and pissed-off advocate who is retiring this year.

First, I think more time and opportunity should’ve been given to the public to state their concerns with DHS’s leadership and its inability to do right for and by Minnesota’s minority communities.

2nd. I find it both laughable and ludicrous that anyone would say Commissioner Harpstead has done a good job for Minnesota’s vulnerable population that it is supposed to serve which are the disabled, the elderly, and the poor.

3rd. Under her leadership, more black and brown employees have been fired and retaliated against than all last three commissioners combined. More minorities have complained of racial discrimination under this administration than the last three administrations combined. (See attached data and numbers from DHS). Also, see the below link Mpls Tribune article on DHS’ toxic work environment for people of color. Some of these former minority employees have sued DHS for racial discrimination in the courts and have won including the only Somali one that was ever hired in such a high-level position.

4th. DHS has done nothing about white providers like Lovaas who took 2,862,769.00 dollars in fraudulent funds and Behavior Dimensions fraudulently billed the state $2,772, 517.00 while it shuts down black and brown providers if they God Forbid sneeze the wrong way.

5th. I hope you remember the vivid hearings from the last session about sudden closings of group homes for individuals with disabilities while DHS sat idle – no pun intended.

6th. Commissioner Harpstead has refused for years to meet with the Somali Community about the many problems concerns have with DHS. By the way, Jesson and her assistant commissioners did it multiple times.

7th. DHS’ middle management and supervisors including those that investigate and unfairly shut down providers of color sorely lack people of color including not one single Somali. Racial disparities do not fall from the sky; they are created by people in a position of power and influence who refuse to acknowledge and do something about it.

8th. There are several cases in court currently or have been brought up against DHS under Harpstead for various reasons. I hope legislators ask the commissioner about these. PFoser vs Harpstead.

Another time when DHS goes after the vulnerable that it is supposed to serve while it does nothing to privileged providers that take millions of dollars. How is right, moral, or fair.

I know Commissioner Harpstead will be confirmed today, but I hope no one sits comfortably in doing so. I hope you all ask her about her disparity-creating record. I also hoped this committee would have more minorities given Minnesota’s high racial disparities in every category, particularly health and human services.


Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate


The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Suspension Bill SF 0069 heard in Minnesota Senate – Education Finance Committee

Alright – so, only if I had a dime every time I testified against suspending kids from school, I might the next Jeff B. Soooo frustrating, we are hearing this bill again this session. This better be the year it passes. Below is my testimony in the Senate Education Cmte.

Minnesota Senate

Education Policy Committee

Chair – Sen. Kunesh

Thursday, January 25, 2023

Re: SF 0069 – Let’s keep students in the classroom

Dear Madam Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify in support of this bill. First, I want to thank the author, Sen. Mann.

The first time I testified for this bill, Madam Chair you were a representative in the House. This bill has been introduced every session for years now. I am hoping this is the year that it is finally carried to the finish line.

My son who has autism was suspended by Bloomington School District on Thursday, May 3rd – 2018 at 5:18pm. This was a traumatizing day for our family because my son did not understand suspension then and does not understand it now. His routine was disrupted this day and his communication device was denied to him. I will let EdAllies and other data experts tell you that black, brown, and students with disabilities are suspended disproportionately in Minnesota. And yes 2+2 is 4, not 3.5 and not 5. All of us, both democrats and republicans must accept data and facts. Otherwise, we live in la la land.

I often hear from the opposing side that suspension must be in their toolbox. For students with disabilities – the toolbox must have kindness, compassion, empathy, knowledge, training, and most of all human decency, not suspension. These are children who are in a special classroom. The adults who chose this profession need to understand the child’s needs, behaviors, and disabilities. In other words, you cannot be a chef and then complain because you smell like food. You cannot be a pilot and be of heights.

I suggest that if school districts want suspension in their toolbox, perhaps not getting funded while the student is suspended should also be in this toolbox. Why are school districts getting paid for work they are not doing. The money should follow the student, not the district.

Imagine working for 3 days yet getting paid for 5 days. This is what is happening now in school districts. They are still funded even though our kids are kicked out. How is this fair, cost-effective nor humane.

Finally, just because you have been lucky enough that your child has not experienced this horrifying event, does not mean your fellow Minnesotans have not. Please do not deny our pain and our experience. We need to pass this bill now.


Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Prohibiting Suspension for Students up to Grade 3 bill is introduced again in MN Legislature

Alright – so, will this be the year this bill finally passes and gets a ring. We will see. Below is my testimony in its first hearing in the Education Policy committee in the House.


Minnesota House of Representatives

Education Policy Committee

Chair Rep. Pryor

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 – 3pm

Re: Supporting bill# HF-58, Prohibiting Suspensions up to 3rd grade

Dear Madam Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali Autism Mom & a tired pissed-off advocate.

First, I want to thank Rep. Richardson for her focus and tenacity on this issue.

Emotional trauma is the end result of events or experiences that leave us feeling deeply unsafe and often helpless. It can result from a single event or be part of an ongoing experience. For black and brown families in public school districts, trauma is often based on events that are grounded in bias and discrimination. No human should experience trauma even once.

This committee has traumatized me for years because each time I testify and restate what happened to my child in Jefferson high school, I am traumatized. My son has nonverbal autism, did not understand suspension then, and does not understand it now. Yet, teacher Kelly Morris who is protected by the teacher’s union, and principal Jaysen Anderson who is protected by lobbyists and associations suspended him on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, at 5:18pm. In fact, they make more money and have higher positions than they did in 2018. There is absolutely no meat off their bones.

Do you know how this makes me and other similarly situated parents feel? It makes me feel helpless and unappreciated.

It is not lost on me and should not be lost on you that no DFLer can be in control without the vote of black and brown folks. Yet, our children are failing in school and getting suspended disproportionately. Why? I want you to think about that.

We are watching you this year as there is no one else to blame, you control all three government branches now.

In Somalia, we say; Aqoon la’aan waa iftiin la’aan. While it loses its poetic meaning, in a nutshell, it means – education is the sight, smell, and sound of life, prosperity, and success. Our children are being denied this fundamental human right to life and success.

I am cautiously optimistic that this year you will finally put a ring on this suspension bill and carry it to the finish line. Here is the hearing via YouTube if you wanna watch it.  Rep. Richardson, You rock!


Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.


Comments Off on 2023 MN State Legislature Committee Chairs – What does it mean for Autism, Equity & Equality?

Alright – so, the MN state legislature session has started, yay! Not really. The dflers are in complete control. You know what that means. More disparity, more Minnesota nice racism, and more inequalities. Ugh.

Let’s dig in and see who is chairing what committee and what that all means for autism and our community.

The House:

Human services policy is chaired by Rep. Fischer 

Human services finance is chaired by a Somali this year. Does this mean DHS will finally do the right thing. Nope, let’s not hold our breath. Hell would have to freeze first. It is sooooo frustrating when they look like us but do not address our community’s needs.

Senate: It is even worse in the Senate. First, crying that Sen. Abeler is not in charge. Second, Sen. Melissa W is chairing the health and human main one. She is by far one of the worse elected officials I have ever met in Minnesota. She is your typical Minnesota nice grass snake. She represents Bloomington, you know the area with some of the worst racial disparities in the state, including the school district. Sen. Melissa will not do anything good for autism at all – period. Can’t we find someone to run against her and defeat her at the polls? Ugh.

Then there is the human services committee chaired by Sen. Hoffman. Well, what can I say about him. He is charming, charismatic, and smiles all the time. He reminds me of those cold sunny days in Minnesota that we see in Jan. What is that called – fake sun. The sun that shines but never warms anything. That is Hoffman in a nutshell. He will use and say the right words like disability, mental health, equity, and disparity, but he doesn’t mean any of them. He will only make you think he cares. He does not. Sadly, this is the  Senator that DHS uses when they wanna push salty EIDBI policies and laws down our throats. Now he is in charge – yay! Not really. Ugh.

My goal was to advocate for EAA and county accountability, I just do not see success with all privileged white dflers in charge.

The only good news here in health is that the Minnesota Department of Health’s commissioner Jan M left. Goodbye and good riddance. She was useless and could care less about autism research or support. If One Minn Hoax Gov Walz was to do the right thing, he will hire Dr. Nathan C to lead MDH. I doubt that. MDH now has a black commissioner. We will have to see what she accomplishes. I hope it is not for decoration. Even MDE – the education department now has a black commissioner. I have to say I was not expecting this from One Hoax Minn Gov, Walz. There are two scenarios for this. Either, he is starting to come around and has appointed diverse commissioners who will change the trajectory of education and health disparities in Minnesota or they are the black liberals of Clarence Thomas. Time will tell.

Education – The talk of the town for a minute there was that MDE was going to be led by retired rep Davnie. While he is charming and pleasant in committees, he is and will always be in the pockets of unions and never in the corner of students and families. Do you know how many useless and meaningless hearings he gave discipline disparities and education gap? None of which produced any fruits. He always smiled and then screwed with us. It seems that Gov Walz hired an African American person to lead MDE. I do not know this one and could not write anything good or bad just yet. Let’s see what he does and how he manages to decrease discipline disparities and the education gap for students with disabilities and black/brown kids.

So, who will be leading the House and Senate committees in Education?

Senate – the policy is in the pockets of the teacher’s union. I have seen him here for years with no progress.

The finance is Sen. Kunesh. She is native American in name only. Ever since I have been advocating in the education system, Sen Kunesh has been in opposition to increasing teachers of color, reducing, and eliminating racial discipline disparities, and getting rid of the education gap.

This is my last legislative session as I will be retiring in May of 2023. Don’t worry, I will write a blog on this and tell myself, wait for it…. Drum roll pls…. Goodbye and good riddance. Yes, I know so many in Minnesota agencies and legislatures will be saying that. Maybe even a few federal agencies will too. I am ok with that. You see the idea of policy advocacy is to change policies and laws. That means people who benefit from current policies and laws won’t be happy. I have always said, I did not become an advocate to join Paris Hiltons’ BFF show.

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate