You win some, you lose some. But when you’re working to shape a better future for your community, those losses can hit hard.
The avenues for change are vast and varied, and the Pollen community is full of folks who are working across many of them. No matter where they stood on the issues going into this election cycle, there are people in our communities facing disappointment and loss. We asked six people who have experienced tough defeats — as candidates, organizers, or policy advocates — to share their advice for dealing with, and growing from, these setbacks.
Jillia PessendaAfter a decade of organizing and campaigning, I’ve won — and lost — a number of hard-fought campaigns and elections. This includes losing my own election in 2017 for Minneapolis City Council by a razor-thin margin. I was devastated and heartbroken, but over time, I realized that the conversations we had during that campaign changed our community and helped push it forward. Young people saw themselves in the political process and neighbors participated on the local level for the first time.
When I give everything of myself and it doesn’t work out the way I hoped, it’s difficult in the moment to remember that this work — fighting for a more just world — will last our whole lifetimes — far beyond one win or loss. We must care for ourselves and each other, take space to grieve, or rejoice and then carry on in any way we’re capable of. For me, the biggest loss of all, would be to give up hope that another world is possible.
Asma Nizami2021 almost killed me. I moved. I had a baby. I had a traumatic labor and postpartum depression. I thought I’d be home in Minneapolis, knocking doors, making calls, making sure that our city showed up for the most vulnerable amongst us. And all of a sudden I couldn’t even take care of myself. So how the hell was I supposed to take care of community?
The truth is: You can’t take care of yourself without your people. So I talked about what I was feeling online. And then to my friends and family. I learned that I wasn’t so alone. That people wanted me to live. I have to remind myself every single day that I have people to fight and live for, and that I am one of those people.
When we lean on community we’re reminding ourselves that we are worthy of care. When you feel defeated, lean on your people. And if you think you don’t have any, I promise you — you’re wrong. If you’ve loved Minneapolis long enough, you know that it doesn’t always love you back. But the cool thing? Your neighbors do.
Caring about politics isn’t a choice for many of us, because “politics” so deeply affect our lives — when or if to have a child, who you can marry, or whether our communities will ever truly be safe for all of us. And the more you care and work for it, the more it hurts when an election doesn’t turn out well.
Sometimes the only way to keep going is thinking about folks who were in this fight 10, 20, even 50 years ago—folks whose names we know, and even more who will never get the recognition they deserve. Good people have been fighting so hard for so long — continuing the work is our only way of showing them our gratitude.
November 6, 2018 – At 6pm the house was packed with friends and supporters, ready to celebrate a victory in my run for Hennepin County Attorney. By 7:30 my concession speech was over, and I numbly tried to smile as people trickled out. I’ve never felt so deflated. Later that night a dam broke, and I started sobbing.
The next few months were spent focusing back on my family and reorienting mentally, emotionally, and physically — a political campaign, as candidate, staff or volunteer, can take a lot out of you. But it didn’t take long to pivot to my next “campaign” — developing the Minnesota Justice Research Center and becoming its executive director. It really wasn’t just about winning that election, it was about making change from wherever possible, and I know we made a difference despite the loss. If you truly go into it because it’s about something more, then the cost, the work, the stress — they’ll all be worth it, and the sting of defeat will soon fade.
I’ve been working on elections for 31 years. My mentor Paul Wellstone said that “elections are the primary way we contest for power in this country.” I agree, but unfortunately, like many who campaign for progressive and equitable social change I’ve lost more than I’ve won.
So what to do with that? How do you handle a loss? How do we sustain ourselves? For me, it’s about three things. 1) Allow time and space for grieving — and celebrating. When you go to a funeral you grieve the loss and celebrate the life. I try to do the same thing after a losing campaign: mourn the loss and celebrate who I’ve met and what I’ve experienced. 2) Lean into community — don’t isolate. 3) Embrace learning — what will we carry forward or do differently next time? Reflection is strength. Learning is power. Let’s keep contesting for the power we need.
I ran for city council in 2017, and lost. After election day, I was spinning, wondering “Now what?!” Here’s how I suggest moving through it:
Feel your feelings. There will be pride AND grief. Thank your team. Debrief with them. It’s tempting to just walk away from it all. But it will reinforce for you what you did well, and you’ll need those lessons learned.
Then ask yourself “What can I do now that wasn’t possible before I did this really big thing?” Ask people you trust to tell you what they saw in your race. Let them help you make sense of it all, and ask them to help you answer this question. Give yourself time for answers to come.
And then be discerning when possibilities come your way. If you’re worried that you won’t be relevant or influential anymore, that’s not true (unless that’s what you want). You’ve already proven yourself to everyone. Congratulations, and thank you for running.
Minneapolis: you’ve got another chance to make your voice heard and help our city set its priorities. There are three online budget hearings over the next few weeks:
Tuesday, November 16 | 1:30 p.m.
Truth in Taxation hearing
Wednesday, December 1 | 6:05 p.m.
Wednesday, December 8 | 6:05 p.m.
Learn how to participate here.
Budgets are statements of what we value as a community. Let our city government know what you value! Public safety is the issue of the moment, but it’s not the only issue. What issues in Minneapolis do you think could benefit from new investment?
(They see birds)
Audubon Winter Bird Count
Call for Indigenous, Black, People of Color Volunteers, Family, and Friends for January 2, 2022.
Birding Experience not necessary.
Hosted by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Land Department in conjunction with the Urban Bird Collective.
Where: Meet at The Link Event Center, 2200 Trail of Dreams, Prior Lake MN 55372. Please preregister at firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: 8:00AM start followed by a potluck lunch at 12:30pm.
What to Bring: Warm clothing, something to share for lunch (crockpot plug-ins available) and binoculars if you have them. If you need loaners we will provide them.
What we will do: Experienced Walk leaders and count volunteers will drive to one of ten walks within the fifteen-mile circle including Cleary Lake Regional Park, the Louisville Swamp along the Minnesota River, and others. We will count all the birds we see. This worldwide volunteer event gathers important information on bird movements and populations and leads to scientifically backed environmental advocacy for a safer world for birds, animals, plants, and humans.
Count Circle Coordinator: Ferin Davis Anderson, Supervisor, Environmental Sciences, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
ABOUT THE HPDL COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
The neighborhoods of Hale, Page and Diamond Lake (HPDL) are the “unsung jewel” of South Minneapolis. It is an outstanding residential area with easy access to commercial and recreational opportunities throughout the metro area. The boundaries are Highway 35W on the west, Minnehaha Creek on the north, Cedar Avenue on the east, and both Highway 62 and 62nd Street on the south.
Natural amenities grace the community. HPDL contains many parks, green spaces and bodies of water, including Pearl Park, Diamond Lake, Minnehaha Creek and Lake Nokomis. A healthy collection of home-based businesses supplement our commercial nodes along Portland, Chicago and Bloomington avenues. Eight churches are housed within our community and HPDL has two excellent schools: one Minneapolis public elementary school (Hale) and one K-8 parochial school (Our Lady of Peace).
The mission of the Hale, Page, and Diamond Lake Community Association is to improve our quality of life through inclusive programs that serve the neighborhood’s present and future needs. Further, our mission is to foster a sense of community and to promote the neighborhood as a vibrant place to live and work for people of all races, identities and backgrounds through communication, stewardship, and community involvement.
The Association is a standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is primarily funded by a City of Minneapolis neighborhood organization funding program. This program has taken different forms over time and has various programmatic and financial requirements. The program is evolving, and the association is seeking someone to manage the day to day needs of the organization while helping adapt to the new requirements.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY COORDINATOR POSITION
HPDL is looking for a passionate, community-focused, and self-directed leader to guide the organization in three key areas:
Organizational Administration. HDPL needs day to day administrative assistance working with City of Minneapolis programmatic and funding requirements and a volunteer board.
Community Engagement. HPDL endeavors to engage stakeholders through equitable and effective communication, strategic partnerships, and diverse avenues for participation.
Change Management. HPDL seeks to operate in ways that ensure the long-term health and stability of the organization in changing circumstances.
This is a part-time hourly position that reports to the HPDL Executive Committee, is accountable to the HPDL Board of Directors and its committees and is responsive to the HPDL community. This position works independently and will require someone that is comfortable networking, pursuing information and prioritizing tasks without significant day to day support.
Organizational Administration (65%)
Community Engagement (25%)
Change Management (10%)
HPDL offers the following compensation for the position:
The ideal candidate for the Community Coordinator position will have all or most of the following:
We are looking for someone who is:
The Board of Directors has budgeted for training assistance to support this position and will provide additional event planning assistance during the first year of employment. Ongoing need for that extra support and the hours per week for the coordinator will be jointly assessed after the first year of employment.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply for this position, please send an email to email@example.com that includes a current resume and a cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position.
Review of applications will begin November 21, 2021. The position will remain open until filled.
Please address any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. No calls please.
Candidates invited for an interview will be asked to provide professional references and/or samples of professional work.
General Duty Statement
The Saint Paul City Council is seeking a strong leader to serve as Director of City Council Operations and provide strategic leadership and management to the City Council’s day-to-day operations.
As the world emerges from a global pandemic, cities are dealing with constant shifts in how they approach their work and serving their citizens. The Saint Paul City Council has a unique opportunity to rethink and reshape how it serves its constituents and stakeholders.
The Ideal Candidate
The next Director of Council Operations is a leader with a track record of high standards, accountability, and integrity. They will nurture a culture of clear, honest communication with City’s stakeholders and the community as a whole. The Director will bring a natural and demonstrated orientation to customer service with a proven ability of managing and working within complex organizational dynamics and systems.
Working under the direction of the Saint Paul City Council, they will provide responsible administrative management in support of City goals and objectives. The new Director is an outstanding listener, quick learner, excellent communicator, and relationship builder. They have a natural ability to learn the key drivers of their stakeholders as well as internal challenges and opportunities for their employees. Customer service is in their core being.
The new Director will provide expert level work in strategic leadership and management of the operations supporting the activities of the legislative branch of city government, the City Council of the City of Saint Paul, and City Clerk. They will be a great manager and an effective partner to all stakeholders in the City, to the residents of Saint Paul, and to the City Council.
The Director will provide overall support and guidance, help set priorities, solve problems, and develop strategies for managing administrative affairs in an autonomous mayoral form of local government. In addition, they will coordinate policy, research, funding, and communication efforts with other departments, and City Council members and ensure that City Council policy and direction are followed.
This leader will perform highly responsible work in planning, developing, coordinating, directing, and implementing the overall work of the Office of City Council and City Clerk. They will coordinate and manage City Council Office staff to ensure effective and efficient operations and identify ideas for improvement. They will also collaborate with the City Council and office staff to develop internal policy and guide special projects at the direction of the City Council Executive Committee.
For more detailed information, and the essential functions of the position, which are the functions that the individual holding the position must be able to perform unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation, please see the Director of City Council Operations advisory job description.
Equity and Inclusion
The City of Saint Paul’s mission is to integrate equity and inclusion into how we approach all our work. Our vision is to be committed to building an equitable and inclusive city that will shift culture in city processes and policies, eliminate structural inequities, and ensure timely and relevant access to services, resources, support, and opportunity to every person in Saint Paul.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Degree in Public Administration, Public Affairs, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, Accounting, or a related field, or commensurate experience. Seven years of professional level experience in research, public policy, advocacy, or financial analysis in the operations of a large government agency to include financial, budgetary, and legislative functions, or a master’s degree in one of the fields listed above and five years of related experience.
Municipal government or executive level management experience.
By Closing Date, you MUST
The City of Saint Paul has retained Orion Search Group to assist in filling this position. Interested parties should contact Joel Bergstrom at email@example.com with a resume.
Selection Process Information
This posting is open to anyone who meets the position requirements. This is an unclassified position and therefore is not governed by City Civil Service Rules. The Director shall be appointed by the City Council.
Final Selection Process: You will be notified if you are invited to participate in the final selection process which may include an interview, job simulation, work sample submission, or other evaluation method.
Compensation and Benefits: The salary range is up to $132,641, with starting salary dependent upon experience and qualifications.
Condition of Employment: This position will require proof of vaccination and an attestation of vaccination for COVID-19. This position will also require a background check which may include criminal history, employment history, credit check, and proof of education as a condition of employment. The City of Saint Paul encourages individuals to apply for positions regardless of criminal history.
In addition, the salary is supplemented by Saint Paul’s outstanding benefits package:
Veteran’s Preference: If you are a veteran and would like to receive Veteran’s preference in accordance with MN Statute 197.455, you must submit a photocopy of your DD214 preferably at time of application. Click here for more information.
The City of Saint Paul is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Veterans, women, persons of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicant Data Practices Advisory: According to Minn. Stat. § 13.04, the City must advise you of the following:
CERTIFICATION AND AUTHORIZATION
I certify that I am who I have represented myself to be in the application. I understand that giving false information, including voluntary information, or omitting required information could result in rejection of my application or dismissal if I am hired. I authorize the City of Saint Paul to verify all the information provided herein. I authorize the City of Saint Paul to make inquiries of all my past and current employers (unless otherwise indicated), educational institutions, and references. I authorize these individuals and entities to respond to verbal and written inquiries from the City of Saint Paul regarding my past employment, verification of my educational background, my performance and my personal character. I hereby release the City of Saint Paul and all such persons and entities providing information from any liability and damages incurred as a result of furnishing this information. If hired, the City of Saint Paul requires at the time of employment verification of identity and employment eligibility.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A SUBJECT OF DATA
I understand the information I supplied on this employment application will be used to assess my qualifications for the position, to identify me in the City employment files; and to contact me.
I understand the following information will be considered private data pursuant to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act: my name, home/work/email address, home phone number, social security number, gender, racial/ethnic group and disability status. If I am certified as eligible for an employment vacancy, I understand my name, education, training and previous work experience will become public data.
I understand furnishing my social security number, gender, racial/ethnic and disability data is voluntary, but refusal to supply other requested information will mean my application may not be considered. I understand race and gender data are used in summary form to monitor protected class employment.
I understand that if subsequently hired, the data I provided will become part of my employee record.
I understand private data is available only to me and other persons who have a bona fide need for the data including Human Resources, Department City staff, and outside Consultants contracted with the City to review your education and experience for determining minimum qualifications, conduct and evaluate assessments, and interview candidates for a position. Public data is available to anyone requesting it and consists of all data not designated in this notice as private.
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Last Updated: June 1, 2015
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Last Updated: June 1, 2015
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