We fight because we love. Many of us organize, run for office, or become active in our place of faith because we care about what’s happening to our friends and neighbors. In some cases, we may have never met the big spirits of the small children who sang songs to the clouds as they rode on the shoulders of their parents over 2,000 miles in the hopes of securing refuge to only be welcomed by the generous sting of tear gas. Yet, somehow, we know enough about humanity to give a damn. We dig deep and stand up. We zero in and act. Together, we birth solutions. There is so much to do. Before we are done addressing one issue, we’re already tackling another one. We do this again. And again. And again. Until it starts to get hard to stand in the sun. Until it gets hard to see yourself and them and us and the good all around here.
This is why I want to take moment and ask – what’s good Minneapolis?
For me, it is dropping by the Mercado Central for an impromptu visit over tamales with Doña Queta, an abuelita who 20 years ago helped to establish this cooperative in the heart of the Latino community. It is admiring artists like Junauda in ceremony at the MayDay Parade and taking over the streets on our beat-up bikes. It is soaring high with the rainbow flags fluttering on every block the day Karen Clark stood on the stairs of the state Capitol to declare, “Love is the law!” It is smiling big with my comadre Ilhan Omar for iftar dinners at Safari. It is walking on Cedar Avenue and doing the head nod to Clyde Bellecourt as he drives past Little Earth. It is warming up at the Friendship Store Coop, staring out the frosty window wondering what it was like when Prince went to school here. It is getting up every day with one prayer in mind – all are welcomed here – and having the courage to fight for that belief on any given day.
It’s good to know who we are and what we stand for. The beauty of openly celebrating our identities and having them firmly recognized in the city that is home to Lake Bde Maka Ska is a bountiful act that should be shared by all. However, it behooves us to acknowledge that we live in a city plagued by racial disparities where the ability to provide proof of identity (such as a driver’s license) is a basic necessity that many of us take for granted. We have so much good in this city, we need to do more to ensure every one of our neighbors can feel welcomed, included, and invited to share in these benefits.
This is why the City of Minneapolis is now taking action to remove some of these barriers to ensure all Minneapolis residents are able to display their sense of pride and belonging to the 612. This Friday, the City Council and the mayor will approve an ordinance to establish a municipal identification card program available to any Minneapolis resident age 13 and up. The card will be officially recognized by the Minneapolis Police Department and it will be connected to a variety of uses such as a bus pass, for banking, and to get discounts at some of your favorite restaurants. In the future, we hope it will serve as a library card and to get you a reduced membership at your local gym. The card will allow participants to self-select their preferred name and gender. This is a card for Minneapolis and by Minneapolis. Removing barriers to ensure everyone in Minneapolis can get access to a widely accepted form of identification will help us share in the benefits of the city we care for, fight for, and call home.
It’s exciting to be a part of this municipal identification effort as we join dozens of cities across the country to tackle innovative policies that capture and build on our local community pride. We want to ensure everyone from the residents experiencing homelessness at the Wall of Forgotten Natives to the Latino families on Lake Street can share in the good that is Minneapolis. You can learn more about this effort at www.minneapolismn.gov/clerk/municipal-ID.
Alondra Cano represents the Ninth Ward on the Minneapolis City Council.
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