Governor Tim Walz spoke about his stance on Line 3, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman discussed affordable housing in St. Paul and more Minnesota state politicians conversed with local leaders at ISAIAH’s Virtual Launch on Jan. 24.
On Sunday, Jan. 24, more than 4,000 Minnesotas attended the ISAIAH kickoff campaign on Zoom. This meeting’s primary focus was to discuss social, economic, health and environmental issues from all across Minnesota in order to bring forward issues and hold leaders accountable.
ISAIAH is a statewide non-partisan organization consisting of multiple local coalitions. During the election season, it primarily worked on making voting as accessible and as COVID-safe as possible to increase voter turnout.
Now, with the election season done, the organization is making plans for the next two years and turning its focus to affordable housing and accessible childcare. They also focused on tackling statewide environmental issues, specifically in stopping the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline currently being built in northern Minnesota.
Speakers included Walz, Hortman, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and St. Cloud City Mayor Dave Kleis.
Clare Mazack ’22 is currently working as a youth organizer on ISAIAH’s Young Adult Coalition.
“I was excited to see just how many people were on the call,” Mazack said. “It’s important to show the politicians… how many people were on that call, so that [they] really think about what they’re saying.”
The Stop Line 3 Movement is one of the biggest movements in Minnesota at this moment, and it is supported by ISAIAH, as well as other activist groups such as the Sunrise Movement and MN350.
With the construction of the pipeline already happening, this issue is timely. At the meeting, the leaders of the ISAIAH Muslim Coalition brought the issue of Line 3 to Walz’s attention once again, this time in front of thousands of people, specifically in regards to clean water.
“I appreciate your passion, I hear you loud and clear, Line 3 is a difficult situation,” Walz said.“I know I will disappoint you sometimes, but it is not that I do not share your values that climate change is an existential threat. I am trying to figure out what that broad vision looks like.”
Many of those involved with the ISAIAH Coalitions were disappointed by Walz’s statement about Line 3. Reaching out to elected officials and Walz specifically took a lot of effort.
Kate Massell ‘21 is also a Youth Organizer for the Youth Coalition. She’s learned about this issue from the Giniw Collective, an Indigenous women and two-spirit led organization committed to stopping Line 3 and exposing the harmful consequences of the pipeline on water, climate and treaty rights.
“Walz has just time and time again let us down, and has proven that he cares more about profit than about clean water or a livable future,” Massell said.
ISAIAH’s Young Adult Coalition will continue with strategy meetings to keep working towards the goals discussed in the Jan. 24 meeting. They also hope to organize similar events with other ISAIAH Coalitions in the future.
“The next step is acting upon the words of Indigenous leaders fighting Line 3 and taking non-violent direct action to stop the pipeline,” Massell said.
“There are so many coalitions and so many Indigenous-led movements to stop the pipeline. That’s a bold move that Macalester students can take in addition to calling on [President] Joe Biden… in addition to writing legislative excerpts… in addition to writing letters to news editors.”
For the issues of Stop Line 3, public safety and policing and more, Macalester students on campus can still get involved with the Learn to Organize! Program by reaching out to the Civic Engagement Center (CEC). Macalester alum Vivian Ihekoronye ’13 and the CEC staff are partnering with ISAIAH professional organizers in order to engage Macalester students in social issues and teach organizing skills. The first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11. For further information contact CEC staff member Eily Marlow ’97.