There are a multitude of ways to create change in a community - volunteering, serving on a governance board or working committee, organizing an issue campaign, and much more. One of the methods of public service, however, that is often overlooked by emerging leaders, is that of elected office.
At the Minneapolis Urban League Young Professionals event this past Wednesday, Minnesota State Senator, Mee Moua, asked audience members to stand and remain standing if they supported access healthcare, quality education, good jobs, for communities of color. Every person in the room was on their feet, proud to demonstrate their belief in a stronger, more equitable community. Then Senator Moua asked her final question, "How many of you are willing to run for office in order to make sure these things happen? Remain standing." Most in the room looked around at each other sheepishly and sat down, with only a handful still up, declaring their willingness to take on a somewhat thankless, hopefully rewarding, and surely challenging, path to making their vision of a better community possible.
Given that there are only 25 days left until Election Day and that most people need to be asked to run, I want to make an ask of you, as someone who cares about their community, is engaged in work to serve the public, and who has the potential to make where you live or work or play better than it is today, to consider a future run for office. While you consider it, you can take a look at one emerging leader's first foray into this political sphere. Amber Collett has worked for several years as an environmental educator and organizer and is running for the Hennepin County Soil and Water District 2 seat in order to make possible the changes she sees as critical to protecting our natural resources. Our role, for the time being, is stand up in support of emerging leaders, like Amber, who are making this important decision, at least until we ourselves, as Senator Moua intimated, are ready to stand up and take the lead on the issues we each hold most dear.