For anyone who supported the George Floyd protests last year and is wondering how you can help support change now, there’s an important election in Minneapolis that you should be paying attention to. If George Floyd’s murder taught us anything, it’s that the police should not have to be experts for every situation. In order to keep everyone safe, we need specialists trained to facilitate a wide array of situations.
On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Minneapolis residents will vote on a transformative amendment to the city charter that will expand the public health resources city residents have access to on a day to day basis. The passage of the ballot question would be a form of justice for a city that has been at the center of public demands for criminal justice reform in our country. Now it’s time for all of us to support the effort for systemic justice in this brave city, which is leading the way for the entire nation. To learn more about the ballot initiative visit and be sure to follow us on Twitter @votingwhileblk, Instagram @VotingWhileBlack, and on Facebook at to keep up with our events.
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year was an egregious act of police violence that spurred the largest protest movement in American history. But when the protests died down, Minneapolis did not stay silent. The people of Minneapolis showed up in the streets, in the legislature and the courts to demand justice, not only for Floyd but for the entire city. More than 20,000 Minneapolis residents came together and signed a petition that got an important public safety question on the ballot: Question 2 that would create a Department of Public Safety that would include police, but also other public safety professionals that can respond effectively to a range of emergencies.
When Question 2 is approved, the city charter will be amended to create a comprehensive Department of Public Safety that will take a much needed public health approach to safety. After the measure is approved Minneapolis will continue to have police officers while the city transitions to a new Department of Public Safety. By taking this much-needed public health approach to safety, Minneapolis will begin to provide their residents with the appropriate resources to address public safety in ways that do not jeopardize Black and brown lives.
Question 2 questions the resources we use to address public safety and encourages us to push for new ones, to provide the best support for our future. Color Of Change PAC, as one of the largest Black PACs in the country, follows the lead of our community. With over 46,000 members in Minneapolis, we are helping Black people and our allies use their power effectively to enact the change they want and need in our society.
Ahead of Election Day, Color Of Change PAC has engaged in 25,000 conversations with Minneapolis voters who expressed interest in expanding public safety in their community. Since August, our PAC has made over 30,000 calls, sent 190,000 texts, and has led 25,000 conversations with Minneapolis voters. We have also hosted 45 events with over 676 attendees; these have included phone banking parties, text-a-thons, canvassing events, discussions, member-led local squad meetings, Virtual Zumba and a Minneapolis Squad Happy Hour.
We’ve sent two waves of mail to 35,000 households providing more information about Question 2 and how it will expand the resources attached to public safety in Minneapolis. These households consisted of all Black voters and Color Of Change PAC members. In early October, we produced a billboard in Hawthorne, raising awareness around Question 2 and the ways supporters can get involved. The PAC has and will hold events to help Black communities get out the vote while staying safe during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Minneapolis voters will have a chance to vote “yes” to safety, an expanded set of resources, and a more specialized approach to address public safety. This moment for Minneapolis is the start of something big. In cities across the country, community members are looking for ways they can expand on the resources they have access to, to address public safety better.
Jennifer Edwards is the senior director of digital engagement and democracy at Color Of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the country. Color Of Change helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.