I’m a proud Eastsider of St. Paul and I’ve been so for the entire time I’ve lived in Minnesota. This year, I made the decision to purchase my first home in the Phalen Park area. The above picture is of me and my pup Rupert on the day we we closed this March! As a single Black woman and clergywoman in Minnesota, community means everything to me. Which means that not only do I depend on my neighbors, I do all I can to make sure my neighbors can also depend on me.

This is why I’m voting YES! for St. Paul this November to keep coordinated trash collection.

It’s about collective action for collective benefits

I believe, like most St. Paulites, that we should take care of one another so that we all have the opportunity to thrive. My neighborhood is rich in diversity and culture. The beautiful mix of Black, Hmong, Latinx and white folks who share the city with me bring their own gifts, talents and spirit that helps make this home. We also share our struggles.  But as we struggle together, we are the deciders about what’s possible.

We can declare that we can have quality public schools, libraries and recreation centers for our kids and young adults to learn, grow, play and develop. We can ensure that businesses pay our families livable wages and provide time for them to take care of themselves and one another when sick or in emergencies. We can make sure our immigrant neighbors, like all of our neighbors, experience full dignity and respect, including knowing their rights and having access to help and legal assistance. We can take care of the only planet we’ve been blessed with so that it survives – giving us clean air, water and soil for us and the many generations to come. We can ensure that we all have safe, quality housing that we can afford and is conducive to our family sizes and structures. 

When we put our collective resources and tax dollars to work on these things, we create the safe, caring, and inclusive St. Paul that we know is possible. Currently, there is a proposed budget for all these things with our mayor and elected leadership. A “no” vote could jeopardize this beautiful St. Paul we can build together. We can not get distracted by a problem we’ve already solved in coordinated trash collection. Instead, we can hold our leadership accountable to us, the people, to strengthen our city’s collective action to be even bolder than they’ve been in the past. By voting YES, we can collectively improve the current trash system AND use our resources and people power for all the good things we can have.

In my faith tradition, there is a parable about the “ten talents” that reveals how God often entrusts us to handle small things first in preparation for bigger things. St. Paulites have the opportunity to “Vote YES!” to collectively handling our trash collection so that we can say “YES!” to collectively handling our collective future. Because whether we’re white, black or brown we want affordable housing, big solutions to climate change, and schools St. Paul kids deserve.

It’s about racial equity

The beautiful St. Paul described above can only be created when we all contribute. Joy, equity, safety, trust and community is possible, but we can’t ignore that the current reality is that this St. Paul hasn’t manifested for many of us, primarily for people of color, because of a major divesting from black, brown, Asian and Indigenous communities. Minnesota’s large racial gap in wages, housing, employment and crime are a result of long time divesting and divisions created in communities of people who look like me. We are an abundant state and city. When we work together, across race, religion and income, we can all have the St. Paul we all need and deserve.

It’s about our environment 

I’m a single woman who heavily recycles and I only use about one trash bag a month in garbage. BUT, this move to collective action is not just about me. Because a Yes! vote lessens the likelihood of illegal dumping and removes multiple carbon emitting dump trucks from the roads, to vote Yes! saves the ozone layer and carbon emissions way more than my single act of recycling ever could! A Yes! Vote is a Yes! to our planet.

I’m ready to throw down and vote YES! for St. Paul. YES! For our planet, our people and our future. I’m praying that on or before Tuesday, November 5th, you Vote YES! with me too! 

Pledge to #VoteYesForStPaul by clicking here.