It’s important to know Andrea Jenkins, the first openly transgender black woman elected to U.S. office

Local state elections took place all over the country yesterday (November 7th) and, in Minnesota, one candidate for Minneapolis City Council just made history. Democrat Andrea Jenkins is the first openly transgender black woman to be elected to U.S. public office.

After working as a policy aide to two Minneapolis City Council members for 12 years, Jenkins won the Ward 8 City Council seat. She is considered “one of the most experienced first-time candidates to run for Minneapolis City Council,” her campaign’s press release states.

"My election is what resistance looks like," Jenkins stated in the press release. "It’s also about hope. As a City Council Member, I will be committed to advocating for equity for the most marginalized in our community."

While in office, Jenkins will work toward more affordable housing, green jobs, and improving police accountability. She also hopes to improve Minneapolis’ status as the second worst city in America for African Americans by addressing youth violence, overseeing the city’s economic growth, and improving the city’s relationship and involvement with the arts.

Jenkins herself is a poet, prose author, and performance artist, who has also worked as historian for the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota.

"As an out African American trans-identified woman, I know first-hand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus," Jenkins said in her victory speech. "Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table—we want to set the table."

She continued, "At a time in our history when the federal government is undermining the progress that has been made in women’s rights, access to health care, immigrant rights, disability rights, LGBT rights, we must stand up and fight back. Cities are the frontline of defense in these efforts, and I am proud to do this work."

Jenkins is dedicated to bringing equality to City Council and to Ward 8 come January, and we couldn’t be more excited about her victory and what it suggests about progress in politics.

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