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Why I’m Running – Tiffini Flynn Forslund

Why I’m Running – Tiffini Flynn Forslund

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A record number of women are running for office. Among them is Tiffini Flynn Forslund, who is running for Minnesota’s Ward 6 for City Council. In the second of UniteWomen.org’s new series entitled #WhyImRunning, Tiffini tells us about her background and why she decided to run for office.

 

Tiffini Flynn Forslund Logo

 

I have Awakened and Am Unapologetically Black 

So I am running for Minneapolis City Council

By Tiffani Flynn Forslund

I have grown from being a conscious but naive individual, to having an all-encompassing mission to make this world a better place. I’d like to tell you about it, so you can better understand why I am running for office and what I have to offer. My life experience is not what you usually see in politics and I am realizing that is exactly why candidates like me should step up to run. I was born as the result of the rape of my teenage, Irish-Catholic, White mother, a descendant of dairy farmers who settled in Janesville, Wisconsin, and to my Black father, a Mississippi sharecropper, who emigrated to South Beloit, Illinois. My father, now in a nursing home, was a career criminal, arrested on charges from theft to drug posession. My mom, who ended up with a Criminal Justice Degree, started out as a juvenile delinquent due to lack of social services, family support and school truancy. They married in Wisconsin before the Loving v. Virginia 1967 landmark Supreme Court case that resulted in allowing interracial marriage.  Their act of rebellion was the reason for the beginning of my rebellion against the machine.  I grew up with trauma as a constant occurrence, so my school life became my sanctuary.

I learned how to astutely assess my surroundings for my own security and safety and that of my brother. Unfortunately, at age 4, I was sexually abused by a White man, who said he’d harm my mother if I told on him. Without knowing what else to do, I hid it until six years later when my mother, prompted by reading an article about the signs of abuse, asked questions that brought a volcanic eruption of tears from me. When I was 7, I was put in foster care with an African-American family for six months, after my dad, without permission, tried to take us away from our mother, who was White. The twisting and turning from black to white was a constant theme in my upbringing.

It’s my belief there is room and need for women with these experiences to enter politics. These are facts of life that must be dealt with and no longer hidden in order to create a safer world for women and girls. I am a proponent of ACES and of being trauma informed and healthy. I have learned that sadly, many women and girls have such stories. I also learned that my looks afforded me some privilege.  I am very social and enjoy being at the center of power constructs. But it took life experience, education, reflection, connections and growth to learn how to gain respect for my intellect, versus batting my eyelashes and playing coy in order to better fit into society, and to appear pleasingly-submissive. This explains how I entered into a marriage that very much reads the same as an immigrant woman who feels no empowerment in her culture or country, and seeks to liberate herself here in America. The fight for my freedom, and that of my children, was the suffering of all suffering that catapulted me into unwanted therapy (that lasted over 8 years) yet provided amazing growth that served as solid foundation for my future.

I arrived in Seward, Minneapolis 4 years later, out of destitution and homelessness, and I am now very happy to call it my home.  I was very lucky to be part of a program that provided low-income housing to single parents attending school full-time.  The program also allotted a section-8 voucher. I had planned to return to Brooklyn Park because my children attended school there and that was the area I knew; however, once in Ward 6, I loved it and will never leave.  I feel that that the city offers education of humanity that you cannot get from a textbook.  I was very happy to be able to offer this education to my children, as they had only known living in the suburbs.

My children only knew me as focusing on them as my number one priority. But when they got older they would end up surprised by my accomplishments.  My oldest son, Tyler, is 22 and has beautiful 1-year-old twins; Kennedy and August. My middle daughter, Cady, is 20 and attends the University of Minnesota and has a great love of animals. My youngest daughter, Kelsy, is finishing up her last year in high school with PSEO and will attend Augsburg in the fall.

In reflection, I would have never been able to get the same education, work experience and skills, without struggling through co-parenting. I had 14 years of experience in stock brokerage and finance before I had children. When I tried to re-enter the field, AG Edwards gave me an interview after seeing the name “Flynn Forslund” on my resume and hearing a “white-sounding voice” over the telephone. When I came in for the scheduled interview, and they saw the color of my skin, the position was suddenly no longer available.  “Where there is a will there is a way,” has always been a motivating quote for me, so I relied on it then, and later in education I taught it to my students.  In fact, I have built a career in education and a foundation in politics and activism built on paving a new way, when there was none. I am not finished by any means.  As Angela Y. Davis said, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Professionally, I have 14 years of finance and stock brokerage experience, 10 years as an at-home mom, and 7 years in education. Currently, I am the State Director for UniteWomen.org MN, a member of ERAMN since its inception and participated in the Women’s March as well as International Women’s Day at the Capitol. Thanks to the Women’s March we had over 1000 women promoting the ERA bill at the Capitol. I attended the Planned Parenthood Rally at the Capitol and am Pro-Choice. I sit on the Boards of Gender Justice, Kids At Risk Action and Foster Alumni Minnesota. I have been a Roy Wilkins and Katie Williams Care Fellow, on the NAACP Education and Child Protection Committee, and Advanced Methods Academy. I am so actively involved because showing up is half of the execution.

Minneapolis is wonderful and I have found my purpose here within the social justice movement. I gave thanks to Nekima Levy-Pounds at her Press Conference a couple weeks ago for affording me that opportunity and I’ll remain forever grateful.

I am running for Minneapolis City Council Ward 6 because the future is now and having a community here, as a template for Minneapolis and America to follow, is my goal. As Langston Hughes said, America still needs to achieve freedom and rights for all: “America…the land that never has been yet.”

 

Tiffini’s Website

Tiffini’s Facebook

Tiffini’s Instagram

Women Winning’s Endorsement of Tiffini

 

If you are a woman running for office, and would like to be submit to #WhyImRunning, please send an email to Press@UniteWomen.org with your name, election, and contact information.

 


 

Tiffini Flynn FlorslundTiffini Flynn Forslund is an intersectional candidate who is running in Minneapolis Ward 6 for City Council. Tiffini refuses to be a statistic or a victim to the societal narrative. She is running for office to shift the paradigm and pass policy that ends institutional racism and ignites unlimited opportunities to Ward 6 in employment, housing, police brutality, 15Now, the environment and urban planning.


Comments (4)
  • May 30th, 2017 at 8:52 PM

    #ShePersisted! – Why is it important that women have a voice in politics? Because women’s specific rights and interests are not heard, much less protected, otherwise.

    Tiffini’s story exemplifies the struggle many women face. It also shows us that with determination, hard work, and the right mind-set – anything can be overcome. Thank you for sharing your story Tiffini – may it inspire others to follow your example.

    “Women in politics raise issues that others overlook, pass bills that others oppose, invest in projects others dismiss and seek to end abuses that others ignore. We know what is important in our own lives and as we should all know by now: Women’s Rights are HUMAN Rights – and affects us ALL.

    “Development without democracy is improbable. Democracy without women is impossible.” – Madeleine K. Albright.

    Enough is enough.

    • Anonymous

      May 31st, 2017 at 2:14 AM

      Thank you so much Dianne Wing!

  • May 30th, 2017 at 9:30 PM

    Bless you, Tiffani, and good luck! We need you!

  • May 31st, 2017 at 7:21 PM

    Awesome woman you are!! if I lived in Minneapolis you sure would have my vote! Best of luck and I so hope you get the position !!!!! I you want to use any of my art for campaign purposes please feel free!

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