Town Hall: Court-Enforceable Police Reform Settlement Agreement

The released court-enforceable settlement agreement between the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) and the City of Minneapolis is the topic of a town hall forum on Tuesday, May 23, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.

The court-enforceable settlement agreement lays out a road map for achieving non-discriminatory policing and better support for community safety in Minneapolis. The agreement has a four-year term, after which it may be reviewed on an annual basis until compliance is met.

The in-person event on May 23, “Police Reform: What to Expect from the Court-Enforceable Settlement Agreement Between the City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR),” is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Speakers include MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, who will address MDHR’s perspective, and Justin Terrell from the Minnesota Justice Research Center (MNJRC), an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to driving meaningful change to Minnesota’s criminal legal system. The MNJRC conducted community meetings for the MDHR during 2022 seeking input on the types of reforms the community was seeking from the Minneapolis Police Department.

The evening’s moderator is Dr. Michael Lansing, a professor of history at Augsburg University. Lansing has done considerable research and writing on the topic of police reform. Since the murder of George Floyd three years ago, local media have frequently turned to Lansing for historical context about the Minneapolis Police Department, police leadership and police reform. He is currently writing a book titled “A Police State: Politics and Public Safety in Minneapolis, 1945-2020,” a book that explores the rise of and resistance to police power in Minneapolis. He and an academic colleague, Dr. Yohuru Williams from the University of St. Thomas, have initiated a racial justice project called “Overpoliced and Underprotected in MSP.”

Event hosts include Plymouth’s Re-Imagining Community Safety Committee, which is part of the church’s Racial Justice Initiative; the League of Women Voters Minneapolis; and the Minnesota Justice Research Center.

Racial Justice Sunday

Racial Justice Sunday

May 21, 2023

Plymouth Congregational Church will host its first-ever Racial Justice Sunday on Sunday, May 21.  The reasons we’re doing this are to call attention to and to advance our Racial Justice Initiative’s purpose statement, goals and spiritual principles. See below for RJI’s purpose statement, goals and spiritual principles.



Racial Justice Sunday will feature two worship services at 9 and 11 a.m. with a racial justice theme.  Rev. Jessica Chapman Lape – a womanist pastoral theologian, chaplain and doula rooted in faith, love and reproductive justice – will speak at both services. The Asiginaak Singers, a hand drum and singing group, will perform at both services.







The Forum speaker for Racial Justice Sunday will be Kenya McKnight-Ahad, founder and CEO of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA).  BWWA is a culturally specific institution that has been serving Black women-owned businesses, workers and students since 2014. McKnight-Ahad will talk about the power, responsibility and opportunity women have in healing generational traumas, closing the racial wealth gap, and helping to cultivate a more just and fair society for our collective future.



Small Group Discussion

A small group discussion for children, youth and adults will be held at 10 a.m. in the Howard Conn Gallery. Young people have grown up in a very different society as it pertains to race, and they have perspectives that can challenge and change us. Join co-facilitators Nina Jonson, director of Children and Youth Ministry, and Aiysha Mustapha, Advancement and Equity Specialist in Robbinsdale Public Schools, for an intergenerational conversation on race.  Don’t miss this chance to hear from, interact with and share conversation with the children and teens who are the future of our church and our country.






Sign Up to Receive Daily Actions designed to increase your awareness and increase racial justice and equity.

Please check out Plymouth’s website and join us for 21 Days of Justice. If you opt-in for this series of messages, you will receive actions for the day that are designed

to increase your awareness, move you out of your comfort zone, and leave you with actionable items to increase racial justice and equity in your life and work.






21 Days of Justice

In anticipation of Plymouth churches, racial justice Sunday on May 21st, and the third annual George Floyd memorial gathering on May 25th, our Plymouth community is engaging in 21 days of justice.

Sign up to receive a daily email beginning on May 1st, with an action for the day designed to increase your awareness, move you out of your comfort zone, and leave you with actionable items to increase racial justice and equity in your life and work.

Each email will include two activity options, one more specifically focused on children and youth and one for the general population.

Our 21 days of Justice Will culminate on racial justice Sunday, but the work will never be completed.

Commit today to join your fellow Plymouthites’ life-giving anti-racist work.

Gun Violence Prevention: How You Can Act Right Now

Published in, April 12, 2023

Original article here:

Gun violence will continue to wreak havoc on communities and families until we determine to make a substantive change in policy and cultural norms. There are things we can do right now to make our voices heard and mobilize for change. This list offers a start, including some immediate action needed in Minnesota to effect policy change.

  • Watch this April 11 press conference with Protect Minnesota and Attorney General Keith Ellison to learn more about the bills being considered and the urgency to the issue.
  • Contact your state Senators to express your support for these bills. Find their contact info here. Consider a letter-writing campaign in your congregation.
  • If you’re a pastor, consider signing this letter written by the Interfaith Alliance of Protect Minnesota directed to Senators about the hearings and related bills this week.
  • Reach out to Jared at Protect Minnesota to learn more about their Interfaith Alliance and be part of the ongoing movement in Minnesota to reduce gun violence.
  • Download the Congregational Toolkit from Protect Minnesota to help you have conversations about gun violence and take action for its prevention in your congregation and in your community.
  • Join the momentum toward a federal assaults weapons ban. The House of Representatives narrowly passed such a ban in 2022; it’s time for the Senate to do the same. Reach out to our Senators easily using this form from March for Our Lives, telling them to vote YES to an assault weapons ban.
  • Lift personal and congregational prayers: for grieving victims’ families and friends, for traumatized communities, for medical and law enforcement personnel and chaplains who respond, for a nation and a state to find the will and the means to meaningfully change gun safety policy and prevent gun violence in our time.

Civic Buzz Town Hall: MPD Chief Brian O’Hara to Speak at Plymouth on Police Reform and Community Safety

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara will be the guest speaker at a Town Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. The Town Hall is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis (LWVMpls), Plymouth’s Re-Imagining Community Safety Committee and Mill City Commons.


Plymouth’s lead minister Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis will welcome attendees. Ellen van Iwaarden, program director of the LWVMpls, will facilitate the discussion.


O’Hara is expected to talk about the complexities of police reform and his plans to increase public safety in the City of Minneapolis. O’Hara was named Minneapolis Police Department chief in November 2022 after previously serving as the deputy mayor of the City of Newark. Throughout his career, Chief Brian A. O’Hara has worked collaboratively with communities and other public safety divisions, including alternatives to policing strategies, to enact enduring change.

LMVMpls is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in all levels of government, works to increase understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Its Civic Buzz interactive town halls feature pressing local issues, focused discussion and knowledgeable speakers.

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. It has a long history of being committed to racial, economic, social and climate justice. Its Re-Imagining Community Safety committee was formed nearly three years ago after the death of George Floyd to actively promote the re-imagining of community safety in the City of Minneapolis, on the basis of faith values.


Beacon: Unpacking Race and Housing


Minnesota has some of the widest racial disparities in the nation– especially in housing. Part of the work toward racial equity must include understanding and acknowledging this reality. This 2 part workshop (plan to attend BOTH April 16 and April 30) provides a foundational framework for understanding and being able to take action on the disparities that exist between those stably housed and those who suffer from the historical legacy of racism in our country and state. To learn more and register, go here:

Climate and Environmental Justice Speaker Series

Monday, March 13, 6:00-7:00 pm via zoom
Solar Opportunities for Your Home

Are you interested in shifting to solar energy for your home? Considering adding solar panels to your roof or possibly subscribing to a solar garden instead? Join us to learn the basics of solar energy, get resources to determine if solar is right for your home and find out about financial incentives for installing solar. Join the Clean Energy revolution!

Speaker: Diana McKeown, Metro CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Teams) Director

Zoom meeting. Please register in advance

Campus Task Force, Did You Know?

Our neighbors include people who live in the neighborhood, institutions that run non–profits or businesses, and those individuals who move in and out – who bus, work or are homeless. We have been able to meet with many individuals and groups of neighbors who responded to our questions about how we can be better neighbors and strengthen our neighborhood together. We’ve also had dozens of more casual, on- the-street conversations. Generally, they seem to trust our good intentions. We on the Campus Task Force are eager to help Plymouth move beyond intentions. We’re talking about transformational change.

Plymouth’s long, rich tradition of helping our neighbors and neighborhood by providing direct services to people with various needs has begun to morph toward changing the conditions that underly their challenges. Compassion has and will always matter. But as we prepare to make recommendations to the Deacons in December, we believe it’s time to strengthen and transform our commitment to racial and economic equity. We believe we should create a new model for concrete changes that will enhance the well-being of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.

Fortunately, and not unsurprisingly, a growing number of more than 125 church and staff members inspired these themes above and added specific ways we might honor this path toward justice. But what do our neighbors say? In the most general of terms, they include the following:

  • Might Plymouth create a community center, a hub that offers a continuum of services that help neighbors build more independent lives? Job-related, medical screening, and support services for teens are just examples.
  • Could neighbors participate in programs Plymouth is already offering its members? Music and theatre programs, gallery exhibits, Helping Hand program on Wednesday nights are among those cited.
  • Might neighbors use various spaces – theatre, sanctuary, library gallery for their own performances and exhibits, chapel for memorial services for people who don’t have or can’t afford their own spaces, safe inside spaces to relax with others?
  • Might we host or co-host occasional social block parties, musical events at or outside Plymouth?
  • Will our members become actively involved in our neighborhood and participate in their organizational events?
  • Will Plymouth and its member advocate for public policies or recommendations that improve the neighborhood?
  • Above all, will we partner with them in deciding what programs, services and assets might made at Plymouth and in the surrounding neighborhood?

Stay tuned as we come back with more thoughts in two weeks. Do you have ideas you want us to consider as we develop our recommendations to the Deacons? Please contact Sonia Cairns, Thank you, members and staff, for your energy, creative ideas, and commitment to making the real and bold change on behalf of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.