I grew up in Milwaukee, and I can vividly recall the important role parks and public spaces played in the lives of our South Asian diaspora in Wisconsin. We'd gather in a park or community center to celebrate Diwali, a wedding anniversary, or a cousin's birthday, and those experiences fostered bonds that have lasted generations. This is what our parks should be: a place to convene and host the social interactions that bind families and communities together.
As a teenager and now as an adult, Minneapolis parks have been a place to build new bonds. My friends and I would spend late nights talking about our futures after high school while walking along Lake Harriet, my husband and I celebrate Twin Cities Pride in Loring Park every year, I play (not particularly well) in the Stonewall Kickball League on the fields at Bryant Square Park, and I lead my neighborhood association's Equity and Outreach Committee at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Park, Jr. Recreation Center.
I also have significant experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors that will help me ensure that the Board's ambitious Racial Equity Action Plan is implemented with fidelity, transparency, and empathy. As a lifelong learner, I would also prioritize the development of a plan to incorporate community feedback in that implementation along the way.
Parks have always played a role in making me feel part of a connected, vibrant community, and that feeling should be a right for every resident of Minneapolis.