All That’s Black: Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins, activist and city councilwoman:

“My whole life I’ve been fighting, trying to improve the conditions for Black people. That’s what I will continue to do, even if they never stand up for me.”

Born in 1961 in North Lawndale, Chicago, Andrea Jenkins was raised by a single mother in a low-income, working-class community.

Andrea came out as gay in her 20s and married a woman; they had a child then divorced, and Jenkins went to work with the Hennepin County government.

At 30, she began to outwardly present as female and returned to college to finish her bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University, which she followed with two master’s degrees–an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University and an MS in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. In 2015, after 12 years as a policy aide with the Minneapolis City Council, Jenkins began work at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies where she curates the Transgender Oral History Project (TOHP).

Lisa Vecoli, the curator of the Tretter Collection, noted that the materials within the collection tend to be gay white male-focused. In her role as curator of the TOHP, Jenkins will seek to expand the trans narratives archived in the collection by recording oral histories from up to 300 individuals, totalling as many as 400 hours of interviews.

In December of 2016, Andrea announced that she would run to represent Minneapolis’s 8th Ward on the City Council under the campaign slogan “Leadership. Access. Equity.” On November 7, 2017, Jenkins won the election with more than 70% of the vote.

By Aprille’ Morris & Emily Burke

Edited By Keshav Kant

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