With 2018 closing out as a year of history-makers, 2019 promises to be a year of change as outgoing elected officials pass the torch to the most diverse leadership in history across the nation and our state.
In Minnesota, new leaders have challenged themselves to create a space for and give a voice to all communities. Among them is Rep. Ilhan Omar, who became one of the nation’s first two Muslim U.S. congresswomen during her
Angela Conley was sworn in by Judge Pamela Alexander on Monday, Jan. 7 as the first Black person elected to serve as a Hennepin County commissioner. Alexander took her oath of office in the same room 35 years ago as the first Black judge in Hennepin County.
In her remarks, Conley thanked her thousands of supporters in the 4th District and said her seat belonged to the entire district.
“This seat belongs to ourunsheltered, those in shelter, our unemployed and our gainfully employed. It belongs to those of us coming out of our industrial complex and those that are still there. This seat belongs to our youth, it belongs to our elders, our taxpayers, our homeowners, and our renters.
“This seat belongs to the people who look like me that have historically been shut out of this very room. No matter who you are, this seat belongs to you,” she continued. “It is an honor and a privilege to lead with you.”
Irene Fernando, of Filipino descent, joined Conley as one of the county’s first two commissioners of color. She now represents District 2.
Keith Ellison was also sworn in Monday, taking on the mantle as “the People’s Lawyer” in his new role as Minnesota Attorney General. As the first Black person elected to a statewide position, the former congressman said his office “will be the place where everybody counts and everybody matters.”
Other emerging leaders in this new year include Minnesota Reps. Ruth Richardson, Mohamud Noor
Tune in to the MSR throughout the coming months as we follow their progress turning goals into realities.
Stephenetta Harmon is a Black beauty editor, curator, and digital media and communications expert who builds platforms to celebrate the power, impact, and business of Black beauty. She is the former EIC for Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (2018-19) and current host of MSR Forefront, a digital roundtable series. She is the founder of Sadiaa Black Beauty Guide, the premier directory dedicated to Black-owned hair and beauty businesses. Find her at stephenetta.com.