The Pollen community came together on September 14, 2021, for a conversation with advocates, artists, and organizers on the future of public safety in Minneapolis.

We explored community perspectives on policing, public safety, city budgets, and what we can do at the community level to turn imagination into action.

Sessions & Speakers


Erika Thorne, Showing Up For Racial Justice Twin Cities

D.A. Bullock, Reclaim The Block + Bully Creative Shop

MJ Carpio, Coalition of Asian American Leaders

Rodolfo Gutierrez, HACER

Moderated by Ruby Oluoch, Pollen

With a reading by Ricardo Levins Morales

What People Had to Say

“Still deep in the process of de-/re-conditioning & imagining what safety can look like. A big challenge for me is imagination, frankly. Grateful for/towards others who can help shape vision when it’s hard for me to see anything other than what I’m used to.”



“Loved the clarity and impact of the language on creating hope/hopeful lives. It feels so obvious (yet not obvious w/ current policies) and deep; we can use this as a beacon for direction and reframing: how can we create hopeful communities?”

This event was part of our Reimagine Public Safety story and video series, created in partnership with Pillsbury United Communities.

Stories by Nyemadi Louise Dunbar, Video and Photography by D.A. Bullock, Design and Editorial by Pollen.




Things Must Change

Story by Nyemadi Louise Dunbar

Whether they prefer reform or abolition, a consensus is emerging among those envisioning a better, safer future: Only through investing in, caring for and engaging with the community can any system of law enforcement be successful. 


Between the Numbers

Story by Nyemadi Louise Dunbar

Budgets are more than numbers on paper — they are snapshots of what we value and prioritize. So what does the Minneapolis City budget — and its nearly $200 million allocation for law enforcement — tell us about what our city values? In this piece, we look between the numbers and listen to community voices on what they see. Is the budget in balance? And if not, what can we do to adjust the scales?


An Untitled Song

Story by Nyemadi Louise Dunbar

Every generation has countless stories of its own struggle for justice. Many of these stories are etched in our minds, even as their individual eras fall further into history. We learn these lessons in school, hear tales from our elders, and listen to the music of protest that has evolved throughout the last 100 years.

But what songs are being sung by the young generations of today? In our third installment of our Reimagining Minneapolis series, we listen closely to the words of Minneapolis youth, and their powerful melodies of tragedy, resilience, and hope for something better.


Here Again

Story by Nyemadi Louise Dunbar

In the wake of Minneapolis police killing Dolal Idd, it can feel like history is doomed to keep repeating itself—a cycle of anti-Black violence and terror, too often followed by white ambivalence. When asked what a healing response by law enforcement could look like, Hodan Heela said she couldn’t even imagine it given the generations of harm done to Black communities by police in this country.

We must hold these two truths—that change is required and that no amount of progress will wipe away the past harm of racism—as we reimagine public safety.

We must also hold onto hope, and there is plenty of hope to be found in the collective quest to usher in a world where Black lives truly matter. Though we’ve been here before, looking injustice directly in the eye, white supremacy’s repetition will not render us looped into chaos and despair for we have a hope that is rebellious, beautiful, and lasting.