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Mayor Hodges discusses civic engagement at MCTC

Mayor Betsy Hodges
Mayor Hodges (center) poses with MCTC
President Pierce (far left), student leaders,
faculty and staff members.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges engaged students, faculty and staff at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in an interactive discussion about civic engagement in an inclusive community during a recent visit to campus.

According to Mayor Hodges, she began taking an interest in civic engagement at a young age when she noticed race and class disparities. “We have the largest racial equity gaps in the country and that’s unacceptable,” said Mayor Hodges, who was elected to her first term as Mayor in 2013. Previously, she served as a City Council Member from Ward 13. “We don’t have much of a future if our minority populations aren’t benefitting from the city’s growth and prosperity,” said Mayor Hodges.

MCTC President, Dr. Sharon Pierce encourages students to take an active role in the communities where they live and work. “I’m pleased to see elected officials on campus interacting with our students and feel fortunate they take the time to be here engaging with our students,” said Dr. Pierce.

Mayor Hodges indicated she has been working to improve relationships between police and the community since assuming her role as mayor. “The police chief has held listening/healing sessions with members of our community, officers have engaged in implicit bias training, wear body cams and there is an early intervention program to assist officers who are struggling,” highlighted Mayor Hodges. “Community-based public safety strategies also give community members more power to impact the safety of their own neighborhoods.”

Mayor Hodges shared how Minneapolis is known as a city where value is placed on honoring and cherishing its immigrant neighbors. “All my work started because I had a sense something was wrong and I believed in the possibility of making things better. Being a leader in Minneapolis means standing up over and over again and saying to indigenous, women and immigrants that you are a beloved part of this city and we stand with you.”

At the close of Mayor Hodges presentation, students engaged in a question and answer discussion related to free college initiatives, rising homelessness rates, immigration issues and state revenues. In closing, Mayor Hodges stated, “Hate may have its moment, but love has its century. It’s not effective to blame, attack or criticize.”