I have my own issues with both, but if I'm asked to give gang-bangers and 
drug-dealers, two categories I loathe, a chance why shouldn't I do the same for 
Rev. Staten?

Why not elect him to office, we elected Keith Ellison and he hasn't done 
anything for us either. What is the difference?

Michelle Hill
First, to piggy-back on the praise of Keith Ellison: Keith gets sensible drug policy - an issue who's time has come - and the harm funding gangs, locking up a significant portion of African Americans, abuse, livability issues, etc.) that's associated with our nation's failed drug policy. We need this kind of common sense bravery in the MN Senate, and more so in Congress. Keith also allowed our campaign to pass out "Know your Rights!" literature during our camp-out on the Northside - a lit piece highlighting the African American struggle to achieve civil rights along with a helpful "voters Bill of Rights" educational info on the back - that was left over from a previous campaign. Keith will cross party lines for authentic progressive causes. That's too often a rarity and I personally commend him for raising the political bar. Yes, yes, we've dumped many kudos on him, but the List and the public should know some of the little things he has done that made a big difference.

Secondally, I'm going to tsk-tsk the comment that demonizes "gang-bangers" and drug dealers that many I have come across say in effect that they "loathe." My campaign experience and camping out in the Northside led me to humanize, not demonize, those young men (often just teenagers and sometimes younger!) on the corner and their life situation (quality of life) that leads to the corner. I think the righteous indignation that is so pervasive among some preachers, politicians, residents, activists, and police is part of the problem. Look, I'm not condoning gang activity or drug-dealing or prostitution, but for me, its the system I loathe and not the people. It's the lack of opportunity for young people I loathe and not the young people themselves. It's the boarded up houses and lack of fair housing policies that I loathe, not the nontraditional poor families who live in them. It's police harassment and culture that supports it I loathe, and not the officers themselves. This whole "us vs. them", "good vs. evil", "right vs. wrong" mentality that I really feel we need to get past if we're going to get to the root causes of society's ills instead of the tough love, lock 'em all up, not on my corner band-aid approach that had has us running in circular patterns for the past thirty years. There's only one race - the human race. We're all Minnesotans, all residents of Minneapolis.

I saw with my own two eyes the goodness in people who were on the street. I had crack-addicts and prostitutes hug me for camping out and raising the important issues that surround "the hood" without excluding or judging them (they know full well they have problems and create problems). I had someone break into my car to steal my cell phone, and when I caught him in the act and confronted him alone (and he was a big dude) we had a conversation in which he ended up in tears, told me what he really needed was help, and gave me my cellphone back, and I gave him 10 bucks unsolicited and more importantly some empathy. I saw "drug-dealers" - really just poor teenagers selling small amounts of marijuana on their neighborhood corner - hustle their butts off for seven bucks so they could feed themselves and their many siblings after they've paid back their dealer. I saw those same young people on the same corner then next day looking for legitimate work in the want-ads, exasperated that all the jobs were out in the 'burbs. Feel free to read about a portion of my experience here: http://www.pulsetc.com/article.php?sid=2159

Because of my personal campaign experience of countless hours talking to volumes of people from all backgrounds, I can no longer sit by and allow negative stereotypes, generalizations, and vague vilifications go without some clarification.
Aaron Neumann
Bottineau Neighborhood
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