Minneapolis Council VP Andrea Jenkins Explains What It Means to Defund the Police and Legislate as a Black Trans Woman

Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins told The Root in an Instagram Live interview what exactly she means when she and her fellow council members call for defunding the police.

“Defunding the police means, in my mind, creating a new public safety mechanism that doesn’t require people with a gun to be able to respond to every need that our community has,” she said. Jenkins, who is the first openly Black trans woman to win elected office in America, said that the work around creating a new safety model in Minneapolis requires political imagination—and that much of her work is showing residents and elected officials that a new reality is possible.

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During our 50-minute conversation, Jenkins also discussed her frustration over the dearth of attention Black trans women receive when compared to Black men who are killed by police. We spoke about how she gets along with faith leaders and Black male activists who may not accept her because she is trans.

For her part, Jenkins says she gets along fine with community leaders because she comes as herself and is uncompromising with what her values are.

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Jenkins shared memories of the night she won her council seat in 2017 and the responsibility that feels to pave the way for other Black trans women who want to enter a career in politics.

Check out the full interview above.

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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