April Graves Making History in Brooklyn Center
April Graves is serving a second-term on the Brooklyn Center City Council. When she was first elected in 2014, she became the first person of color to serve on the council in the city.
“It really felt like it was meant to be because I didn’t run a super intense campaign,” said Graves.
Graves grew up in the historic St. Paul Rondo neighborhood, which was predominantly African-American. Her interests in politics and social issues started at a very young age. At 10 years old, she wrote a poem called “The Battle.” The verses focus on different periods in history when there has been a struggle.
Graves says there has not been any huge clashes on the council and says her overall experience has been positive. She says being the first is sometimes a heavy weight to carry.
“Honestly, I was a little more worried that the black community wouldn’t feel like I was doing enough,” said Graves. “Because I know there’s a lot that needs to be done.”
Being inclusive is a top priority for Graves. According to the state demographer’s office, Brooklyn Center is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse communities in Minnesota with 57 percent people of color.
“Different council members from different walks of life can then bring their experiences back to their community,” explained Graves.
She would also like to see more minority-owned businesses in the city.
“Small business incubators and storefronts that are really accessible for people of color and lower income people to get there,” she said.