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Pages tagged "Public Policy"


We have been here before

main.jpgNote: I am a white, female, middle class millennial. I must not be (and most certainly am not) the only person raising my voice in response to violence at home and around the world. In many ways, this isn’t my story to tell – I hope you turn to others like Mica Grimm, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Al Flowers, Jeremiah Bey, Ashley Fairbanks, Adja Gildersleve, Lena Gardner, or the many other outspoken activists who live this every day. But I am responsible for writing this week’s YNPN-TC blog, and my conscience and heart demanded I use the platform to speak on this violence. I am raising my voice, even with all its imperfections and limitations, as an ally and a witness. You can also read YNPN-TC’s statement on recent events here.

It has been a hard week. A heart-breaking week. An excruciating week. We’ve watched acute violence and grief – in LebanonNigeriaFrance,SyriaIsrael/PalestineIraqMali. Then, we saw the violence and grief come home to Minneapolis.

On Sunday, November 15, Jamar Clark was shot and killed by police officers in North Minneapolis. In the days following Jamar Clark’s death – ruled a homicide by the medical examiner – protesters have demanded truth, transparency, and justice.

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Where Did All The Men Go?

I was listening to a panel discussion on career change when it hit me for the first time. All five panelists were women. In my AmeriCorps cohort, there were five men to the 35 women in the room. This was the first time that I had really taken notice that the nonprofit world had a greater number of women than men in the field. While this may be obvious to some of you, when I asked the panelists about it, they hadn’t even realized it. So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to talk briefly about the where all the nonprofit men went.

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It’s Time to Vote!

Fall is my favorite season. I love sweater weather, chai tea, and golden leaves against a brilliant blue sky. But my very favorite fall tradition is still yet to come: Election Day, November 4. As people who care for our communities and the common good, voting is one of the most important things we can do—it is the ground floor of democracy. 

Who we put in office has significant implications for our communities and the people our organizations serve. Elected officials have a say in the policies and funding of everything from housing to food assistance to transportation to education. If we truly want to make systemic change to these and the any number of issues nonprofits across Minnesota care about we have to take the first step and go to the polls.

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Ferguson and the Single Issue Struggle

On Twitter, I saw the picture of Mike Brown’s father holding a cardboard sign saying, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” A few days later, I watched the livestream of protesters being tear gassed in Ferguson, literally with my hand over my mouth in shock. There were the pictures of protesters doused in milk to ease the tear gas and the waves of police officers in riot gear with armored cars. Countless images of young black men with their hands in the air: hands up, don’t shoot.

I cannot get these images, and the real lived experiences of what was captured, out of my head.

The post-9/11 mantra of “if you see something, say something” made us fearful of the forgotten backpack and the unknown stranger. But seeing the images from Ferguson compels me to do something, say something, do anything, say anything that can help those strangers. I just don’t know what it is yet.

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Political Nonprofit Pitfalls

Working at a nonprofit says a lot about you. It’s an inherent trade off that many of us know all too well: you get to believe, really believe, in what you’re doing—and you get to do it for less money than in the corporate world. Even if your job is mostly data entry, saying you work for an organization that feeds the hungry or helps young people achieve their scholarly dreams makes you a do-gooder by default.

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A More “Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Click “Like” if Fred Rogers is your hero?main.jpg

“Rodgie”—as I called him as a child—was and is one of my heroes, and I know that I’m not alone in this sentiment. I can say that nearly every morning as a young child, I turned on PBS, and watched, listened, and learned with my favorite TV neighbor.

Now, 30 years later, watching Mr. Rogers with my own kid, I am happily swept back to a beautiful time when and I learned about feelings, making crayons, Yo-Yo Ma, cooperation, friendship, and caring for animals—especially the fish. For his talent, persistence, patience, humility, I am grateful to have experienced it all first hand, while he was still with us.

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Forever Young

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The following blog is by Adam Yust

Have you ever felt like the youngest person in the room? Growing up in a civically-engaged family, I constantly found myself the youngest person at neighborhood meetings. 

In 2000, at age 13, I went on the record at a Saint Paul community meeting to oppose a project that would have destroyed aspects of my neighborhood. A bus-way from downtown Saint Paul to Mall of America was proposed to travel down the center of West 7th Street. This transit project would have cut service levels, divided the neighborhood in half, and taken away boulevard trees. Because of my young age, people at the meeting asked me, "Why are you here?" I answered, "I'm here because I care."

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Mind the gap: Wage inequity and you

main.jpgToday is Equal Pay Day - what does that mean? Each year, that day marks the amount of time women have to work into the current year to match the earnings of their male counterparts in the previous year. (Women and men of color experience on average an even greater pay inequity and have to work further into the year to make up the difference.)

In Minnesota, we tend to pride ourselves as state that fosters strong, healthy communities and looks out for our most vulnerable residents. Although we do stand ahead of many states in community health and well-being in some measures, we still face challenges prevalent across the country and world, including a gender wage gap. Women make a fraction of the wages of their male counterparts, even with identical training and experience.

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Public Policy 101 for the Nonprofiteer

These days, I spend some time at the Minnesota Capitol complex. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who knows the ins-and-out of the political process and political maneuvering. I’ve realized in the last few weeks, I’ve got a ways to go before I can spout off different political scenarios and predict  how a particular piece of legislation will move through the legislature.  What I do know is that nonprofits and YOU have an important role to play in statewide policy making. Together, we can make a policy difference that will impact the lives of real Minnesotans. Most policy decisions are informed by lobbyists, interested parties, and constituents who voice their opinions to legislators. It is part of the democratic tradition and helps find real solutions to help real people.

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Would You Rather... ThriveMSP2040 and the Metropolitan Council

by Maggie Meyer
follow me on Twitter: @maggie_meyer

Let’s play a game.

  • Would you rather live in a city or a suburb?
  • Would you rather have your own yard or access to a public park?
  • Would you rather drive to work and listen to your own music or ride public transit and read your Kindle?
  • Would you rather rent or own your home?

I’ll be honest. I’m a CPTR (city-park-transit-rent). How about you?

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