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Common Dreams - November 3, 2021

Advocates of a push to amend Minneapolis' city charter and replace the city's police department with a "public health-oriented" Department of Public Safety were undeterred from their fight for far-reaching reform on Wednesday after their proposal failed to win a majority of voters' support, while activists in other U.S. cities celebrated victories against powerful law enforcement structures.

The grassroots group Black Visions Collective applauded the "historic" Yes on 2 campaign, which helped push nearly 44% of Minneapolis voters to support Question 2 after launching a petition to demand the question be included on the ballot.

"Despite an aggressive oppositional campaign, resourced by the Police Federation, corporate-backed white liberals like Jacob Frey and conservative black elites, the people of Minneapolis fought for and won the chance to take back our power," said Black Visions Collective. "It's a long road to liberation and our journey doesn't begin or end with Question 2.""Passing legislation or electing candidates isn't our only measure of success," the group continued. "Our people reclaiming their ability to govern is a victory. Our people reclaiming their ability to name safety is a victory. Our people committing to moving toward a world beyond police is a victory."

Garnering the support of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the ACLU, and national grassroots organization People's Action, the Yes on 2 campaign pushed to end minimum police staffing numbers for Minneapolis and to give the City Council oversight over a proposed Department of Public Safety. According to the language on the ballot, the department's public health-focused staff "could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary."

"You actually can staff the department the way that meets the needs of the people," campaign spokesperson JaNaé Bates told NPR in October. "We wanted to really be centered and focused on the safety of human beings."Proponents of bold reforms to policing applauded the campaign for the traction it managed to gain in the city. ...
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