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Tough Questions (Restore the Vote Block Party)

Join the Leaders of the Justice 4 All (J4A) Program Tuesday, September 27th at 5pm as we host the Restore the Vote MN Coalition for a Block Party, door knock and phone bank. We will be reaching out to formally incarcerated Minnesotans across the state to move them to action this election. 

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Today, there are at least 20,000 incarcerated people across the country on strike demanding fair wages, better work conditions and humane treatment. This is the largest prison strike in the history of our country. People are risking their safety, being thrown into isolation and cut off from their family members just to make sure their voices are heard.

What are you risking to make this world more humane?

Today, many people sat glued to their phones as another unarmed Black Man was gunned down in Tulsa, Oklahoma and videotaped for all of us to watch. Another family has lost one of its own to state-sanctioned violence. Let the outcry and demand for Justice begin as another person transitions from a living man to a hashtag.

What are you demanding?

This past weekend, we saw the community of Saint Cloud, MN torn apart by an individual’s senseless acts of violence.… Continue reading »

Coming together after a tragedy – Saint Cloud

I’m Justin Lewandowski. I was born and raised in Saint Cloud. I am also a former student of Saint Cloud State, and I’m a community organizer. What happened in Crossroads, in my community, this weekend is a tragedy. I’m hurting and so is the rest of my TakeAction team. We wish the ten victims of the attack and their families healing and strength. We’re well aware of the amount of pain this nonsensical violence has put into our communities — the victims, their families, and all of the residents of Saint Cloud.

In this time of sadness and pain, I wish nothing more than for my hometown, my community, to come together to heal from this tragedy. I want us to form deeper connections with each other so that we may be able to better understand each other and in turn, better see each other’s full humanity.

I know that one of the best ways to do just that is through our stories and listening to one another. Here are two community members’ reflections. I share them with you so that we can come together and heal. So that we can better support the people directly impacted by this act of violence and their families.… Continue reading »

A Grandparents’ Day Reflection

Last Sunday was Grandparents’ Day. I’m 72, a Grandparent of 4, and in June, I moved in with my niece to help her care for her newborn – my four-month old great nephew. I’m also a member of TakeAction Minnesota’s Senior Caucus. And last Sunday, in honor of Grandparents’ Day, I did a lot of reflecting on care and caregiving.

As I reflected, I realized how much is uncertain. You might think that by my age there are fewer questions. There’s a stereotype out there about old, wise, women. And though I do consider myself wise in many ways, as I think about my own life and the lives of those around me, I was struck by how many unanswered questions I have.

There are the simple ones. “What were the words to that lullaby?” And, “what tricks did I use to soothe a fussy baby?” And, “where the heck did I put my walking stick?”

But there are also tougher questions about my own future. “What will happen when I can’t take care of myself anymore?” “Do I have enough saved?” “What living situations will make me happiest as I get older?”

And perhaps most importantly, there are some questions that I think must be asked of people who are in positions of power.… Continue reading »

Together, we won paid sick time in St. Paul

Driven by the leadership of workers and their families, we were part of an incredible coalition that won paid sick time for more than 72,000 workers in Saint Paul! Now, all workers will be able to have up to 6 days of paid sick and safe time. And you know what, every single business will need to offer this for their workers  –  no exceptions.

As a black woman that’s helped lead this campaign and who comes from a low-income community that too often lacks access to paid sick time, this means so much to me. And I know I’m not alone. Because of this, I want to let you know how this win was possible.

Towards the end of our long and hard fight for paid sick time in Minneapolis, we jumped into this campaign led by our partners at ISAIAH.

Driven by the leadership of workers, and alongside a powerful coalition of partners like –  ISAIAH, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) and many others – we worked hard to ensure that the Saint Paul City Council recognize the crisis that many, many workers in their city are living in without paid sick time.… Continue reading »

A doorknock with Erin Maye Quade

Hello, my name is Raul Noguera-McElroy, and I was an elections intern with TakeAction this summer! My last day was on August 16th. I hail from New Mexico and was connected to TakeAction through Carleton College alumni who are staff at TakeAction. The best part of my elections internship this summer was participating in what  the Trekker Door Knocks. My favorite door knock was the one I did on behalf of Erin Maye Quade, who is running to represent the Apple Valley region in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Although the entire experience was incredibly fun, I want to highlight the moments that made the door knock both fun and powerful for me.

First, I appreciated meeting Erin before knocking doors and asking how she would work on issues facing Latinos like myself. Her answer shifted the narrative for me because as a Latino I felt powerful and listened to, an event that is a rarity in today’s political world. This experience sent the message to me that for the first time, my voice and my community would be heard and represented in St. Paul. Before this experience, I had felt like Latinos and our issues never made it past the front doors of the Capitol, let alone into the minds of legislators.… Continue reading »

5 reasons TakeAction members endorsed Ilhan Omar

Want to know why our members were so excited to endorse Ilhan Omar for State Representative? Here are the top five reasons:


Ilhan Omar’s leadership reflects our values for racial, gender and economic justice. Ilhan:

  • Supported the Ban the Box legislation in 2013
  • Joined the strike led by nurses of the Minnesota Nurses Association fighting to keep their health care
  • Currently serves as the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, where she supports the civic leadership of East African women.

With support from TakeAction, MN Nurses Association, Outfront Minnesota, former Mayor R.T. Rybak, State Senator Scott Dibble, and a teeming list of community members – Ilhan has the support behind her to win. While most of the establishment assumed that everyone would automatically line up behind the incumbent, Ilhan has worked hard to prove she is the best choice for her district – and our members agreed when we resoundingly endorsed her earlier this year.


Ilhan has built a broad coalition that truly represents the diverse and beautiful communities of her district. Students, immigrants, and neighbors too often alienated by politics have joined her campaign. She has a team led by students and women of color, she has older white folks calling other seniors to talk about why its #Time4Ilhan.… Continue reading »

Changes at TakeAction

I’ve been at TakeAction Minnesota since we opened our doors more than 10 years ago, and I can tell you first-hand that this organization has never stood still, not even for a day.  Our network of powerful people and people’s organizations is always growing and changing.  And today we announce some more changes – both exciting and sad.

First the sad.  Liz Doyle, our Associate Director for almost all of these past 10 years will be leaving us.  While she will stay on our staff in a reduced role over the next couple months, she will be transitioning out of TakeAction Minnesota to seek out new opportunities.  Liz is a uniquely gifted strategic thinker, a talented and relentless organizer and coalition builder and, she is simply one of the most effective and powerful people I’ve ever known.  Period.  While she is not always in the limelight, ask anyone who has worked with Liz and they will tell you: if something good is happening, Liz Doyle is at the center of it.  From expanding health care to banning the box to passing earned sick and safe time in Minneapolis to much much more, she’s a driving force for justice in our state. … Continue reading »

A Call to Justice

We don’t have a Justice System, we have a crime and punishment system. One that protects the profits and property of the wealthy, and divides and controls the rest of us. If we do nothing, this system, steeped in racism, sexism, and built to enhance corporate power, will continue to target and dismantle our families. All over the country, people are standing up and demanding justice. Here is what the Justice 4 All program has been up to this month, and what we have coming up.

The Leaders of the Justice 4 All Program repeatedly joined BLM, AFT and allies in the streets, shutting down highways and taking arrests. We supported artists who were weary from marching and therefore decided to take their heartfelt expressions to the Minneapolis streets by painting a powerful mural. J4A Leaders continued our work on Voting Rights restoration and met with the Secretary of State’s office. Lastly, we brought our partners together for an event in North MPLS focused on fun and supporting our family members who are incarcerated.

Together with C.E.O. (Change Equals Opportunity), Mad Dads, the Office of Black Male Student Achievement, we hosted a 3 on 3  stop-the-violence basketball tournament along with our J4A Community Member Meeting.… Continue reading »

Meet Care Worker Action

Last week,  Abena wrote about two women who show us how critical it is to have more women in leadership at the state legislature. Like many of you, I am inspired by these women and our other TakeAction endorsed candidates because they give me a glimpse of hope, a vision of the future of our state.

And I also know that leadership at our state Capitol is not enough. For most of us, we learn
about the world, we shape our ideas of who we can and should be, far away from marble halls of the Capitol building. We learn and grow at home, on our neighborhood blocks, in classrooms and the living rooms of our friends and family. And so we can’t just look for leadership at the Capitol, we have to look for leadership at home.

This is what a new program of TakeAction Minnesota, Care Worker Action, is all about. Care Worker Action works to build the leadership and power of home care workers and Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) who work to provide in-home care like housekeeping, personal care, and other support to seniors and people with disabilities.

There are 55,000 home care workers in Minnesota. Overwhelmingly, these workers are women (estimated at 89%), disproportionately people of color, and the average wage is $10.80/hour with little opportunity for raises or advancement, even after decades of experience.… Continue reading »

An interview with Amanda Otero: Organizing + Elections

Hey, I’m Mary Kate Hall, Organizing Intern. I came to TakeAction this summer, expecting to gain some insight into the electoral process and eager to join in the fight to realize their bold vision for our state. I’ve been an intern for five weeks, and TakeAction has already my expectations. In a short-time, I’ve learned that nothing that much of what this organization does isn’t conventional or expected. TakeAction’s vision for the elections is no exception: We know that if we want the power to govern, we need to do more than just win these elections. We need to build powerful relationships with these candidates and continue to build a powerful base of leaders to ensure that our work with them extends far beyond November.

I sat down with my supervisor Amanda Otero (Deputy Organizing Director) to talk more about what that work looks like for our organizing team and volunteers, and how it’s different than what we’ve done in the past.

Q: How is our organizing work different during the elections?

A: All of our work is about bringing people in, developing leaders through campaigns, and making concrete changes in the lives of Minnesotans. The election work is different because this kind of campaigning might not feel like it’s making a concrete change right now, but we have a vision of electing our own people who will help us make changes in the future.Continue reading »

Representative Rena Moran and Maria Regan Gonzalez

We’ve been witnessing heartbreaking violence on the news lately. The discussion around race has taken over – at the water cooler, at our dinner tables, and in our door knocking conversations. At TakeAction, we believe that we need people from all races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, religions, etc. to hold elected office and to be part of the discussions for us to move conversations forward, and start making some real change. We know that only 5% of the 201 legislative seats being filled by people of color is not enough. We know that 33% of the 201 legislative seats being filled by women is not enough. And for offices smaller than that level, we don’t even track statistics.

We are ready for legislators and representatives who look like and can speak for our many, diverse communities, who’re willing to fight for racial and economic justice, and that’s why we are committed to endorsing BOLD progressive candidates. We are excited to share our newest endorsements that will be powerful voices for their communities, two leaders and women of color:

Representative Rena Moran

Rena is currently the only African-American woman in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She represents district 65A, one of the most diverse districts in the state.… Continue reading »

Philando Castile

This is a statement we’ve put together as the TakeAction staff. 

This week, this month, and this year have been incredibly painful and challenging for our country. All of us here at TakeAction are grieving and shaking with rage.

We witnessed yet another set of murders of black men at the hands of the police –  Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile, a beloved father who worked with children in St. Paul Public Schools, in Falcon Heights. In that same week, four Latinos faced a similar fate. This needs to end.

In Dallas, many people joined together for a peaceful day of action and came to an abrupt stop when a lone gunman targeted 11 police officers, killing five. We mourn for the families of these officers. This is a tragedy – for all of us – and it is not a reflection of those who stand up to police misconduct. And, we can’t let it stop the conversation we’re having as a country on the rights of Black community and other people of color.

Here’s where we’re at as the TakeAction community, a historically white organization that now has a growing presence and leadership of people of color: As people of color at TakeAction, we fear for our lives and wellbeing, questioning whether or not we and our loved ones will be safe – while continuing to lead work in each of our own communities.… Continue reading » Id Fake Card Washington Maker

Meet Abena and our newly endorsed slate of candidates

Hi Friends!
My name is Abena Abraham, and I just recently joined the TakeAction Minnesota family, as the Elections CoordinatorMassachusetts Buy Premium We - Ids Make Fake Id Scannable. In my role, I’m going to help lead our elections programs. I’m so excited to be joining the TAMN family because the values of the organization resonate with me and the issues and ideals I stand for. I am excited to build meaningful and lifelong relationships with our endorsed candidates, so that we have friends at the Capitol when we are pushing our progressive agenda.

This year, we are endorsing our candidates in a new way – directly with our allies. We are using the People’s Agenda as a guideline for how we endorse. The People’s Agenda outlines our 2017 legislative priorities, crafted together with our friends at SEIU, OutFront, MNA, EdMN, NOC and others. We are being intentional in making sure that we are centering the voices of Minnesotans in our decisions. We are not only endorsing these candidates and assisting them in winning, but we are making sure that our members are building relationships with them. Through these relationships we want to be able to push for bolder and more progressive legislation.

A few weeks ago, we joined with our People’s Agenda allies for a joint endorsement screening (see picture above).… Continue reading » Marijuana To What Apply Need For Medical A Katv You Card

It hurts us all

My name is Ben Whalen. I’m a white guy who grew up middle class from the suburbs. I’ve lived a fairly privilege life.  For a long time, I was ignorant of the systemic injustices present in our justice system. I bought into the dominant narrative that only “bad guys” go to jail and get what they deserve for the crimes they committed. It wasn’t until I moved to the Twin Cities after college and got involved in advocacy and community organizing groups that I started to question that narrative. I now have multiple friends with criminal records who’ve told me about the challenges they face  to find housing and jobs long after they’ve served their time. I’ve listened to the stories from my friends who are people of color about how police arrested them, beat them, and assumed they were criminals because they “fit the description.” I’ve had friends who were exercising their right to protest, advocating for police accountability, who’ve been met with similar treatment from the police. I’ve now read about and listened to experts on mass incarceration explain how it perpetuates systemic racism. After all of this, I cannot remain silent.

In college, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa and learn about its history and culture.… Continue reading »

The First Earned Sick Time Win in Minnesota

We did it! Driven by the leadership of workers, we won earned sick and safe time in Minneapolis for more than 123,000 people. From now on, all workers will be able to earn up to 6 days of paid sick and safe time. And they will be able to use them without being penalized for it. Id Washington Maker Card Fake

Minneapolis has joined 25 other cities across the country that’ve passed a similar policy and it’s the very first city in the Midwest to do so. Let’s revisit the work that happened to make this possible.

Last August, with workers in the front lines, we launched #MPLSWorks – an effort to raise standards for working families by passing policies like fair workweek, earned sick time, wage theft protections, and $15 an hour minimum wage.

The Workplace Partnership Group was established in October of 2015 and tasked to create recommendations for an earned sick and safe time ordinance. Liz Doyle, TakeAction Minnesota’s Associate Director, served as Chair and the Group made strong recommendations after hearing from thousands of workers and business owners. Because of a lot of grassroots organizing those recommendations are the backbone of the policy the City Council passed today!… Continue reading »

Session is Over…

Session is over, and for the past nine weeks, J4A Leaders set out to change who decides and who benefits. We put in hours of volunteer work, we told our stories boldly and came together in powerful and meaningful ways. We repeatedly proclaimed that we believe in a Minnesota where people have the power to make the decisions that affect our communities, our lives and our futures. Here is a sample of what we did together.

We Won Some Stuff: Shoulder to shoulder with allies, we supported a modest sentencing reform package that will reduce the prison population significantly over the next five years. We continued our fight for the restoration of voting rights and while it did not pass as a law, due to a variety of dynamic and strategic work done by allies, the bill did advance in the Senate for the 3rd time. Finally, we fought side by side with allies to prevent a privet prison from opening in Appleton MN and were successful.

We Built: This Session, J4A Leaders connected our work to Minnesotans across the state. We started out the year at Lino Lakes Prison building with our partners at Voices for Racial Justice and the brave men incarcerated at Lino Lakes Correctional Facility.… Continue reading »

Advocates for paid sick leave press Duluth city leaders

Duluth officials continue to hear from groups that would have the city bring paid sick leave to greater numbers of people who work in the city.

With Minneapolis about to rule on sick leave reform for its workers, and St. Paul possible to follow, Duluth finds itself in the eye of a special interest campaign aimed at policy change at the city government level.

On Tuesday, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and TakeAction Minnesota of Duluth released data analysis that showed while more than half of the workers in Duluth benefit from paid sick leave, nearly 20,000 workers (46 percent) are without the added benefit. Even Duluth’s 54 percent of workers with paid sick leave would fall short of a 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that found 65 percent of American workers received paid sick leave.

“We are aware of the interest for a citywide ordinance,” said Mayor Emily Larson in a statement released to the News Tribune on Tuesday. “This is an important communitywide issue needing a broader community conversation, and I welcome that opportunity in the coming months.”

While men and women in Duluth benefitted at the same 54 percent rate of access to paid sick benefits, low-income and part-time workers were the most likely to go unprotected, said the new report.… Continue reading »

“If they come for me in the morning…”

Angela Davis said “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you at night.” A reminder that none of us are safe from systems steeped in ideas of racial, gender and economic oppression. Not white folks, black folks, not other people of color, not men, women or transgender folks. Not poor or middle class, we all stand to lose from a crime and punishment system designed to protect the profits and property of the wealthy and divide and control the rest of us, so we better come together. The only way to create the change we seek is to build a statewide multiracial movement.

The Justice 4 All Program (J4A) has been working on building our part of the movement during the month of April.

We started things out at Saint Cloud State University. J4A Leaders led a powerful discussion on the impact of the Justice System, and students left ready to take this work to the streets. Much more to come in Saint Cloud.

Three times this month we publicly debated Republicans on the issue of Justice Reform. We were live on MPR with GOP Rep. Tim Miller, author of the proposal to reopen a prison in Appleton MN.Continue reading »

Hope and Unity

Ana Lozano
My understanding and interest in politics has been vague until this year. I never truly understood the power of my vote until I attended the DFL convention for district 60B as a delegate. My only motive for wanting to become a delegate was simply to have a better understanding of the process. That all changed when I heard Ilhan Omar speak at my caucus, I was automatically intrigued by her humble and genuine nature which is hard to find in today’s legislatures. I was also excited to have a representative that would understand the struggles of an immigrant family in the U.S.

My mother an asylee from El Salvador’s civil war will finally be receiving her U.S citizenship after 26 years in this country! We have struggled to find our voice and place in this country because with no representation for immigrant families our issues go unheard and unnoticed. I entered the DFL convention early Saturday bursting with excitement, energy and hope to finally elect a representative that understands the challenges that communities of color face.

The convention started slow but I remained hopeful. I grew more and more impatient in my seat. I started questioning the process, “why am I here” I thought to myself.… Continue reading »

Women leading at TakeAction

We’re growing and changing at TakeAction, and we want to get you caught up! We have three great organizers who are taking on lead roles in our organization. We want you to get to know them and learn a little bit about the vision they have for their new roles.

Amanda Otero and Jessica English have been with TakeAction for sometime, and have recently taken on new roles. Cacje Henderson is brand new to the TAMN team. Keep reading to learn about them!

Amanda Otero, Deputy Organizing Director

I organize because I am pushed every day to live into the truth that I am enough. As a woman and as a light-skin Latina, I have been told time and again that I’m not enough, and because of this, I’ve lived a lot of my life out of a place of shame. Organizing has given me the opportunity to say ya basta, to affirm who I am, to develop a vision for myself.

As TakeAction’s Deputy Organizing Director, I am excited to work more closely with our organizers and leaders to model the kind of organizing we want to see in our state – one where we can take on bold changes, where dismantling structural oppression in our own lives and in our communities is a priority, where we know when to listen and follow the lead of people directly impacted by the issues we’re fighting against.… Continue reading »

Are you in to fight climate chaos?

I’ve got some big news, and I want to hear what you think about it.

I want you to join other TakeAction Minnesota members in tackling the biggest challenge we have ever taken on — dangerous climate change and the systems of injustice that drive it.

We want you to shape this work to make a just and livable future for everyone from the start. Raise your hand if you’re with us, and tell us what you’d be most excited to fight for.A Many Drivers Numbers Have How License Does Nc

Members like you have talked to us for years about the importance of taking on climate justice and we heard you. The proposal to get to work passed with a unanimous, enthusiastic vote at the recent TakeAction Annual Meeting.

Here’s the very personal reason I hope you will raise your hand to take part in this fight:

Last summer my wife and I welcomed our third child into the world, baby Joseph.

As we were home with him and reminding ourselves of how much caring and fun a baby requires, I started reading This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. This challenging book starts with a thoroughly-documented explanation of the science of chaotic climate change: Carbon emissions from our predatory, capitalist system are right on the edge of triggering a series of catastrophes that scientists say we can neither predict or control.Continue reading »

A call to action

James Badue is a member of the Justice 4 All Program at TakeAction Minnesota. He is helping to lead the fight to remove barriers to employment, housing and democracy for Minnesotans impacted by the Justice System. As J4A members gear up to take on new fights, James offers this powerful reflection on the announcement from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman that there will be no indictment in the shooting of Jamar Clark.

As I sat at the table of Muddy Waters in South side MPLS with Tommy Franklin (Justice 4 All Organizer), Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s announcement played live on his laptop. The aggravation of knowing the results before he announced it sat in my chest as I recalled the murder of a friend of mine who was shot and killed by the police on his graduation day. Then Trayvon, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, and all the other unknown brothers and sisters who have been murdered by the police with no justice.

In this city, there is no justice, it is just “us”.

Having recently been freed from the walls of imprisonment in 2014, I, like many of us, know what being held accountable for our actions means.… Continue reading »

Voting is only one way to be a part of the political process

My name is Nicole Riegert. I am a nineteen-year-old student at the University of Minnesota and have recently started as an intern for the political team here at TakeAction MN. As a college student, I spend much of my time evaluating what is important to me and envisioning my future. My opportunities to build a life I find personally meaningful and positively impactful within my community can be limited or enriched by individuals who hold power. It is important to me that the officials making decisions that will influence my life and the lives of others in my community share our bold, progressive values. This November, I want to elect leaders who will challenge the status quo to ensure our voices are represented.

Thus, I ran to be a delegate to the Senate District Convention this April and support the candidates endorsed by TakeAction. At the convention, delegates elected on March 1st present issues, debate, and choose House and Senate candidates for their party. To better understand the process, I sat down with Mary and Quinn. Mary, who has been elected a delegate to the State Convention, tells us why being a delegate matters to her. See her video here.… Continue reading »

Changing the face of politics: Ruben Vazquez & Mary Kunesh-Podein

It’s a BIG election year. We’ve got the presidential elections taking over every headline in the major news outlet across the country. Countless rallies and speeches are happening in every state during their local caucuses and conventions. In the midst of all this BIG campaigning, it’s easy to lose sight of the races that are happening now in our own neighborhoods, right here. 

These are people who will make decisions that impact us each and every day. People who come from our communities, who are most accountable to us, their constituents. We’ve endorsed candidates in targeted local races who are ready to fight to arm in arm with us to create a Minnesota where everyone can thrive. To make sure our endorsed candidates make it to the Capitol, we have the goal of raising $1,000 per candidate in April.

Can you help us meet this critical goal by making a contribution of $5 TODAY? Your contribution means more door knocks, community forums, phonebanks, and outreach online — everything it takes to make sure they make it to the Capitol.

Today I want to introduce you to Ruben Vazquez, who’s running for State Representative in 41A , and Mary Kunesh-Podein, who’s running for State Representative in 41B, TWO candidates who will co-govern with us, and who will not only change the face of the Capitol but are also ready to make a huge impact.… Continue reading »

We are fearless…

As a new father, I have learned many tricks for getting my son to fall asleep in the middle of the night. Littering his crib with pacifiers so when he loses one, he can grab another one. Setting the mood with lavender scent and turning on his Ninja Turtle night light that shines stars on the ceiling. Finally, I rock him slowly in my arms, his chest covering my heart, his head on my shoulder, and sing freedom songs.

“We are the children of the ones who did not die.”
“We are the children of a people who can fly!”
“We are fearless, we are strong, we are ready to carry on.”

The last thing my son hears before he falls asleep are the words “We are fearless, we are strong, we are ready to carry on.” My hope is that he learns to always push and fight to help make this world a lil better for all of us. Just like the Leaders of the Justice 4 All Program.

These past few weeks have been busy for the Justice 4 All program. We kicked off the Legislative Session by joining forces with the MPLS NAACP and RTVMN Coalition on Twitter.… Continue reading »

Join us on March 15: Bring Back the Voices of 47,000 Minnesotans

The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition is holding the Second Chance Day on the Hill, annual rally on March 15th, at 10:00 am, at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill.  Join Leaders from the Justice 4 All Program as we rally with our allies and show state lawmakers how important justice reform is to Minnesota. The following statement is from the Co-Chair of the Second Chance Coalition, Josh Esmay.

My name is Josh Esmay; I am the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Council on Crime and Justice, and co-chair of the Second Chance Coalition.

The issue at the heart of the Coalition’s mission- the collateral consequences of criminal records- is one of the most important problems facing our society.  In the last 30 years we’ve seen a massive increase in the scope of our criminal justice system.  As a result, in Minnesota alone, today an estimated 1 in 4 people have a criminal record.  And now, changes in technology have made people’s records incredibly easy to access, causing stigma to permeate nearly every aspect of one’s life, from employment, to housing, to civil engagement and personal relationships. As an attorney, practicing both in the public defender system and at Council on Crime and Justice, I’ve had the privilege of working with many good people whose lives have been devastated by their involvement in the criminal justice system. … Continue reading »

Get out to caucus!



We participate in the party process, even when we operate as an independent political alignment, because we believe that in order to build this statewide alignment and political power – we need to support our candidates on their path toward winning elections. To do this, we fill the rooms with our progressive voices. We support and uphold our progressive champions. We make sure our communities are led by people who look like us and understand our needs.

Without engaging in the process it will continue to be closed, confusing, and power will be isolated – held by a precious few who know the rules. We need to be informed and we need to act powerfully by acting together.


Precinct Caucuses: Tuesday, March 1st from 6:30 – 8:00PM. Find your location here!

  1. Support TakeAction endorsed and/or your local candidates by becoming a delegate – March 1st is the night to ensure you are chosen.
  2. Make your voice heard within the party by carrying a resolution – this lifts up the issues most important to us and building our movement.
Continue reading »

A Way Home

At TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice 4 All Program, I have found a home. Since being convicted of a felony more than a decade ago, I have long felt like an orphan to American society. And like many orphans, I ran away. I may not have always been conscious of it, but I was running. By running, I was postponing my truth. Joining the fight as the new Justice 4 All Organizer has allowed me to give my truth a makeover.

Trying to overcome the stain of your criminal background is like being sequestered in a deep sea submarine, with no clear idea of when you’ll resurface. Or, it’s as if you’re climbing a mountain, and you’re clever enough to find the least treacherous path to the top, only to discover that your entry to the top is not granted, because you left something at the bottom of the mountain. You’re then told that you must go back down the mountain, pick up your criminal record, and climb back up the most difficult route-the nearly impossible route-and if you do that, only then will you barely be considered being let all the way to the top. Now, it is very likely that, we, the formerly incarcerated, left with no other choice, will assess that alternative plan and deem it unworthy, that there is little to no opportunity or incentive to reroute and climb the mountain all over again.… Continue reading »

Connecting Our Stories — Emily

Emily Terrell is a Leader with the Justice 4 All Program at TakeAction Minnesota. As a
photographer she aims to document the progressive movement and as a counselor she works with young women in the Juvenile Justice System leading restorative practices. See her work on display this Wednesday, Feb 17th at an event sponsored by the MPLS NAACP. 

I believe that stories are powerful. Spending time with people, hearing their stories, and collectively finding meaning within them is what I do, and it is my life’s work.

It is why I was excited to partner with Justice 4 All on the Restore the Vote project. Because there are 47,000 stories in Minnesota that are not being heard by our body politic. 47,000 faces, names, histories, experiences, hurts, successes and perspectives that are excluded from the decision-making process.

Through the Restore the Vote project, I wanted to capture some of those faces, some of those perspectives, and make sure that the stories were told, even if they can’t do it at the ballot box, yet.

Justice 4 All and their community partners engaged the state of Minnesota in a rigorous campaign last session. I was invited to the Restore the Vote Panel and Exhibit hosted by the Minneapolis NAACP to share photography that highlights the stories of real people, people who are not able to have a voice in their democracy and who’re still fighting to change this, with the support of many allies, because we still haven’t won.… Continue reading »

“Is it too much for me to ask for my receipt?”

Last week the Justice 4 All Program was supportive of an event at Lino Lakes led by a group of incarcerated men called the B.R.I.D.G.E Trust. This group is led by Kevin Reese who, even though he is incarcerated, has organized not just the men at the prison, but several community partners, the MN Dept. of Corrections (DOC) and the Governor’s office to take note of the powerful work they are leading to advance prison reform.

It is my pleasure to share Kevin Reese’s wisdom on the issue of Voting Rights Restoration with you. Please share with your people.   

My name is Kevin Reese, and I’m 28 and I’ve been in prison since I was 18. I take full responsibility for my actions that led me here. The state of Minnesota sentenced me to 22 years to pay my debt to society, and paying my debt is what I’ve been doing. I’ve completed every mandate that the judge placed in front of me, and tapped into every resource the prison can offer.

Now I want to pose the question: after I pay my debt is it too much for me to ask for my receipt? And on that receipt can we acknowledge that, jobs, community, and family are the cornerstones to keeping people from ending up back in prison?… Continue reading »

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