My name is Abdirizak Bihi. If you've ever been around Cedar-Riverside, you might already know me. If you don’t, here’s a start. Like so many residents of Ward 6, I was born in Somalia, but fled before the civil war. When I got to the US, I was in my early 20s, and barely had anything, and Washington DC was daunting, but I found so much in this country that I liked.
More importantly, there was the seed of a community there that let me flourish. At a time when my life was about nothing but survival, I had a neighbor who helped me. She gave up her time to drive me to look for work, and she helped me fill out applications. When I look back, I don't know where I would be without her. How could I not do my best to repay that a thousand times over?
I came to Minneapolis in 1996 looking for a home, and I found one. Since coming here I’ve felt called to whatever public service I could provide, whether that was serving as translator for Hennepin County Medical Center, or founding organizations like the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center or the Hennepin County Multicultural Project. I know as much as anyone that there are all sorts of barriers for people who want to access help, whether that be cultural differences, or stigmas, or inequality.
We may have our differences, but having seen many people’s problems first hand, I also know this: we all want the same things. I know what real equity can look like, and I know it’s hard, and takes work, and sacrifice. I have learned to work around and through these barriers, and it's not easy sometimes, but it is possible. I think a lot is possible if people want it badly enough, and I think we all do. I moved here wanting to help, and I have sacrificed and done my best, and now I want to do more: I want to be your next City Council person.