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Free Agent, For the People

“I just do work that needs to be done working to be the best neighbor and community member I can be.” ~Roxxanne O’Brien

I am writing to nominate Roxxanne O’Brien for the Rare Life Leadership Award, the woman who is raising her 3 children as a single mother, while also raising the world.

Roxxanne O’Brien, amidst and during her service to the community of North Minneapolis has spurred public conversations about racism, classism and oppression -- all the while enduring abuse, violence and death threats.

She fiercely holds local politicians and public servants accountable to their roles and the laws while striving to make government more transparent and accessible to citizens.

She has given a platform to people who have been unheard. She video tapes educational materials and posts online for others to see and respond to -- as well as visits to leaders’ offices, community report outs, ideas from community members, and discussions with other local leaders. She keeps us informed and calls us together on many important topics that affect our community and relationships with one another. She has been quoted many times in local and state-wide media, showing up to speak to committees, to organizations, and to public officials themselves when the voice of our community has been silenced -- often with her children by her side.

Seven years ago, Roxxanne began training Hope Community to become a community organizer through a program called Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens (SPEAC). She became the Vice Chair, volunteering to help people fight foreclosures. In 2012, Roxxanne worked on Environmental Racism and Justice issues, pushing back on Northern Metals who wanted to increase pollution emissions in North Minneapolis, which has the highest asthma related hospitalizations in the state.

Here are more of Roxxanne’s achievements:

In 2013, she was awarded the Bush Fellowship for community achievement and leadership which enabled her, during the following two years (2013-4), to explore and share her journeys through:
* the history of law enforcement and relationships with local police
* environmental justice
* local government
* classism / class structures
* natural health care, such as veganism, alternative therapies, coaching and self-care

In 2015, Roxxanne:
* helped to lead and organize a rally at Minneapolis' Harbor Lights Salvation Army pertaining to abuse and racial discrimination;
* participated in the Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality pursuant to Jamar Clark's homocide
* participated in tactical urbanism initiatives with Juxtaposition Arts, focusing on youth
* charged and passed a motion to protect the East Phillips community
* mentored a student who was subsequently showcased on BET
* participated in a class action complaint against the Minneapolis & St. Paul Public Schools defending student's rights to receive an adequate education

In 2016, she sits the Citizens Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC) and was recently accepted on the Green Zones working group, tackling Air Quality issues that have repeatedly exceeded emissions by local businesses.

Roxxanne embraces vulnerability and courageously shares her learning, her life and her heart with others.

Please vote for Roxxanne O'Brien for this unique honor!

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