This is a guest post by activist, educator, and storyteller, Rose McGee. Rose became an integral leader in our efforts to prevent foreclosures during her long and ultimately successful struggle to keep her own home.
Although I've been inside the Minnesota State Capitol many times - even had the opportunity to speak at press conferences and rallies there in 2013 as I fought for my home after foreclosure and as we fought to get the Home Owners Bill of Rights passed, never had I ever really seen the place until JCA sponsored the "Power Tour" in February.
Adam Robinson, our VERY knowledgeable guide, introduced us to a whole 'nuther world in 90-minutes. I discovered that beyond those mega steps and through the tunnel into the State Building are collections of rooms hidden behind one tiny door.
For all of its magnificence, to us regular folks, the Capitol's facilities represent a huge palace of intimidating spaces. The many Committee Hearing Rooms are set up in a fashion that clearly say, "Hey You - the Citizen over there - don't come any closer than this point!" Then there's the issue of parking!!! Again..."Hey You - the Citizen for which this building serves - park where you can, but it won't be near here!"
What also struck me was the artwork. Although very lovely paintings and powerful statues donned the giant antique walls and marbled hallways, I saw a very past-the-due-date-white-bread-now-grown stale look. I did see one image with a Native American. Such visuals absent of inclusiveness and diversity imply- TIME FOR A SERIOUS UPGRADE that reflects all the people of Minnesota!
However, I saw my mayor, Shep Harris of Golden Valley! He took the time to speak with us, answered a few questions, and made the whole thing feel like "real" people work in the Capitol just as we are really "the people".
Overall, the Power Tour was very well worth my time. I highly recommend that it be done on a regular basis so more people can become aware of who to see and where to find them inside our State Capitol.