I was born in Somalia, and grew up dislocated from my home in neighboring Kenya before coming to Minneapolis in 2008. Since then I have dedicated myself to the service of others.
As a youth coordinator at Franklin Library and member of Youth in Government, I became passionate about our parks and park issues. My civic involvement really took off when I became the Outreach Officer for the Senate District 62 DFL. As Chair of the DFL Somali Caucus, now in my second term, we helped to elect the first Somali-American legislator in the United States, Ilhan Omar. Our grassroots organizing was central to her historic victory. I want to bring a similarly diverse perspective to the Minneapolis Park Board in District 3, as well as my experiences working with and listening to members of our community.
As the current Chair of the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association — a position that has required me to work extensively with the Park Board, I am proud to point to coalition building that has delivered concrete results for the community. I sponsored the Mashkiiki Community Garden, a successful project that can be a template for other community gardens in the district. We recently broke ground for the Philips Community Center Aquatic Center, an unprecedented resource for the community opening next year. The “Save Peavey Park” project is one that I advocated for as a member my neighborhood association, an initiative that helped create a safer, more welcoming and family oriented environment in Peavey Park. I am proud to now say that Ventura Village Neighborhood Association’s work, along with the city council, park board and community partners, has helped deliver the NPP20 park plan updates for Peavey Park (we broke ground in mid August!)
This campaign is about equal accessibility to our beautiful parks for everyone — especially for our children — regardless of where they live. My family and I love our parks, and they deserve the same resources in District 3 that are available throughout the city. We have an opportunity to revitalize our public spaces through equitable investment, creating accessible parks in the process. I want to bring more growing space and community gardens into or near our parks, with District 3 serving as a pilot program, and add 100 native tree species plantings in the district. I want to see more educational opportunities and strong community and school board involvement in our parks, all of which is possible through equitable funding, coalition building, and by listening to residents’ needs and concerns.
Join me in making Minneapolis Parks more beautiful and accessible places.
AK Hassan, Chair
Ventura Village Neighborhood Association
MN DFL Somali-American Caucus