Rolling Out

Will Anika Bowie become the new face for St. Paul’s Ward 1?

Anika Bowie
Photo credit: Awa Mally

Anika Bowie is young, vibrant, educated and active civil rights and community leader who is ready to shake up the neighborhood where she was raised. She currently holds many titles in Minnesota, which positions her for bringing change to St. Paul Ward 1. She is the vice president of the Minneapolis NAACP, commissioner for the St. Paul Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, coalition leader of Restore the Vote Minnesota and Intergovernmental Affairs consultant.

Rolling out recently spoke with Bowie, who reflected on why she wants to run for city council.

Please describe why you decided to run for city council?
Ultimately, the people are tired of their tax dollars not serving them and want to see a leader who can restore trust in government and grant access to more opportunities for a safe city we all can call home.

What is your platform or vision?
My vision is for all residents to have the ability to RACE to a world where we all can thrive. RACE is an acronym of restore, access, community, and equity. We need to restore the seed of trust and transparency between residents and our public safety department. I see us rethinking and redefining our current criminal justice system. We need to ensure access to affordable housing, jobs with livable wages, and a quality public education. We need to make it clear that equity means aligning our budget with our values and addressing the need to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion in the city of St. Paul.

Can you describe your leadership style?
I call myself a servant leader, because I get the most joy listening to and working with the people of St. Paul. When I was a servant leader intern for the Children’s Defense Fund-Freedom Schools, I learned the importance of service and how our future is dependent on who is in leadership. I see my leadership style as innovative, holistic, and deeply rooted in community.

What past challenge has most shaped your current thinking?
In the beginning of May, I received the news of another homicide in the city of St. Paul and found out that [one of] my previous high school student[s] lost his life to gun violence. Today, law enforcement is faced with the challenge of how to enforce public safety while building bridges of trust in our toughest communities. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of gun violence, but that is not enough.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration when I look in the eyes of our young people who dream of a world where there is peace, hope and possibility. I find inspiration in the arts and how people express their humanity. I find inspiration in leaders who believe in my leadership: Attorney General Keith Ellison, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, City Council member Andrea Jenkins, state Rep. Ruth Richardson, and many more who have paved the way for young progressive African American elected officials. I find inspiration in women who stand up and stop playing by the rules that men continue to break. I find inspiration in breaking down barriers for the next generation!

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