Saturday, July 13, 2024

Trailblazing trans leader makes history with election

Minneapolis city councilmembers have elected Andrea Jenkins to serve as the city council president – the first out trans person to ever serve as president of a city council in the United States.

Jenkins – who was serving as city council vice president until her election on January 10 – was the first out Black trans woman ever elected to a major city council in 2017, the LGBTQ Victory Institute has announced. Jenkins is an alum of many of LGBTQ Victory Institute’s candidate and leadership programs, including its Candidate & Campaign TrainingVictory Empowerment Fellowship and David Bohnett Leaders Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Andrea Jenkins

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the election:

“As major cities face unprecedented challenges wrought by the pandemic and incidents of police brutality, Andrea leads her constituents and our country with the calm but steely determination the moment calls for. The unanimous vote from her colleagues is a recognition of that leadership. Andrea is an elected official who serves all, but relentlessly champions those most marginalized, bringing an unmatched ability to spark empathy across divisions and communities. Minneapolis will be a better city with her as president and her history-making election will inspire more trans people to run and lead.”

In 2020, Jenkins became a national figure and leader as protests erupted over the murder of George Floyd, who was killed in her council district. She called his murder “a symbol for a knee on the neck of Black America” and demanded racism be treated as a public health crisis.

Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979. She worked as a Vocational Counselor for Hennepin County government, for a decade, and as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

She holds a master’s degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. In 2018 she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.

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