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Pages tagged "Politics"


Can talking work?

Author’s Note: I want to be clear that nothing in this blog is meant to imply that anyone (liberal or conservative) should feel forced to participate in the conversations that I propose here. It is up to each person and organization to decide if these types of conversations are appropriate for their cause, and they should consider what they will do to create an expectation of respect for and from all participants. This decision should be made only after organizations have conversations with their members and/or those in the communities they serve.

I recently watched President Barack Obama's panel with young leaders in Chicago. It was a 90-minute discussion with a tone of hope that has been missing from the news lately (if you haven't, watch it now).

When I said in 2004 that there were no red states or blue states, they're the United States of America, that was an aspirational comment. But I think it's ― and it's one thing... that I still believe [you see] when you talk to individuals one-on-one — there's a lot more that people have in common than divides them.

I, feeling inspired, volunteered to write my first YNPN-TC blog on an issue I've been thinking about a lot since the election: the need for people of different political ideologies to talk with each other and the role that nonprofits can play in purposely making spaces for these conversations. I was pretty nervous to write it given today’s heated political climate, but I strongly feel we must find ways to get out of "own little bubbles" and create meaningful dialogues through which we can recognize that the "other side" is human and not, just, a faceless enemy.

Then Heineken released its "Worlds Apart" ad (and its related "Open Your World" campaign). 

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Appropriate Away: It's State Budget Time

Every biennium, our elected officials go through the super fun, uncomplicated process of determining Minnesota’s budget. It starts with the governor’s recommendations, and then the legislature forms its own budget to levy taxes and appropriate money to state entities and organizations doing the important work of making Minnesota a great place to live. Although anything and everything’s up in the air until the budget passes before the end of the session in May, here’s the quick and dirty to impress your policy-minded friends and colleagues.

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Is that a caucus in your neighborhood or are you just happy to see me participating?

Really? Not six weeks after an expensive and unflattering campaign season and I want to talk about elections? Yes. Absolutely. 

Because like it or not, they matter. A lot. To your 503b, your parks and trails, your public safety, and to your nonprofit career. 

Now, this could be about how we all need to be more engaged in advocating for our organizations and their missions (after all, nonprofit organizations only scratch the surface of their advocacy potential, in part due to a lack of expertise). But it's not. This is your real world PoliSci 101 - how to get involved in your local political processes - told through the story of YNPN member Josh Reimnitz, the Teach For America-alum-turned-newest-member of the Minneapolis school board. Together, Josh and I will show how you can take a few more participatory steps into our imperative albeit slightly imperfect political sphere. It'll be painless. Maybe even poetic. Just promise us you'll give it a try in 2013. 

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Same Game, Same Players, Same Results: Engaging with the political machine.

main.jpgA pretty scary realization hit me this week. I was in a room with about 35 young leaders, and when asked how many people had considered running for office about ten people raised their hands. When asked how many of those ten had changed their minds because of the current state of politics, about seven people put their hands down. What does this all mean? Fewer and fewer people are interested in entering politics, which means the people left on the playing field are those with extreme points of view. In essence, more of the same.

Whether we like to think about it or not, politics and policy affect us all. The bickering at the state capitol and in Washington may seem far-removed from our daily lives, but the reality is the resolutions from those fights will have an impact on our personal and professional lives.

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From No House to the State House

main.jpgAt first glance, Representative Rena Moran’s ascent to public office is not unlike other Twin Cities progressive’s – a career in early childhood education, a fellowship with Wellstone Action, leadership as a community organizer – that is until you learn that just ten years ago this mother of seven was homeless, in search of a better life for her family.

It’s fitting then that Rep. Moran (DFL-St. Paul), a self-proclaimed “mother who decided to get involved,” now serves on the Education, Health and Human Services, and Public Safety/Crime Prevention Committees.

The future, however, wasn’t always as bright. Having heard the Twin Cities was supportive of families and public education, she made the heart-wrenching decision to move her young family in search of a better, more stable community. As Rena said, “it’s about your kids and the outcomes you strive for.”

Rena and her family sought resources from Caring and Sharing Hands upon their arrival, appreciating the warm and welcoming environment provided by an array of volunteers who helped parents navigate the different networks of community support services. Rena and her family also utilized the resources of Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities in their first months in St. Paul.

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