One could say that I am biased about my opinion of Ishmael Israel because I am his wife, but the truth is that I am only his wife BECAUSE of my opinion of Ishmael. Ishmael and I married at the Theodore Wirth Park Chalet this past September. We wanted to keep our memories and our money in the local park board and city of Minneapolis. As a result, many well known attendees will also be using the Minneapolis Park Board venues for their memorable events. In addition to information that can be found at www.ishmaelisrael.com, I’d like to state why I believe the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board would be lucky to have Ishmael serve as commissioner.
Ishmael is honest, hard working, and a man of high integrity. He holds a high morale. He is incredibly passionate about his community and for over a decade has selflessly volunteered in a number of capacities. Ishmael is currently the Executive Director for the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council, but had previously been a volunteer board member for over a decade. He is also the chair of the Neighborhood Community Engagement Commission. Ishmael has volunteered his time in many community efforts, such as serving as a liaison between the tornado response team, NCRT, and the collaboration of Northside Neighborhoods Council (NNC), an organization that was formed to ensure resident inclusion in recovery and community redevelopment planning. He is a member of the Northside Transportation Network (NTN) and is fully engaged in transit in the community. Two weeks ago, we attended a conference in Seattle ‘Railvolution' at our own expense. There was no financial, political, or organizational gain from his attendance. He did it solely to stay abreast of information relevant to how he can help better our communities through transit. He is also a nice ride ambassador.
Many of Ishmael's efforts are geared towards creating greener environments. He is big on recycling and holds each person accountable for their use and abuse of our limited resources. He is a board member on Minnesota Greenstar and helped assist in implementing the “One Sort” recycling the city of Minneapolis currently uses now. Ishmael has a soft spot for youth and as Park Board Commissioner hopes to include them and their agendas in decisions made regarding the recreational use of our parks. Ishmael is a mentor for North High School. Because of the journey that he has taken to get to this point of his life, he is able to help students stay on the right path or redirect them should he see them going astray. He is not only a mentor at North High, but also in our own home. I have been a single mother for 13 years, raising two young boys in the most urban area of our city. Ishmael’s influence, morale, support, and guidance have restructured our home and given my children someone to look up to.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, I can assure you that Ishmael will continue to build upon resident driven initiatives that work towards building a healthy, economically thriving and vibrant community which supports a sustainable family structure. Ishmael is a phenomenal man and the city of Minneapolis would be lucky to have him serve as Park and Recreation Board Commissioner at large.