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Meet Robin Wonsley Worlobah, the Ward 2 Democratic Socialist City Council member

Wonsley Worlobah won Ward 2 by a small margin and is now one of three Democratic Socialists on the Council.
Image by Parker Johnson
Robin Wonsley Worlobah poses for a portrait in Coffman Union on March 1, 2021.

After winning the Ward 2 election on Nov. 3, Robin Wonsley Worlobah sat down with the Minnesota Daily to discuss her preparations for office and the excitement of election day.

Wonsley Worlobah won the race by 19 more votes than challenger Yusra Arab. Incumbent Cam Gordon was eliminated in the second round of tabulation.

Previously, Wonsley Worlobah worked for several Twin Cities activist groups and advocated for the passage of the rent stabilization question. She will take office Jan. 3. Ward 2 spans seven neighborhoods, including Prospect Park and parts of Marcy-Holmes, Cedar-Riverside and Southeast Como.

What are you doing to prepare to take office?

“I think right now, the most immediate [action] is connecting with my new colleagues, other Council members and new Council members, the mayor … also looking to connect with key stakeholders, like specifically Cam Gordon.

One of our key community commitments was setting up a Ward office, and right now we’re spending a lot of time figuring out how we can do that. And that is something that we want to honor. We know that’s going to be a big piece of what it means to actually have Democratic Socialist politics.”

How do you plan on supporting students?

“As a mission, [getting] our community office set up is our first priority. Part of our commitment to that office is figuring out a way to fund it so that we can hire … two staff people that can actually help a Council member support the needs of their wards …

It’s very important that [students] have a direct seat at the table of how we start to shape policy. That means … making sure that we’re setting up regular meetings with student groups on campus. And also making sure the grassroots organizing [continues], like rent control and some of the issues happening around public safety or exploring how we can move forward with public safety.

By doing petitions and canvassing at the dorms … we’re getting direct input from students and also creating an avenue for them to be engaged and participate in the decision-making processes around these issues.”

When did you find out you had won and what was your first reaction?

“I was at brunch at a Spanish cafe over in south Minneapolis with my family. They were just about to leave and go back home to Chicago and other parts where they traveled from and one of my campaign members who have been tracking the election results hit me up right when we were finishing with, ‘Robin, I think we won.’ I was like, ‘Wait, what? What do you mean you think we won?’

I just completely lost it in this cafe, like legit it’s 10 in the morning on a Wednesday. We were shouting, everyone started clapping, some people didn’t know that was happening and they were singing happy birthday. So that was really beautiful …

And then I think around two o’clock, that’s when the city published [the official results], like we are the official winner … There were so many tears.”

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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  • CapnRusty
    Nov 11, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    How many of the voters in Ward 2 are non-students? Isn’t it a form of colonialism when students who come from places other than Ward 2 impose their cultural values on long-term, perhaps “indigenous,” residents of Ward 2?