With two odious amendments on our ballot, few states felt the electricity in the air leading up to the 2012 election the way Minnesota did. Our right to vote was on the line, as was our ability to move the conversation about marriage forward. Our leaders had been fighting the amendments tooth and nail on campus, in our communities, and at the capitol since the prospects of their existences were mere rumblings in the legislature. And, having worked so hard or so long, few tasted the sweetness of victory over discrimination and exclusion the way we did.
“NO” campaigns are not what MPIRG is used to. We are used to enacting the will of Minnesota’s students and communities, known for our proactivity and vision of a state that says “YES.” So when confronted by a threat to that Minnesota of “YES,” we set out to prove that other Minnesotans shared in our vision. And we did, handily, through the victory of a grassroots effort of monumental proportions, unlike anything our nation had seen before.
Now a new task falls to us: harness the momentum of victory and use it to change Minnesota for the better. Use it to codify anti-discrimination and inclusion in our state law and budget. Use it to prove once again that Minnesotans will not stand for anything less. We have spent countless hours brandishing the message of “NO.” We have never been so ready to carry forward our tradition of declaring “YES.”
YES to mass transit and renewable energy.
YES to healthcare for all.
YES to affordable higher education.
This is the standard we bear as we launch into a new chapter and new campaigns at our state’s capitol, more invigorated than ever.
Brian Daily-Arndt, UMTC Affordable Higher Ed Task Force Leader