Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


A.J. Awed announces candidacy for Minneapolis mayor

Awed, co-director of the Cedar-Riverside Community Council, said he would be able to better represent communities of color for issues like policing and housing.
Image by Shannon Doyle
Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate AJ Awed poses in front of Minneapolis City Hall on Sunday, April 18.

Cedar-Riverside leader A.J. Awed announced his bid to run for Minneapolis mayor earlier this month.

Awed will run on a platform of housing for all and increasing alternate strategies for public safety. He said he is running in response to how Mayor Jacob Frey “failed the city.”

The mayoral election comes on the heels of the police killing of George Floyd and the ensuing fallout, which has included widespread unrest and a citywide reckoning of policing and racial justice.

Awed said his campaign is centered around “the bridge that I can build between communities and being able to bring marginalized communities into the fold.”

Awed — who is running as a Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidate — said his platform aligns with community members’ values, in contrast to the current leadership who he said “doesn’t listen enough” to Minneapolis residents.

When it comes to public safety, Awed said he wants to work for restorative justice and developing alternative responses to petty crimes. He added that he did not want to get rid of the police department altogether, rather some responsibilities such as traffic enforcement should be handled by other crime response departments. The City Council voted Friday to start the process toward finding an alternative to police responding to traffic stops.

“I’m in favor of a model where police isn’t the first answer, but it’s the final resort,” Awed said. “I’m a firm believer that the community should ultimately drive this issue, so I’m willing to listen to what shape that takes.”

Frey originally ran for mayor in 2017 on a platform of affordable housing and improving police relationships with the community. Frey’s reelection website lists that he supports “a both-and approach” to policing: Find alternatives to traditional policing while working with the Minneapolis Police Department to improve.

Rent control is another of Awed’s key issues, and he said he supports a proposed rent control policy that would limit on how much landlords can increase rent within a year if voters approve the initiative.

Frey opposes a rent control policy, saying this will not solve the housing crisis and that it will open the floodgates for poorly written policies, the Star Tribune reported.

In 2020, Awed ran for the Ward 6 City Council seat but lost to Jamal Osman. Osman received 2,795 votes, besting Awed by about 500 votes.

“This time, we are really going to be stringent on the message of stronger together,” said Ayan Mohamed, volunteer coordinator for Awed’s campaign and University of Minnesota pharmacy student. Mohamed worked on Awed’s Ward 6 campaign last year and said she is involved because she likes Awed’s focus on community and his platform of housing for all.

Awed’s young family consists of his wife and two toddlers. He is currently the co-executive director of Cedar-Riverside Community Council, where he recently worked to increase vaccination accessibility at the Brian Coyle Center.

Abdi Abdulle, an East African community leader from the Longfellow neighborhood, said he is part of an informal group of community leaders who plan to advise Awed throughout his campaign, making sure he is connected to what the community wants for Minneapolis.

Abdulle said the group is “just making sure there’s representation in the city, someone who understands the issues that immigrants, the people from low-income neighborhoods are going through because this is where the killing [of George Floyd] happened. And this is where most of the problems happened.”

View Comments (6)
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (6)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Veronica
    Mar 28, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Sorry, I forgot here in MN their “journalists” can’t take pertinent notes. That should have been in the article . . . who edits these things.

  • Albeene
    Oct 28, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Congratulations AJ Awad, you are an example of others who never dared to run for that kind of seat for 200 years because of their coward and prejudice. USA is all about who has good idea, honest, fair, and far from corruption. Those four main basic steps can take a candidate to an achievements of his dignity and society, so Awad has those four so let us not hesitate to elect him.

  • Veronica
    May 1, 2021 at 11:47 am

    If you will notice . . .my response was in the form of a question. USUALLY one’s education is a credential. None have been reported for this candidate and another one as well. I think that it is unlikely that it is sloppy reporting that no education was included in the article.

  • praiseinterracialmarriages
    Apr 23, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Mayor Frey is an attorney with a knowledge of how to argue in favor and against proposals for law. He has served as a class-action attorney, and has years of experience bringing in businesses and job opportunities to Minneapolis. An attack on his character shows weakness in the argument of Awed, who was was nonresponsive to emails I sent to him, citing my interest in assisting with the council which Awed “led.” I had previously been involved as a board member on the the West Bank Community Council, as an appointed member, as other members failed to show up during meeting dates. I was serious about engaging in conversations about our community, and despite not being voted in by a community which largely voted in people because they were from East Africa and Muslim (who I support, and have taken time to read the Quran twice and speak to our local imam and his executive director in a brotherly manner, despite not being Muslim).

    I don’t have faith in AJ Awed, and I am concerned that his leadership will be exclusionary. Jacob Frey, as Mayor, has been inclusive and responds to most emails if they are pertinent to the business of creating a better Minneapolis. My interest in an activist to run for a position goes only so far if they do not promote ideas over statements of their past leadership experiences. Those of us from families with significant experience in leadership, and who, ourselves, have been community leaders, don’t put much stock into activists who are big on self-promotion and lean on ideas. While racial inequality and housing are important, there are also more issues with which to contend in leading a city.

    If AJ Awed can account for his failure to respond to letters of interest from me, with no knowledge of his leadership strengths or weaknesses other than he had a title (which is, in my experience, no indication of professionalism or wisdom), I might take him seriously. However, I have known Jacob Frey for over a decade, and I have seen him respond in a serious manner to social issues, as well as to organizational and business issues. He has been trained to work in the civic arena through both his work in law school, his advocacy as an attorney, his time as a member of Minneapolis City Council, and in the variety of ways he has served Minneapolis to our betterment.

    Stating, without examples, that he has “failed Minneapolis,” is a coward’s way to self-promote. I would like to see more credible background notes on this candidate before I take him seriously. At this time, he doesn’t at all rate, and Jacob Frey has been friendly to Muslims, Blacks, the LGBTQ+ community, to businesses, and in an effort to change the police culture in Minneapolis. He has NOT failed Minneapolis as I see him, and as a delegate to the Minneapolis DFL convention, I will vote for him as my candidate to return to the business of executive leadership as Mayor of Minneapolis.

  • loveisgreatest
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Curious. Why do you assume that?

  • Veronica
    Apr 20, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Don’t tell me . . . no educational credentials????