(Minneapolis, MN) – Immigrant rights advocate and grassroots activistAlondra Espejel Cano announces her run to represent the 9th Ward on theMinneapolis City Council. "I am ready to bring my experience as a successful community organizer and social justice activist to be a creative and strategic leader for the 9th Ward," says Cano, "My twelve years of professional experience in the nonprofit, youth development, and public policy sector make me a powerful voice for all communities on the Minneapolis City Council."
Originally from Mexico, Cano immigrated to the U.S. at age 10 with her family. She has deep roots and a long history in Minneapolis fighting for student and immigrant rights, empowering youth and other disenfranchised communities, and working to make local government more accessible to all people.
As the Associate Director for the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Cano led efforts for fair immigration reform and pushed to change laws increasing access to higher education for all students. She was a driving force in the movement to pass the Minnesota Dream Act and organized students to keep the culturally and racially diverse University of Minnesota's General College open. In her current position as Aide toMinneapolis City Council Vice President Lilligren, Cano has spearheaded efforts to make local government more representative of the people by launching the city's first Latino Engagement Task Force, helping to establish diverse membership on the Office of Sustainability's Environmental Justice Workgroup, and by promoting public art investment in underserved communities and public transportation projects. Cano's community and political work include being a former board member of the Women's Environmental Institute and elected Secretary of the Latino DFL Caucus.
"I really appreciate Alondra Cano's intelligence and her passion for putting people first," says 9th Ward resident Karen Kingsley, who currently serves as the board chair for the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. "Her commitment to inclusion, her drive to make positive change and her ability to accomplish what she sets out to do will make Alondra a great representative for the 9th Ward."
Cano holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts with a concentration on Management, Chicano Studies, Popular
Education and the Politics of Identity. She participated in theNational Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington D.C. and is a Community Development careership graduate from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). While at LISC she served as a project consultant for El Colegio Charter School and Hope Community in South Minneapolis.
Cano and her partner, José Luis Villaseñor, have worked to organize and empower communities in South Minneapolis for the past 15 years. They and their three sons – Arameni, Itzuri, and Yaxkin – live in and are active in the East Phillips Neighborhood. The new 9th Ward, created through the 2011 redistricting process, includes the neighborhoods of Central, Powderhorn Park, Midtown Phillips, East Phillips, Corcoran, northern most part of Bancroft, and the Hiawatha light rail line in Longfellow.