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Young activist AK Hassan to run for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner

Photo courtesy Ak

Young local politician and activist AK Hassan announced his candidacy for Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner, District 3  at Safari Restaurant and Event Center on Friday, January 20, 2017. About 500 supporters filled Safari Hall for the campaign kickoff event.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) commissioner seats and other city of Minneapolis offices are up for election. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) commissioners regularly makes fiduciary and other key decisions about the city parks, community centers, and other recreation activities.

Abdikadir Hassan, also known as AK said, “the three major drivers of my campaign are; environmental sustainability; equal access to resources for all parks; and democratic decision making”.

AK continued to say, “There is an uproar from citizens across the city about the way MPRB is handling ash boars infecting ash trees across the entire parks system. Their initial response was to treat the trees with environmentally deleterious toxins. Now, the board has decided to chop down all trees, including ones that aren’t infected”. AK believes there is an alternative solution, one that doesn’t involve poisoning our environment and chopping out trees down.

Ilhan Omar, Minnesota House Representative for District 60B and the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level was among the long list of speakers at the event. “His commitment is real, he cares about our community and city”, said representative Omar. “ I encourage you to support him, to donate to this campaign and share this great young man’s accomplishments through social media” stated Ilhan Omar.

Minneapolis Board of Education chair Rebecca Gagnon who passionately spoke about the credentials and commitment of candidate AK Hassan said, “please invest in our kids, our parks, our city and invest in AK”.

City of Hopkins Park Board commissioner Fozia Ali encouraged the community to support AK, “  AK wants to work towards building a stronger parks system that works for the community and I know he will win” commissioner Fozia said.

Other speakers included, Abdi Abdule, Mohamud Canshuur, Matthew Fitzgeral, Molly Donovan and Chad Hermes, Campaign Manager.

On the issue of equal access to resources, AK wants to be an advocate for all parks in district 3 as well as across the entire Minneapolis Parks system. This is an issue that hits close to home for AK, as he grew up in Ventura Village and his primary park, Peavey Park, was pretty much abandoned by the board. The grass, what’s left of it, is brown and unsightly. The equipment is deteriorating. The indoor gym was sold off to Hope Academy, even as the community unanimously opposed this decision – now, children in the Ventura Village neighborhood don’t have access to a public indoor gym.

He believes that the community’s voice should be heard in regards to how the parks operate, and that parks commissioners should act in a manner that aligns with the wishes of the community – this is the very foundation of democracy. Unfortunately, decision making at the commissioner level is unilateral and seldom conducive to the desires of the very people who elected them.

AK Hassan  came to Minneapolis in 2008 as a teenager and since high school, he has dedicated himself to serve others.That dedication to service started to pick up when he was elected to be the Outreach Officer for the Senate District 62 DFL.

The DFL Somali caucus has since elected him to be their chair twice. He also serve as the chair of the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association — a position that has required him to work extensively with the Park Board. If he is elected on November,  AK Hassan will be the youngest  commissioner and the first East African to hold this seat.

At the campaign kickoff event, AK Hassan and his team launched his campaign website: http://akhassan.com/ .

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Photos credit: Ahmed Laari,  AK Hassan campaign and Tusmo Times

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