The year began with a series of bills passed in the Minnesota state legislature that were designed to advance the DFL agenda. The party’s progressive platform included legalization of adult-use marijuana; the passage of the Crown Act that prohibited hair discrimination; establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday; and House Bill HF55, which established the Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls, authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson.
Months later, Rep. Richardson would resign from the legislature and take on the role of CEO of the regional Planned Parenthood organization.
The issue of homelessness in the Twin Cities and the challenges of finding affordable housing were persistent concerns throughout the year—from encampment evictions at The Quarry that marked the beginning of the year to the rally to stave off sweeps at Camp Nenookaasi in December.
Throughout the year, the fallout from the George Floyd murder, the DOJ report, and the criminal justice system continued to resonate with our community. From police reform to the new Minneapolis public safety commissioner’s arrival and departure, the $8.875 million the city paid to settle Derek Chauvin brutality cases, Chauvin’s stabbing in prison, the carjacking epidemic, crime and drug use on public transit, the standoff at Stillwater prison, and the debate over the relocation of the Third Precinct—are all evidence of the chronic issues that continue to plague our community.
In North Minneapolis, the year began with the closure of Aldi’s grocery and Walgreens and the prospect of relocation and marginalization of Northside businesses and cultural institutions to make way for the proposed Blue Line extension.
While the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has played out nationally, the response to the crisis locally has been largely muted. However, there were “good news” stories in 2023—Saint Paul’s reparation legislation, hip-hop’s 50th celebration, restoration of voting rights to those who were formerly incarcerated, and the exoneration and release of Marvin Haynes a few weeks ago after nearly 20 years in prison.