With support from the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, AIOIC helped bring together candidates and Native voters for a unique evening of discussion.
Voter engagement has been a long-standing issue for the Native community, with Native voter suppression in North Dakota becoming a headline story. Previous candidates have spent little time listening to the concerns of Minneapolis’s urban Indian community, and it’s a rare occasion when voters are able to speak one-on-one with candidates to voice their concerns.
With support from the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, American Indian OIC, and Little Earth Residents Association decided to host an Urban Indian Community Forum, which allowed candidates to meet Native voters and address the community’s most pressing concerns.
This unique opportunity brought together voters and Hennepin County candidates in the same room for an evening of discussion. Guests enjoyed a meal and discussed the issues that were most important to them. Each candidate had the opportunity to address the audience and discuss their goals for the community, and then sat down with guests to speak one-on-one.
Candidates in attendance were Senator Tina Smith (D – US Senate), Karin Housley (R – US Senate), Peggy Flanagan (D – MN Governor & Lt. Governor), Peter McLaughlin (Hennepin County Commissioner’s Office), Angela Conley (Hennepin County Commissioner’s Office), Ilhan Omar (D – US Congress – MN 5th District), Jen Zielinski (R – US Congress – MN 5th District), Kirsten Johnson (R – MN State Representative), and Aisha Gomez (D – MN State Representative).
Over 150 guests attended the Community Forum event. Each guest was given information about how to register to vote, where their polling place was, and the impact that their vote has on their community and greater Minnesota.
Thank you to the National Urban Indian Family Coalition for supporting American Indian OIC’s voter engagement efforts. Without their generous contribution, this event would not have been possible.
Ivy Estenson, Development Director