MINNEAPOLIS, August 3, 2020 -- Today, community members, barbers, faith leaders, and activists from across the city of Minneapolis gathered to express the urgency and popularity of making a transformational, positive change to how a safe Minneapolis will be created with community input, racial justice and harm reduction - with the first step being to change the city charter.
Study Summary here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XqA6nNMFdNPYPIKppsEDEcoqZ1nBzFu5?usp=sharing.
A new poll study – conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group and commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The Fairness Project – found that 61% of Minneapolis voters, including leaners, are prepared to vote ‘yes’ on the city charter change to create a “Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department,” with only 32% in opposition. The number of support jumps to 70% when asked of Black voters - those arguably most impacted by the potential change.
“The majority of people in Minneapolis support the 2020 charter amendment and a complete overhaul of policing so that ALL people are truly safe and healthy across the entire city. We are confident the Charter Commission will do the right thing Wednesday, making what amounts to a simple procedural vote, and respect our fundamental right to vote and decide the future of policing in our city,” said Minneapolis resident Elizer Darris, the ACLU of Minnesota Smart Justice organizer.
“This poll finding is not surprising, considering we’ve been talking with the people of Minneapolis for months about this issue. The people are ready for real change and this is an opportunity to have it,” said Keion Franklin, Barbershops and Black Congregation Cooperative (BBCC) of ISAIAH. “It would be right, fair and just for this commission of unelected officials to use their power of 15 people to usher in the democratic voice of over 400,000 people by letting the residents vote.”
“MPD is in crisis because of its long track record of disregard and disdain for Black lives, but police violence isn’t the whole problem,” said Lex Horan of Reclaim the Block. “MPD’s $192 million budget eats up a third of our city’s resources every year, and leaves community members fighting for crumbs for the things that actually make us safe: affordable housing, health care, mental health and violence intervention, community-based conflict resolution, and overdose prevention. This poll confirms that people in Minneapolis are ready to shift our resources to the places we need them most.”
“There are 192 million reasons why we can begin the process of building a city that actualizes a vision of true safety for all of us, and we have the opportunity to seed that hope into not only our community, but the entire world. Let Minneapolis continue to show the world we know that the revolution will not stop here, not in an undemocratic stop of the people’s power and vote,” said Oluchi Omeoga of Black Visions. “We need to move our money now to the alternatives and services that truly keep our folks safe, and divest from the violence of the police and invest in the necessary infrastructure that will build the life-affirming institutions that we desperately need.”
The recent nationwide shift in public opinion about the value of Black lives and the increased solidarity in the struggle against white supremacy and police violence has been groundbreaking. Minneapolis has been ground zero for this fight since the killing of George Floyd. The proposed charter amendment in the city is conceivably the most aspirational proposal being considered by any municipality in the nation. This poll confirms what much of the country is calling for: transformational change that both addresses the violence of our current systems and begins the process of building the necessary infrastructure to create systems that will create true safety for everyone in Minneapolis. The charter amendment is only the first of many steps.