To continue reading this article and others for free, please sign up for our newsletter.
Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news for and with immigrants and communities of color—the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else.
Unlock our in-depth reporting by signing up for our free newsletter.
Support local journalism that reflects Minnesota.
Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news about immigrants and communities of color — the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else. Your tax-deductible support will help us continue to provide honest, thorough journalism for Minnesota’s diverse communities.
Immigrant candidates are coming to the fore in one of the most diverse corners of the Twin Cities.
Three are running for a Brooklyn Park City Council East District seat in a special election February 8: Xiongpao “Xp” Lee, Abraham Brima Bah, and Benjamin Osemenam. Sahan Journal spoke with Lee and Brima Bah to learn more about the issues facing Brooklyn Park residents. Osemenam did not respond to Sahan Journal’s request for an interview. A fourth candidate, LaDawn Severin, a real estate agent, is also running.
The city’s now-Mayor Lisa Jacobson left her seat on the Council vacant when Brooklyn Park residents elected her as mayor in a close race in November. The winning candidate will serve the remainder of Jacobson’s term, which ends in 2024.
Brooklyn Park is one of the most diverse corners of the Twin Cities. According to Minnesota Compass, a state demographic research agency, nearly 55 percent are people of color. A large African immigrant community resides in Brooklyn Park, from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Liberia. Brooklyn Park and its neighboring city Brooklyn Center have the largest concentrations of Liberians outside of the Republic of Liberia. An estimated 4,000 people living in Brooklyn Park are Liberian.
The Brooklyn Park City Council is divided into three districts: East, West, and Central, each of which holds two seats on the Council. The mayor represents the city at-large. Special elections for city council will be held February 8. Absentee voting began December 27.