A young person from Waite House attending the State Capitol

By Kenzie O’Keefe, Policy & Advocacy Director

If the catastrophes of 2020 (and now 2021) have taught us one lesson, it’s that dramatic, uncompromising structural change cannot wait a moment longer.

We need public policy that meets this moment. We need true, comprehensive healthcare, housing, healing, and justice for all. Now is the time for courage.

As a historically human services focused agency, Pillsbury United Communities is no longer content to influence public policy from the sidelines. We are entering into the new year with a brand new public policy agenda—the first of its kind for our organization. We are getting to work shaping public policy and government budgets to bring about the change our systemically oppressed communities have long deserved and been denied.

Our agenda is the product of over 100 conversations with our community members: our leadership, managers, frontline staff, program participants, clients, neighbors, and professional peers in the work. Our goal was to center community need, wisdom, love, and imagination in this roadmap for our governmental advocacy work.

Highlights of our 2021-22 commitments include:

  • Expanding access to affordable, culturally relevant models of holistic healthcare through the emerging field of community health workers, driving toward universal healthcare as an end result.
  • Increasing funding for culturally relevant, community-based programs and out of school time youth programming
  • Promoting equitable neighborhood development while protecting legacy residents with anti-gentrification measures
  • Tracking toward true public safety for all
  • Ensuring artists and the creative economy are economically stable
  • Dismantling the racial opportunity gap and incentivizing innovation in our public education system

Additionally, we commit to being anti-racist in our work, something we do humbly as a legacy institution that has at times been complicit in propping up the inequitable systems that we are trying to change through policy. We intend to be champions of shared power, advocating for policy that originates from, is co-designed by, and is evaluated after implementation by the communities it affects most.

In addition to our policy platform priorities, we’ve created a working document that details the specific ordinances, bills, and other policy items we are leading on, supporting, and endorsing at every level of government. This chart will be organically populated as opportunities arise and diminish. We invite you to reach out if there are items you’d like to see added or adjusted or items you’d like to fight alongside us to achieve.

Follow along with our work and sign up for email updates at pillsburyunited.org/policy.

View the full policy platform document (.pdf).