Rally for Trans Kids in Hastings

I went to the Rally for Trans Kids in Hastings today, in response to the bigoted hate poured out on Hastings school board member Kelsey Waits and her family by a ‘concerned parents’ group in the community. The group outed Waits’ 8-year-old trans child and has created an environment so hostile the family doesn’t feel safe and had to move.

Waits said it best in an MPR interview:

“Transgender kids are the most at-risk kids in our schools for suicide. Almost 50 percent of transgender students will attempt suicide, and that’s in Minnesota and nationwide. And what research is starting to show is that by supporting these kids, you decrease their risk of suicide. You’re saving their lives.”

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Spotify Wrapped: My Year in Music

So Spotify does this clever thing where they look at your listening stats and spit out a bunch of fun data. Unfortunately, they do it in this goofy app experience that’s pretty awful. But I pulled out the fun bits…

I listened to 43,344 minutes of music (more than 90% of users), accounting for 2,358 different artists, and 166 different genres.

Supposedly my top five genres are indie pop, ska, stomp and holler, bubble grunge, permanent wave. (I don’t know what half those words mean.)

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Dressember: Help Fight Human Trafficking

I’m dressing up every day in December to fight human trafficking as a part of Dressember. Please consider making a donation to support my efforts.

It’s dumb that slavery is something we still have to talk about in 2021. But it impacts something like 45 million people worldwide, and disproportionately impacts children, women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and foster kids—basically the vulnerable.

That’s hard to stomach. The whole topic of human trafficking is pretty gruesome. It’s a lot easier to look away and ignore it.

That’s why Dressember uses what seems like a silly style challenge to raise awareness and attention for this difficult issue. So far they’ve raised over $13 million and counting to help trafficking survivors around the world. That’s pretty great.

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Robert Street Underpass on the River-to-River Greenway Trail

The River-to-River Greenway through West St. Paul is now complete with the Robert Street underpass. This post has been a long time coming. I could have written it two months ago, but I’ve been busy. Also, I wrote my first post supporting this project back in 2017. And the effort to support this crossing goes back much further, to real plans around 2010 and big ideas around 2000.

Yeah, 20 years.

Sometimes progress is slow.

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Parktober: North & South Minnesota

I took two weekends in October for solo trips to Minnesota State Parks, first venturing to the far northern edge of the state and then going to the southwest corner. With apologies to a friend with a family tradition of state park trips in October, we’ll dub this my Parktober experience.

I’m a big fan of the fall—the changing colors, the crisp air, the lack of bugs. It’s a wonderous time to get outside and explore. I also like checking out parks I haven’t been to, trying to find something new and different. So this year I booked two separate trips to places I haven’t been before. In the process I probably tried to cram in more parks than I should have, but it’s hard to pass one up when you’re so close and might never get back there.

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School Board Elections Matter

A school board candidate threatened me with a slander lawsuit last week. I guess that’s part of community news now? (See my update at the bottom of this post for more.)

But let’s not focus on him. (My conversation on race with the only person of color still running is a much better story to focus on.)

Big election on Tuesday—lots of school boards at stake. Hope you’re ready to vote.

I put together a voter’s guide and candidate chart for the nine candidates vying for three seats in my school district, ISD 197, plus a levy renewal (yeah, it’s a lot):

It’s an off-year election and nobody turns out for school board elections (seriously: the last contested election had a turnout of 5%!).

But have you seen the headlines? People raiding school board meetings? The unhinged comments? Books being banned across the country? It’s wild.

These elections matter.

This election is feeling a bit like 2016, when everyone assumed things would work out and we all sat back and waited. And then woke up on November 9 in shock.

So vote.

Find out what’s on the ballot in your area and vote.

Tell your neighbors, tell your friends, and vote.

(And maybe support local news too. Here’s how to support my efforts.)

Turning on the Heat 2021

I turned on the heat today. 37 degrees outside, 63 degrees inside. It’s supposed to be cloudy today and not get warmer than 48, so it’s about time. Plus, my parents are visiting and making them sleep in an unheated basement is just mean.

We’ve had a few days here and there, but this feels like we’re entering the first uninterrupted stretch of real fall weather.

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.