I’d like to start by thanking everyone who has lent a hand to our Twin Cities neighbors during this difficult time. It’s moving to see Minnesotans coming together to gather food and basic supplies and to clean up and rebuild. But these short-term contributions are not enough – I encourage people to dedicate themselves to continuing the work of addressing the deep inequities that exist in many of our systems. Acknowledging the racism that exists, and has existed, in our country since its founding is difficult but necessary. This past school year, the students at my kids’ school would gather monthly for “good human” groups to learn about others and better connect with each other. I hope that we can all commit to putting in the effort to be “good humans” to everyone in our community, even when sometimes that work is hard or uncomfortable.
(Last week I stopped by Lexington Floral to drop off some donations!)
Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Proposals
Last Tuesday, the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus – of which I’m a member – unveiled a legislative agenda to move forward in the upcoming special legislative session that begins this Friday. The bills in this package of legislation address many areas, including but not limited to the following:
I encourage you to watch our press conference here. Exact bill language will be posted soon, and the bills are slated to be introduced on the first day of special session. These reforms are the first steps needed to create fundamental change and ensure all Minnesotans can be safe in their communities.
Virtual Town Hall – Friday, June 19 at 12 p.m.
Rep. Kelly Moller, Sen. Jason Isaacson, and I invite you to join us for a virtual town hall meeting to discuss issues that are important to our community. We’ll meet at noon on Friday, June 19 via Zoom, a free video conferencing app that you can download ahead of time.
To access the meeting, you’ll need to enter a meeting ID number (917 5829 2795) and a password (765690). You can join via phone by calling 312-626-6799 and entering the meeting ID and password when prompted. CTV North Suburbs also plans to broadcast the meeting on cable channel 15 and HD859. If you have any questions that you’d like us to address during the town hall, please send them to email@example.com along with your name and address.
The Minnesota Department of Health is advising everyone who attended a protest, vigil, or community clean-up to get tested for COVID-19. If you start to feel sick, you should get tested right away. If you don’t feel sick, get tested 5-7 days after the event. If the test is negative and you’re worried you might have been exposed, you can get another test 12-14 days after the event. You can find more information and a testing location near you here.
Stay Safe MN
Many restaurants, bars, salons, and barbershops reopened last Monday as we entered a new phase of the Stay Safe Plan. Restaurants and bars are now offering outdoor dining, and salons and barbershops are operating at 25 percent capacity. Additional changes take effect on Wednesday, June 10. Dine-in restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues will be allowed to begin reopening, and places of worship, salons, and barbershops will be able to accommodate more people. You can find more details and information about the various phases of the Stay Safe Plan here.
As workplace and social settings gradually reopen, concerns about COVID-19 remain. Please continue social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and following public health guidelines. The gradual reopening process is more likely to succeed if Minnesotans take actions to protect themselves, other customers, and employees.
If your child received free or reduced-price school meals this past year, the new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program can help you buy food while schools are closed. Families with children between the ages of 5 and 18 can receive up to $325 per child to spend on groceries. You can learn more about P-EBT and apply here. Applications are due by Tuesday, June 30.
Energy Assistance Available
The eligibility requirements and application deadlines for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) have changed in response to COVID-19. New funding is now available to help Minnesotans pay heating bills, repair or replace heating systems, and improve energy efficiency. If your ability to pay energy bills has been impacted by COVID-19, you can apply for assistance here. While the application deadline has been extended to September 30, folks should apply as soon as possible in case the funding is exhausted.
Community Conversation on Water Management and Flooding TONIGHT
Ramsey County officials are inviting residents to join a community conversation about flooding issues in and around Shoreview today at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 9. The officials will talk about actions being taken to address the issue and answer questions from community members. You can access the meeting via Microsoft Teams at https://bit.ly/2MxMn9O or by calling in to 651-728-6653 and entering the Conference ID (751 500 628#). More information is available here.
In closing, I want to acknowledge that many people in our neighborhoods are feeling uneasy and overwhelmed these days. I’ve spent the past four years visiting many of you, often at your front doors, and I truly believe in the goodness of our community. Whether it’s through our schools, our places of worship, our jobs, or our Facebook pages, we organize and take care of each other. Know that you are not alone and overwhelmingly surrounded by decent people. We will all get through this together.
If I can be of assistance to you in accessing food or other resources, or if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at 651-296-7153 or firstname.lastname@example.org .