EVERYONE wants to be and feel safe, and EVERYONE should have that right. Some of us are scared for our safety and want more Police, while some of us are scared for our safety and want an alternative responses added and less Police. As city leaders, a balance must be achieved between the two growing calls to reallocate a portion of the Police budget and the calls to fully fund the Police budget. I truly believe to meet the demand of this moment, we must not only fully fund the police, but we must also allocate additional funds to implement immediate accountability measures and begin to add alternatives to the department's response if/when the law is not being broken and law enforcement is not needed. Over time, with hard work and dedication on the parts of every single one of us together, we will get our plans fully implemented, discover the outcomes , and let the public voice what is and is not beneficial enabling us to adjust accordingly. The issue that arises is how do we do this? I am glad you asked!
Before we add anything to the police, we must first put accountability measures in place to assure communities across our city that not only do we acknowledge and understand their concerns, but we are going to do something about and at the same time protect everyone in our city including our Officers.
How much love for humanity is in our hearts when we are willing to pull out a gun and take another human life? How much love for humanity is in our hearts when we know exactly what happened but do not come forward providing the information which at times is the only thing that gives families justice or closure after loosing a loved one to gun violence? If it were one of us or our loved one that was taken, we would want someone else to do the right thing, so we must first do the right thing ourselves. My family lost my Brother Dontay to gun violence back in 2011 behind a situation that had nothing at all to do with him. At someone else's house, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Do you know what hurt us more than loosing him that day? What hurt more was the fact that there were people around that knew exactly what happened, why it happened, who was involved, and yet, they said nothing. The love of God is the love of and for all of HUMANITY! Every single human life. Love your neighbor as yourself.
We deserve not just to feel safe, but we deserve to be safe. Rather we are children playing in the neighborhood, at home with our significant other, out in the community, walking to school, hanging out with our friends, or we are warming up or driving our car, walking our dog, walking to the store or to work, seeing, calling or simply having an interaction with the Police, we ALL deserve to be safe. Safe from violence including child abuse, domestic violence, community violence, gang violence, police violence, and gun violence, etc.. We deserve to be safe. We deserve to be safe from crime including theft, home invasions, robberies, carjackings, assaults both physical and sexual, drugs, shootings, and the worst and most devastating , as already mentioned and having the biggest impact of trauma on our children and families across our city, homicides. We deserve to be safe.
EVERYONE wants to be and feel safe, and EVERYONE should have that right. Some of us are scared for our safety and want more Police, while some of us are scared for our lives and want less Police. As city leaders, a balance must be achieved between the two growing calls to de-fund the Police and to fully-fund the Police. We must begin to restore trust between communities and police by putting accountability measures in place which I discuss in further detail under "Police Reform." Once the process of trust building begins, it will allow our police department to function effectively at full capacity to restore law and order to communities across our city. This restoration will start with tackling the gun violence that has been plaguing everyone including our children for far too long. Their safety can no longer be an option, but a guarantee.
In addition to the increased Law Enforcement presence, I believe there are several other actions we can take to reduce and eventually eradicate gun violence in our city, we will:
- Install temporary 4-way cameras in areas including all shot spotters that remain off but activate at the time the shot spotter activates to capture a 15 minute window of any movement after reports of shots fired, allowing authorities to see any persons or vehicles in the immediate area, possibly enabling them to identify a potential witness or potential suspect.
- Work in conjunction with Crime Stoppers to raise monetary reward for info leading to evidence and arrest in Homicide cases from “up to $1,000.00” to actually guarantee a $1 Million anonymous pay out for info leading to evidence and arrest in Homicide. I believe this will act to assist in solving homicides as well as act to deter homicides in some cases.
- Partner with Gun and Ammunition manufacturers that currently have their name and other info engraved on every bullet they make. We will ask them to also engrave a serial number on each bullet and shell prior to assembly, that corresponds with the box which is sold and recorded under our individual ID or Driver’s License number. I believe this will also act to assist in solving homicides as well as act to deter homicides in some cases.
- Set up a voluntary GUN, CLIP, AND AMMUNITION DONATION DRIVE including, UNCONDITIONAL $500.00 CASH for Fire Arm, Clip, and Ammunition donation.
- Expand Youth and Young Adult Outreach and Enrichment Programs using new and existing boots on the ground organizations (Ages 12-35 years old) and fully fund existing community centers.
- Monthly Community Outreach and Engagement festivals.
- Implement and fund ME, (My Excellence). This will be school to job, to career, to entrepreneurship pipeline & WORLD readiness programming within community centers established in communities across our city. All centers will be dedicated to the service of youth, young adults, and families while developing and promoting positive growth in regards to beauty, health, wealth, community, environment, mentally, spiritually, and physically, starting from the INSIDE to the outside!
- FIGHT for EVERY one of our young people to be off the streets and on the job! Trading them their short-term hustle that is able to support themselves into a long-term career that can enable them to support their entire family!
- FIGHT for agreements with our youth that in exchange for whatever it is they might do to make a little money to survive, or whatever the reason may be, we will provide guaranteed job placement with priority in city positions up to but not limited to maintenance and jobs generated through partnerships with local businesses and community leaders with at least a $15 starting wage
- Provide financial assistance for Post- Secondary Education.
- We will FIGHT for Food and Housing assistance to help individuals get on their feet and into a stable, good paying job!
I graduated from High School for Recording Arts in Saint Paul where I earned the opportunity through a Black History Project, to travel the country and present the presentation in partnership with BAEO, (Black Association for Educational Options) at their annual Symposiums which presented in a world class fashion to families the many, many options for educating our children emphasizing that a quality education can not mean a one size fits all approach within our educational systems. I knew even then, that God had me destined for something even greater, something that will personally touch the lives of families through him and cause a positive change that not only the family, but also our communities as well as our City as a whole can appreciate and benefit from.
I then went on to study Urban Education at our very own MCTC, Minneapolis Community and Technical College which launched me into a position in partnership with Ramsey County working with High School Seniors preparing them to graduate by working with them through the Naviance System which is checks and balances of what is already completed verses what is still needed and providing the necessary assistance to get it all completed including their Free Application for Federal Student Aid. For the students who were ready, we were even able to submit applications and watch the acceptance letters roll in as a result of the hard work that was put in on both the part of those tremendously gifted and talented students as well as us staff that fought every single day to serve them with nothing more than a brighter future in mind.
My Aunt and Uncle, Apostle Bettie Jean Williams and Apostle Arnold Park Williams are the late great founders and visionaries’ of River of Life Christian Church, which is now one of two campuses with Waters of Life Outreach Ministries in North Minneapolis. Our mission is building strong men, strong women, and strong families in the community through the healing of the races while seeing souls saved and people set free! Although I have been connected with the church my whole life, it was not until recently in my adult years that I truly desired, and discovered a connection with God. Through ups, and downs, ins, and outs, lesson after lesson, I have arrived at a place where I have come to know there is nothing better to do than to serve. Therefore, that is what I did! After volunteering for a length of time and working on different projects, I was hired on as the Facilities Manager. We currently operate our East and West Campus, serving both Saint Paul and Minneapolis with a 3rd facility on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul, named after the churches founder, my Uncle, Apostle Arnold P. Williams Community Outreach Center which houses the Bettie Jean Williams Kitchen and Banquet Hall there for the community to use for any and every life event from a Baby’s Christening, to everything all the way up to funerals, we’ve been there to serve.
Aside from our weekly Sunday worship service and mid-week Bible Study, we are tremendously involved (mostly virtual right now) with our community and continue the work of increasing that involvement and bringing more like minded communities of faith together to positively impact the lives of people individually and collectively. We do this through our outreach ministries such as our Food Shelf, 12 Step Free-Indeed Program, Building Strong Marriages, Women of Wisdom and Grace (Women’s Fellowship) , Men of Vision (Men’s Fellowship) , Prison Ministry which goes into several Correctional Institutions to teach the inmates the word of God, equipping and encouraging them in preparation for the next chapter of their life once they serve their debt to society and are finally able to come home to their families, learning to do what is right by practicing doing what is right. We also have Dance Ministries for Adults, Youth, and our children.
We have ministries strictly geared towards our youth, because even more important than our future is their future! To assure its bright and all that God has created it to be, we have to invest in them up front and give them the knowledge and as they grow older, they’ll gain an understanding. There is 2Smart2Start ministry in conjunction with the 12 Step Free-Indeed but geared towards our youth and prevention. Giving them the knowledge that will armor them up and equip them to deal with the things, the issues that our children are faced with today and preventing them from traveling down a road that would ever cause for a recovery. We also have a ministry pointed towards our young adults, L.I.T. (Leaders in Training) Training today to be leading tomorrow!
In addition to refreshments served after every Sunday service open to the public, we also serve hot meals after all other services operating the kitchen on average 3 days a week to serve the community. For the ones that can’t make it out, we have a Monthly Food Shelf in partnership with Second Harvest Heartland to serve the community and provide food including vitally important fruits and vegetables as well as other essential items from toilet paper to backpacks filled with back to school supplies.
True Community outreach is one of the most important things we can do showing the love of God in every moment and being thankful and grateful that we have the opportunity to make the world a better place. Its not that we HAVE to but we GET to. Through the Pandemic, the need for racial reconciliation, and economic development, i have been learning about how to keep an attitude of Gratitude and the fact that the issues we are dealing with today are not what they appear to be. It is not simply about race, gender, political party or gang affiliation, social class… although they can be factors, what we see today is about the love for humanity, each and EVERY human life. The love of God is the love of and for HUMANITY and that love is what i believe will be my greatest asset if i am blessed with the opportunity to serve you and your family as your Mayor FOR all of Minneapolis!
The issues that we are facing here in Minneapolis affect us all or the people we love in one way or another. I am asking you to please allow me to stand with you and your family as we fight together to bring about the change that is so desperately needed. By no means am I perfect. We have all had our ups and downs, ins and outs, failures and successes, we have made good and sometimes bad decisions, even some we are ashamed of. We can not regret any of those decisions because although they pushed us to make a detour going through a place where we had to rely on God and God alone to bring us through, gaining invaluable experiences and perspectives, it has all enabled us to become even more effective leaders. Looking at our experiences as positives instead of negatives. We can not regret any of our decisions because no matter how good or how bad, they have made us into the people we have become today!
I am not running for Mayor because I am the most qualified or the most experienced. i am running because we are at such a pivitol point in our City's history, I feel in my heart that I have no choice. We must have a change in leadership. Given multiple awesome opportunities, our current leadership has led us to this place and i sincerely believe they have tried their best. We are in a time and a place that currently demands so much more. We will put our words into actions and with your help and your vote, TOGETHER, we can lead us FORWARD! I am asking you to please give me the opportunity, the privilege, the honor and allow me to stand and serve you and your family as Mayor for ALL people of Minneapolis!
Thank you for your valuable time today. You are definitely appreciated!
Much love, and may God consistently bless!