Ward 6 News ~ November 2, 2012

Minneapolis Ward 6 Council Member Robert Lilligren

November 2, 2012

Empowering Youth in Politics 

I really enjoy connecting with young people and students around the topics of government, politics, community engagement and empowerment. This City Council cycle I had two great opportunities to do exactly that.


On Friday, October 26, I was part of a live in-studio panel discussion at the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN), our city’s excellent public access cable channel. This was the first, of hopefully many, Youth & Politics panel discussion to address issues at stake for youth in the upcoming elections, what it means to be a civically-engaged youth, and barriers to youth participation in democracy. The panel was be made up of both youth and adults so that teen participants would have direct access to community officials and political leaders on a public platform. I shared the stage with four area young people and State Senator Kari Dziedzic (District 59) who was recently elected in a special election to represent the areas of Northeast Minneapolis, Cedar Riverside and parts of the Seward Neighborhood.


There was a studio audience of teens and adults present that engaged the panel in a question and answer session toward the end of the program that continued even once we were off the air. Going forward MTN plans to expand regular live broadcasts produced by teens and featuring teen and community issues.


Then, the following Monday, I hosted a class of about 30 students from Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Several times in the past, at the request of Professor Lena Jones, I have had the pleasure to address her class called State and Local Government. My Policy Aide, Ms. Alondra Cano, and I shared the stories of our journeys into City Hall and municipal government. We have similar backgrounds of activism and organizing – often working from outside to change the system – and then making the choice to encourage positive change from the inside.   


The class was very diverse in age, race, culture and community with at least a significant number of non-native English speakers who came from both the City of Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. We touched on the themes of housing and homeless which are areas of focus for the class this term as well as a broad range of topics; from the current proposed State Constitutional amendments to how an idea becomes an ordinance in our city to efforts to reduce youth violence. The topic of youth violent crime, which has been dropping in recent years, prompted the most spirited, impromptu discussion among the students. It is clear from the perspective of some of the students that if youth violence is happening on your block it is hard to see progress on this front.


As I explained to this class, to me access to elected officials is the “currency” of politics and government. It is this access that I think is often lacking in core-city communities like those I represent. It has been a strong value for me to be accessible to those I represent. Opportunities like participating in MTN’s Youth and Politics panel and with the MCTC State and Local Government class are expressions of this value.

Robert Lilligren

Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for people like you and me to have access to government. Robert remains committed to that value today. For that reason, Council Member Lilligren makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, 2400 Park Ave.
Center for Changing Lives
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am

MCTC Class

A diverse group of students in Lena Jones' "State and Local Government" class at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College are pictured above in Room 319 at City Hall hosted by Council Member Robert Lilligren.


Youth Politics Panel

Council Member Lilligren and Senator Kari Dziedzic participated as guests at MTN's Youth and Politics Live panel discussion on Friday, October 26.

Neighborhood News

6th Ward constituent and filmmaker, Nicholas Egner, recently made a beautiful and engaging short film about the Whittier neighborhood to enter as a competition in the ReMaxResults Film Festival - be sure to check it out!


From the Office of City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
350 South 5th Street, City Hall, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Robert.Lilligren@minneapolismn.gov · Ward 6 website · (612) 673-2206

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