Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Future History Maker Jason Sole, president of the jsMinneapolis NAACP, is a thrice convicted felon-turned-Hamline University professor who volunteers in juvenile prisons across Minnesota and lobbies for restoring the voting rights of ex-offenders.

Raised on the South Side of Chicago, at an early age became involved in street gangs. He was charged with possession of an illegal firearm at age 18, and at age 21 he was charged with drug possession. After serving time in prison and spending several years on probation, Sole has now become a model for determination and redemption. He’s fought hard to find work, get into college, raise a family and eventually work towards a Ph.D at Capella University. For Sole attending college was an act of desperation. Sole says, “I was asked to select a major and at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I was interested in criminal justice because it was my life story. I knew it and felt it, but didn’t understand the disparities in criminal justice.  I recognized I’d committed wrongs in my life but didn’t understand why my punishment was unequal in comparison to my white counterparts.”

A major in criminal justicewas a perfect fit for Sole who excelled in his studies. Motivated by his past and desire to help others, he worked hard and excelled.  He completed his four year degree program in three years and was the recipient of many awards and scholarships. As a student at Metrostate University Jason served as president of the African American Student Union and was awarded the Metrostate Male Student Leader Achievement Award two years in a row. After college, Sole obtained a masters degree in Criminal Justice.

Today, Sole is nationally recognized expert on criminal justice issues. He has been an educator for nearly eight years, serving as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University ( 8 years) and Hamline University (2 years). He is also a writer, keynote speaker, and trainer for the One Circle Foundation.

Sole is a leader in the push to restore voting rights to convicted felons and combat oppressive or collateral consequences.  Sole views voter disenfranchisement as a serious form of oppression. He says, “ex-offenders are denied access to welfare benefits, public housing, education loans, and the right to serve on a jury or run for office. These barriers make it extremely difficult to find redemption.” Sole lost his voting rights in 2006 and wasn’t set to have them restored until 2026.  However, after petitioning for an early termination of his probation, he was able to vote for the first time in ten years.

Through his firm, Jason Sole Consulting LLC, Sole provides juvenile and criminal justice agencies with the knowledge and resources they need to assist people affected by delinquency, incarceration, poverty, and other social ills. Sole was a 2013 Bush Fellow  focusing on reducing the recidivism rate among juveniles throughout the state of Minnesota. He is currently traveling the country discussing his memoir, From Prison to Ph.D.: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances. Sole says, “criminal justice is my life, it’s a lived experienced and being able to use my degree in the community is a blessing.”

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

It’s so rewarding to be able to lead a group of engaged and powerful leaders who are committed to bringing change to their community. I’m amazed by the number of new activists who are interested in criminal justice reform. I take pride in connecting with people who want to get involved. I enjoy bridging gaps and creating relationship with groups that differ in opinion. Right now I’m learning that we can disagree on tactics, and yet be able to put those differences aside to unite for the greater good of community. I’m focused on building coalitions, eliminating silos of work, and finding opportunities to uplift great work.

What Inspires You

I get inspiration from various people and situations. In my pursuit of justice I’m inspired by the many trailblazing civil rights leaders who have come before me. For example, Harold Washington, Fred Hampton. I’m also inspired by my daughters. I find joy in teaching them, giving them the tools to lead well beyond my years on this earth.

Also, I look up to my mother Shelia Sole and uncle Jonathon Walton III, two people who believed in me before I believed in myself.

I must say I was blessed to be a part of the NAACP when it was led by all women. I look up to Black women in this community as phenomenal leaders, admiring their strength and ability to problem solve.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Go with your gut. Don’t be led by rhetoric, and be careful of who you’re aligning yourself with. Don’t be impressed solely by energetic personalities and big ideas, but instead work with people who have good hearts. Also aspire to do work that fulfills your core values.

Hometown

  • Chicago, Illinois

Education

  • Mestrostate University, BA
  • Hamline University, Master of Criminal Justice

Legacy Leader

nkLike Sole, today’s Legacy Leader, Nathaniel Khaliq  is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Nathaniel Khaliq, served as president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP for fifteen years. As president,  Khaliq lead efforts to create an anti-racial profiling agreement with the City of Saint Paul  and was instrumental in securing needed changes to racially biased state and county gang databases.

During his tenure, Khaliq advocated for the hiring of more minority firefighters, policies to hire and contract with minority workers, and improved affordable housing.  Mr. Khaliq has served as an interim City of St. Paul City Council member (Ward 1), and  today continues to advocate for civil rights issues serving on the advisory board for the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP.

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Future History Maker

 

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.

 


Future History Maker 

momoh-adine

Future History Maker Adine Momoh is a trailblazing attorney whose work ethic and commitment to excellence have quickly garnered her recognition and respect. Momoh began practicing law in September 2009. On January 1 of this year, she became a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP.  In 2018-2019, Momoh will become president of the Hennepin County Bar Association as the organization celebrates its 100th year anniversary. She will be the youngest and first black woman to hold that role in the 8,000-member organization’s history.

Momoh is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her parents, who emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone in the 1970’s, instilled in Momoh the values of education, hard work, humility, and giving back. When she was just a six-year-old student in first grade, after having put aside dreams of being a horseback rider or ballet dancer, Momoh decided she wanted to be an attorney.  She set in motion a plan that would one day lead her to make history.  Momoh did not have any immediate family members in the legal profession, but eagerly learned as much as she could about becoming an attorney. Throughout grade school and beyond, she strived for excellence in her classes and sought out mentorships from, and developed relationships with, Twin Cities attorneys. Momoh asked questions and never shied away from opportunities to learn or lead.

Momoh’s thirst for knowledge led her to the University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business.  There she developed a love for business.  Mastering subjects such as accounting, finance, micro- and macro-economics, and industrial organizational psychology, Momoh developed the blocks that would later shape a career in bankruptcy, banking and securities litigation. Momoh graduated summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA, majoring in legal studies in business, psychology, and pre-law. Momoh received her Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law, graduating magna cum laude.

Today, Momoh is a trial attorney representing clients in various aspects of litigation including:  case development and strategy,  discovery, motion practice,  trial, and appeals in state and federal courts across the country.  She has also successfully defended clients facing fraudulent conveyance, preferential transfers and other avoidance actions from bankruptcy trustees seekingamounts up to millions of dollars. In her seven years of practice, Momoh has been recognized locally and nationally.   In 2013 she received Stinson Leonard Street’s Pro Bono Services to the Indigent award, and that same year was also named a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In 2014 she was honored with the Minnesota State Bar Association’s first-ever Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award.   In 2015 she was named one of two finalists for the American Bar Association’s National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.  And in 2016Momoh was one of four recipients of the Service to the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association Award. She was recognized for her legal excellence in bankruptcy law by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, naming her a Blackshear Presidential Fellow.  

Momoh’s credentials are mirrored by her commitment to giving back. Since she began practicing in 2009, Momoh has dedicated up to 200 hours of her time to pro-bono service each year. From 2013-2016 Momoh received the North Star Lawyer designation from the Minnesota State Bar Association for her commitment to pro bono work.  Momoh also serves on the boards of various organizations, including The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Federal Bar Association’s National Younger Lawyers Division, Federal Bar Association’s Minnesota Chapter and International Women’s Insolvency and Reorganization Confederation–Minnesota Network.  She co-chairs the Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Equity Committee, which works to develop and implement action steps to achieve equity for women in the Minnesota legal profession.  Momoh also mentors law students at the three local law schools in Minnesota.

 

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

I certainly enjoy motion practice and trial work because I love being in court and relish opportunities to hone that particular skill set. That said, my most rewarding work experience is being able to be the trusted advisor to clients.  As an advocate, it’s my responsibility to be a problem solver and to do so as objectively and persuasively as possible, by anticipating, understanding and refuting the other side’s best argument.  To know that someone has placed this immense amount of trust in me is a true privilege.

 

What Inspires You

I’m inspired by my parents, Kofi and Mabel, who have been my champions and sponsors since day one (even before those words were even being used), and who always taught me the power of resilience.  They taught me that if anyone makes me feel discouraged, I should work harder and prove them wrong.  I also look up to my two older brothers, Kenny and Kofi, who have always supported me and set the bar high for me. Moreover, I’m grateful for the support of all the mentors I’ve had throughout my life. And of course, I am inspired by my husband, Vince.  Without his support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today; he inspires me to be my best self.

 

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Don’t be afraid to chart your own course and don’t be afraid to say yes.  Many of the doors that have been opened for me throughout my legal career and in my life in general came from me taking chances and simply saying yes. I didn’t always know what would be required of me, but I was confident that I could rise to the challenge. To those interested in a legal career, I encourage you to stay focused. Make it your goal to not only get good grades, but also to understand what’s being taught fully. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class, speak up and ask questions.

Hometown

  • St. Paul, Minnesota

Education

  • University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business
  • William Mitchell College of Law

Legacy Leader

Like Mompafeoh, today’s Legacy Leader, Justice Alan Page is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back.

Justice Alan Page is a jurist and former professional American Football player. While he played for the Minnesota Vikings, Page attended the University of Minnesota Law School, from which he received a Juris Doctor in 1978. After graduating, he worked at the Minneapolis law firm Lindquist and Vennum from 1979 to 1984 outside the football season. Page was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General in 1985, and soon thereafter promoted to Assistant Attorney General. In 1993 Page became the first African American justice to be appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

Page and his wife Diane are the founders of the Page Education Foundation, which assists students of color with postsecondary education. Page also helped establish the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education, and he is a frequent speaker to groups of students about the importance of education. Justice Page also has a long history of community service and has been named on both 100 Influential Minnesotans of the Century and 100 Most Important Sports Figures of the Century. Page is a member of the American Law Institute, Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, National Bar Association and American Bar Association.

 

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Future History Maker Chris Webley chrisis the founder and CEO of New Rules North. Webley studied textile technology with a concentration in medical textiles at North Carolina State University. He has worked with Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret and Target, in the corporate retail fashion industry as a research and design textile engineer. After seven years in the fashion
industry Webley decided to take on a new and different challenge, and start his own company. 

New Rules North is a truly innovative landmark destination that merges together art, innovation, and technology in a space for business owners to not only share work space but work together to invest in the local community. New Rules provides entrepreneurs with the equipment and resources needed to expand their creative and professional capabilities, build innovation in the community, and contribute to economic growth for individuals and the region. This unique approach to connecting service and entrepreneurship attracts new, young, risk-taking talent to the Minneapolis Northside.

A proven problem solver, Webley is no stranger to leading change in the Twin Cities community. After moving to Minnesota to work for Target, Webley immediately noticed that the opportunities for professionals of color to connect and socialize were nearly non-existent. Within two months he sought to change that by hosting a professional networking social where over 200 professionals of color gathered together to meet and connect.

Webley said this was his “ah-ha” moment that planted the seeds for New Rules North. Webley followed the social with a fashion showcase of local talent representing the African diaspora.  Partnering with powerhouse twin cities corporations (Target and General Mills) Webley shined a light on the amazing talent possessed by a vast array of diverse creatives who otherwise would not have an opportunity to share their work on mainstream platforms.  Webley’s work demonstrates the value of cultural diversity and  retaining professional people of color in the Twin Cities region.

Desiring to have a broader impact on community, Webley pulled together $100,000 from his personal savings and investments to help redevelop a historic building in North Minneapolis and open New Rules. Webley created New Rules North with a vision of developing a common ground of resources needed to sustain an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and creativity. New Rules mission is to measurably contribute to the growth of individuals and communities by providing space and holistic resources that expand their creative and professional pursuits.  New Rules uses art as a bridge to connect people to broader and richer experiences.

Webley wants to see the Northside thrive.  Recently New Rules has partnered with the YMCA to introduce a variety of artistic professions to Northside youth. Most recently they hosted a photography exhibit where youth were taught photography, given cameras, and asked to compile portfolios documenting their community.  Webley’s ultimate goal is to help continue to change the narrative of what North Minneapolis has to offer.  He strives to boost economic development and opportunities for people who live there.

Webley has served on the board of the North Community Harold Mezile YMCA since 2014.  He is working with Achieve Minneapolis to develop a creative professionals pipeline, helping students explore creative career avenues and provide the structure and resources needed to maintain such careers.

Webley has demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering his community and providing opportunities for artist to succeed. His advocacy is a beacon of hope and inspiration for future generations.

Most Rewarding Work Experience

Right now I’m working to incentivize major corporations, nonprofits, and   community members to take advantage of the New Rules event space.  As a result, New Rules is planning a major fundraiser, the Investor’s Forum, that will take place March 11th. Also to celebrate Black History Month, we’ve lined up several events, kicking off the month with a major community art exhibit, opening on February 4th. Information about these events can be found on the New Rules website.

What Motivates You

Lately it’s been hard to stay upbeat and focused.  I imagine I’m not alone, and often wonder what inspires my neighbors to get up each and every day and fight through barriers and disappointment, without yielding to the desire to give up. Their ability to persevere inspires me. However, at the end of the day I look to God for peace and understanding. That  is what keeps me grounded and focused. I am rooted in my understanding that I do not know what the future holds; therefore I can only trust the path that God has put me on in fulfilling my personal legend.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Don’t be afraid to be in the trenches doing what you love, as it is all part of the growth process. Stay consistent and always remember to follow through. Be you and be proud of doing things your own way.

Hometown

  • North Carolina

Education

  • BS in Textile Technology and Medical Textiles
  • North Carolina State University

Legacy Leader

 Webley’sarchie jr.jpg dedication and committment to community mirrors that of  Legacy Leader Archie Givens Jr. 

Archie Givens Jr. is president of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a Minneapolis based not-for-profit agency, and chief executive officer of Legacy Management & Development Corporation, developers of real estate and affordable housing. He has been honored on many occasions for his work in both fields, most recently with the 2001 NAACP President’s Award, the 2002 Alchemy Black Arts Award, and the 2003 Minority Business Award from the National Black MBA Association and the Twin Cities Business Journal.

A tireless advocate for reading and literature, Givens, along with his family and the University of Minnesota Foundation, led a community fundraising effort to bring a notable private collection of Black literature to Minnesota in 1985. This collection, named in honor of his father Archie Givens Sr., now resides at the University of Minnesota. It contains 9,000 rare and first edition books, manuscripts, scripts, correspondence, and other written materials, and is the inspiration for the Givens Foundation’s national programs.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Givens obtained his master’s degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota, where he pursued undergraduate studies in history and the humanities. He now serves on the University’s Alumni Board. He upholds a long-time family commitment to the community by serving on the board of the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the Weisman Art Museum, Coffee House Press, the Guthrie Theater, and Western Bank. 

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Sean Skibbie appointed as Director, Contract Compliance


sean-2 Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is pleased to announce that Sean Skibbie has been appointed as Director, Contract Compliance. Skibbie has a strong background in construction work and in compliance that makes him a great fit for this position.


Skibbie most recently worked as the Small Business Contracting Supervisor at the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Civil Rights, with compliance oversight for approximately $3 billion a year of publicly-funded contracts. He also spent time at MnDOT enforcing prevailing wage requirements. His professional career began as a small business owner, operating a Minnesota based painting company. As the company owner Skibbie oversaw all administrative tasks and sales with the business and as well as operating logistics and managing the workforce. 

Skibbie began working for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2011. He first worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation Labor and Compliance Unit as a prevailing wage investigator.  In this position he investigated contractors for prevailing wage violations and accompanying labor compliance issues.  Sean later worked for the Alaska Department of Transportation as a contract compliance officer. There Skibbie oversaw the implementation and compliance of the Alaska DOT’s entire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. This included oversight of project monitoring, working with consultants to complete a disparity study, and the day to day operations of setting project DBE goals and conducting good faith effort investigations when contractors failed to meet DBE goals.  Skibbie then returned to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he gained experience in Workforce programs and as the Small Business Contracting Supervisor. In this position Skibbie managed a team of ten employees. As manager he improved monitoring practices on active projects and initiated procurement changes to increase small business participation. 

Minneapolis Civil Rights Director, Velma Korbel, summed up her thoughts about hiring Sean Skibbie in saying, “Sean is going to be great in his new role leading the Contract Compliance Division because he is passionate about equity and fairness, and demonstrates a commitment to high quality work. I’m most impressed by his ability to lead and work well with others, particularly his experience overseeing the Alaska DOT disadvantaged business enterprise program where he transformed the office culture to one of consistent productivity and teamwork. Furthermore, he has a unique combination of both academic training and real world experience that is essential to success in contract compliance oversight.  He has knowledge of small business issues as both a contract and former business owner and knowledge of civil rights history and issues from both education and experience.  Such a combination is hard to find. He is a bright and thoughtful young leader, who we gladly welcome to the leadership team.”

Skibbie received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, and his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He is licensed to practice in Minnesota. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family. Skibbie is an avid runner and has participated  twice in the Twin Cities marathon. He is married to a Minnesota psychologist, Vang, and has three daughters.  He began his work at the City on December 5, 2016.

 

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.   We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


 Future History Maker 

Future Hiilhanomar225story Maker Ilhan Omar is the newly elected Representative for District 60B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She is the  first Somali-American, Muslim woman to hold office at this level. 

At 14 years old, and acting  as her grandfather’s interpreter so he could participate in their local DFL caucus, Omar experienced firsthand one of  many barriers that limit full political participation in the democratic process.  Omar says, “That experience set the tone for a career in advocacy. It was an eye opening experience to have the person I relied on as  a guide, in turn be forced to rely on me to help navigate such an important process. Throughout the years I’ve worked hard to make our democratic system more accessible to people like him.”

Omar began her professional career working as a community health educator at the University of Minnesota. She went on to work at Best Buy and the Minnesota Department of Education.  Before being elected to the Minnesota legislature, Omar most recently served as the Senior Policy Aide for Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson. 

During a time of political and social upheaval Omar sets an example of bravery for future generations.  Omar says, “As a young girl I was encouraged by my parents to break down barriers. My father encouraged me in everything I did, reminding me that neither my gender nor race should dictate my success.”

Recently Omar has protested executive orders limiting the ability of immigrants and Americans with dual citizenship from freely entering and exiting the United States. Omar, a proud Muslim American, zealously leads the fight against islamophobia and works tirelessly to promote the principles of unity and diversity. Aligned with her commitment to unity and justice, Omar’s legislative agenda is focused on advancing issues such as: raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars ($15) per hour; closing the opportunity gap; fighting for environmental justice; and fighting for racial and gender equity. 

Omar holds degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and International Studies. She completed a Policy Fellowship at University Of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She has also served on numerous nonprofit boards, including: the Legal Rights Center; YMCA; Confederation of Somali Community of Minnesota; and the DFL State Central Committee. Omar has received multiple accolades and awards, including the Rising Star Award from DFL Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Most Rewarding Work Experience?

I’ve enjoyed a career rooted in advocacy. Right now my work focuses on ensuring our laws are just and enacting polices that are going to create an equitable and prosperous society.  I’m excited to author a bill that will help reform the criminal justice system. I’m also working on issues concerning voter accessibility and small business support. I look forward to continuing to advocate for fair and inclusive policies for my constituents.

What Inspires You?

I’m inspired by people who create opportunities for themselves and know their own worth. One of my favorite quotes comes from Shirley Chisholm – “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Advice for Aspiring Politicians

Many folks feel as if democracy is only for certain people. Often times we think this political process is for someone else and we feel the need to ask for permission before getting involved or taking a lead. I would like to say to them, this is ours!  We don’t need permission to show up and we don’t need permission to stay. If we think something isn’t working then it is our prerogative and obligation to step up and try to fix it. We must not only think of ourselves as leaders of the future, but as leaders of today.

I believe minority communities and women in particular often feel there is a specific path set before us, and shy away from new opportunities. However, we are resilient and creative people and we should chart our own path and create new avenues for involvement. I advise all to create your own opportunities when there are none.

Hometown

  •  Mogadishu,  Somalia

Education

  • University of Minnesota
  • North Dakota State University

History. Tradition. Community.

Legacy Leader

kme-official-photo-2010Before Ilhan Omar today’s Legacy Leader demonstrated a commitment and dedication to community. Representative Keith Ellison has served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2007. He is a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party. He is also co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 113th Congress, and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, founded the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus, and belongs to more than a dozen other caucuses that focus on issues ranging from social inclusion to environmental protection.  His commitment to consumer justice includes authoring legislation included in the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights of 2009.

Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Ellison was a noted community activist and ran a thriving civil rights, employment, and criminal defense law practice in Minneapolis.  He also served two terms in the Minnesota State House of Representatives. Rep. Ellison was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He has lived in Minnesota since earning his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990. He is the proud father of four children.

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PCOC Meeting in a Snapshot: January Edition

Deputy Chief Arradondo speaks to the Commission.

Deputy Chief Arradondo speaks to the Commission.

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its monthly meeting on January 10, 2016. Highlights included welcoming two new Commissioners; passage of a motion to conduct a Domestic Response Research and Study; updates on the new MPD dashboard for collecting demographic data; details on work with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice; and the forwarding of multiple projects inspired by the Peace Forum to the Audit Committee for potential Study development.

The meeting began by welcoming two new commissioners, Jeffrey Wade and Luke Davis, to the PCOC. Both bring experience and insight that is sure to serve the Commission well. Following this introduction, the OPCR’s Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick and Policy Analyst Kaela McConnon Diarra, presented a methodology to the Commission for a Research and Study on MPD Domestic Response. The methodology lists Study goals to include: identifying current policy and practice used by the Minneapolis Police Department to respond to domestic police calls; comparing MPD domestic response policy and practice to other jurisdictions; and identifying any areas for improvement in the current policy and practice. The Commission asked questions of the presenters and then passed a motion referring the methodology back to the Audit Committee, to oversee the execution of that methodology into a full Research and Study. See the Prezi from the presentation here. See the methodology here.

Next, Deputy Chief Arradondo addressed the Commission and provided updates on the MPD’s new dashboard for collecting demographic data. The dashboard was created in response to a Research and Study completed by the Commission on Investigatory Stops, which arose concern regarding the lack of demographic information collected for such stops. D.C. Arradondo informed the Commission that the new dashboard is now in use, requiring officers to input demographic information, including race and gender, whenever making an investigatory stop, as well as taking other police action such as traffic stops and truancy stops. Officers must now enter such information to “clear” such a call and move on to another.

The Deputy Chief also provided the Commission with an update on the work the MPD is doing with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Recent work includes procedural justice training and implicit bias training. At the end of 2016, every officer on force received implicit bias training. He also told the Commission about training being provided in the community, in order for the public to learn what exactly officers are learning. He hopes members of the Commission will be able to participate in such a training sometime soon.

Committee reports were then made, the most extensive of which, was one from the Outreach Committee. The Outreach Committee focused, in their recent Committee meeting, on the Peace Forum that the Commission participated in this past November, and the recommendations from the community that came out of it. The Commission passed motions to move three such recommendations to the Audit Committee, to potentially create methodologies to look into them further. The topics included: psychological testing for officers prior to joining the force; implicit bias testing; and smart guns.

Commissioners then reviewed case summaries from December case synopses, cases 1, 6, and 8. They then chose cases from the January Synopses to be converted to summaries for next month, cases 3, 7 and 9.

The meeting then adjourned, with the next monthly meeting scheduled for February 14, 2017.

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PCOC Meeting Snapshot: December Edition

00001The Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its monthly meeting on December 13, 2016. Highlights included the Commission passing a motion to begin a research and study regarding domestic violence cases; an announcement that funding for the mental health co-responder program has been approved; and the Commission passage of metrics devised by the Policy and Procedure Committee for the Chief’s Performance Review.

The meeting opened up with public comment and the approval of the last meeting minutes. Following this, Vice Chair Singleton motioned to direct the Audit Committee to devise a methodology for a research and study of domestic violence cases. Citing at length a case summary from October, which was moved to the Policy and Procedure Committee for greater inspection, Vice Chair Singleton commented that the case had opened up questions regarding the Minneapolis Police Department’s handling of such domestic violence cases. After some discussion, the motion passed.

Next, Vice Chair Singleton provided an update on the Co-responder Pilot Program to the Commission. Namely, Vice Chair Singleton informed the Commission that funding for the program had been approved by Minneapolis City Council. Vice-chair Singleton noted that three officers and two mental health professionals were a part of the approved funding. Further, Vice-chair Singleton stated that she continues to meet regularly with stakeholders—such as representatives of the MPD and Hennepin County—regarding the framework for the program, and that the group will soon create a white paper establishing that framework.

After this, Commissioner Foroozan motioned for the Commission to adopt the Chief’s Performance Review –- a series of self-described “neutral metrics”, gauging the police chief’s performance that will be conducted every 18 months. The seven metrics are as follows: 1) implementation of PCOC research and study recommendations; 2) interaction with Police Conduct Review Panel recommendations; 3) outreach and engagement to local and diverse communities; 4) law enforcement strategies taken to address crime; 5) training allocations based on issues identified by the Commission and MPD; 6) distribution of complaints amongst officers; and 7) conversion of arrests to convictions. After some discussion, the motion passed.

Also, Commissioners Cerillo and Westphal gave their opinions regarding the Peace Forum they attended, which took place on November 29th, 2016. Both commissioners commented that the Forum did not meet their expectations. In relation to the Forum, Commissioner Westphal stated that she gave it “3 out of 5 stars,” and Commissioner Cerillo commented that it was, “not successful…something got lost in translation.”

Lastly, Commissioners discussed cases 3, 8 and 10. Case 8 and 10 were moved to the Policy and Procedure Committee for tracking regarding language/attitude and de-escalation respectively. The Commission decided that cases 1, 6 and 8 from the December Case Synopses should be converted to case summaries for the next meeting.  The Commission then adjourned, with the next meeting scheduled for January 9, 2017.

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