District 1 Updates from Commissioner Frethem

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Serving the communities of Arden Hills, Gem Lake, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township, and parts of Mounds View, Spring Lake Park and Blaine.

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June 5, 2020

Ramsey County


Nicole Frethem
Commissioner, District 1
651-266-8362 or 651-425-9580 

Sheena Denny
Principal Aide

Nancy Larson
Administrative Assistant

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Follow on Facebook

Commissioner Frethem is sharing information and access to resources in real time on Facebook. Follow us there for more COVID-19 and other county content.

Commissioner Frethem sitting at her desk

Virtually meet with Commissioner Frethem on Zoom

We will be holding virtual chats and check ins via Zoom on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

Learn more at the Facebook Event Invites or join in by clicking the link https://zoom.us/j/4574765166 and entering the Meeting ID: 457 476 5166 at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.

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Stay up-to-date on COVID 19

For information on resources related to COVID-19, visit Commissioner Frethem's May 27th newsletter. To see all previous newsletters, visit them on the Ramsey County website.

Flooding Meeting Reschedule and comment on feedback

photo of lake

We will be hosting a VIRTUAL community conversation on the flooding issues on Tuesday, June 9 from 5-7 p.m. This will include the presentation we had planned to provide on March 12, 2020 which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. there will be a Q&A opportunity.

Resources to learn more about and support racial equity, recovery, and police reforms

Some of our favorite texts

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

The Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Board of Commissioners on Zoom

Board of Commissioners Virtual Board Meeting

Tuesday's board meeting was held via zoom and can be viewed on the Ramsey County website.

Call in to Residents of District 1

Chalk art in the Shoreview

Chalk art in Shoreview found on a walk.


At Tuesday's board meeting, I took a moment to ask for all of us to reflect on our Nation's history of oppression and how those of us who are white have benefited from these systems. That doesn't mean that our lives haven't been hard. It means that when I think about my past, I consider how it might have been different if my family was not white.

Like when my mom was a single mom living in South Minneapolis not far from where George Floyd was killed and how she worked as a receptionist and then in sales for a small business. She was frustrated because she was paid less than male colleagues even with documented proof that she was more productive. But how, had she been a young black woman, single with two young children, she likely wouldn't have been given the chance of that job in the first place.

When my family moved from South Minneapolis to the northern Ramsey County suburbs so I could attend Mounds View schools, we could afford it only because family members were able to loan us money. Much of the housing stability my family has had in turbulent times was because of generational wealth flowing from my family members to me. From the loan that got our home in New Brighton, to the inheritance my parents received that saved our home when I was in high school, to the inheritance my husband received that helped us recover from the losses of the 2008 recession. This generational wealth was denied to generations of black families who were explicitly and implicitly kept from jobs, education, and home ownership. This is not to say that I haven't worked hard or that I don't deserve what I have, just an acknowledgement that had I not been white, it would have been much harder to get where I am today. This means I have benefited from a system where some were kept from opportunities. This is what is meant by the term "privilege."

I am new to elected leadership in general, but I think we’re all struggling to figure out where we fit in this work. How do we pick up the pieces of a society ravaged by the worst pandemic in 100 years, the worst economic crisis in 90 years, and a reckoning of oppression going back 400 years? The truth is, this work will never happen fast enough; we’re already 400 years too late. As we continue to balance doing the work and doing it right, it’s hard to thread the needle. Communities that have been disproportionately impacted by racism, economic instability, and COVID-19 are not a monolith and there is substantial distrust of institutions like ours that represent and embody the systems that have oppressed black, indigenous, and communities of color. I am also working to understand how to best support and advocate for the needs of you, my constituency, while also making good decisions for the county as a whole.

We all have a role to play in dismantling systems of oppression. I hope you all take some time in the coming weeks to reflect on your own lives, the opportunities you've had, and how the problems you currently have may be amplified in communities of color. I would like to share some thoughts based on the types of issues people have reached out to me about over the last 2 months.

Now is an important time to reaffirm our commitment to the vision for Ramsey County: a vibrant community where all are valued and thrive. To achieve our vision, we will need to reform our policing methods at all levels. But more, we need to look at all of our institutions where bias and barriers prevent our black, indigenous and communities of colors to thrive including education, human services, jobs, banking, and more.

This work is hard. It is uncomfortable. It forces us to think about times where we may have unintentionally hurt others. We may feel guilt, anger, or frustration. But we cannot stop. Our neighbors are depending on us to ensure they have the same opportunities for success and life that we have taken advantage of for generations. So many of you have stepped up already to offer support for our neighbors in Minneapolis and Saint Paul in the aftermath of this event. Thank you. I hope you'll join me for the next step in this work. My office plans to hold a (virtual) community conversation on racial equity in the coming months. We can share more information about the work Ramsey County has done so far in this arena and what our next steps are moving forward.

Lexington Floral staff giving away flowers at the George Floyd memorial

Lexington Floral staff answered the call of Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley for more flowers at the George Floyd memorial after officers enforcing curfew damaged initial offerings.