Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Longtime union member
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017
By Steve Share, editor, Minneapolis Labor Review
MINNEAPOLIS — “Our parks are the backyards of our neighborhoods,” says Londel French.
Union member Londel French is running for an At Large seat on the Minneapolis Park Board with the endorsement of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
He also has been endorsed by the Minneapolis DFL Party.
French has worked for the Minneapolis park system over the years but for the past 18 years he has worked in special education for the Minneapolis Public Schools, previously at South High School and currently at Harrison Education Center.
Most of the kids he works with have emotional behavior disorders, he says, but “I just think they need a lot of love.’
French is a member of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals Local 59 and a former longtime union steward.
‘Our parks are the backyards of our neighborhoods’
French currently is also working part-time for MFT Local 59 as an organizer for the ESP branch.
French moved to Minneapolis 19 years ago from Milwaukee, coming to attend Brown Institute and build a new life. “Minneapolis saved my life,” he says.
A park director saw the way French was working with kids at Green Central School and offered him a job. That led to years working on and off for the parks, staffing the desk at neighborhood rec centers — and being that adult who kids could approach to talk.
“I’ve always been interested in politics,” French notes. “I’ve always been in tune with what’s going on in the world.”
Now, in running for Park Board, French offers nearly 20 years of experience working with Minneapolis youth in the park system and the school system.
“We’ve got to have people who look like me in jobs of power,” French says.
“It’s time to start putting actual union members in office. It’s time for us to start leading,” he says.
“I am a union member and that’s what I will take to this job,” French says.