Nelsie Yang was sworn in to the Saint Paul City Council in January 2020. She is the youngest and first Hmong American woman elected as councilmember in the history of Saint Paul. Nelsie is a daughter of Hmong refugees and the youngest of five children. She has a background in social work and social justice activism. Nelsie was inspired to get involved in political organizing to make change based on her lived experiences growing up in systemic poverty and racism. She is co-governing alongside people, labor unions, and organizations to build toward a society united across race, class, and gender, where working families live lives that are long, fulfilled, and joyful.
In an ideal world, no working family should have to experience the pain of not having enough. The reality we live in is far behind this ideal world. Many families today are living paycheck to paycheck; trapped in cycles of poverty. Rent has skyrocketed while our wages have not. Jobs are limited in the East Side, creating barriers for youth and millennials, especially when it comes to joining the workforce.
Nelsie is a dedicated fighter, a racial equity organizer, and a former union steward. Her work has always been dedicated to addressing these issues head-on, because this is how we build toward a society where we dismantle systems of oppression, bigotry, white supremacy, racism, and racial capitalism, which benefit from the labor of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and working class people. Nelsie worked in campaigns to raise the minimum wage to $15, to pass Earned Sick and Safe Time, to ensure renters have rights, to support small businesses, to ensure democratic rights are equitable toward people with criminal records and people of color, and to elect boldly progressive candidates into office. As a councilmember, Nelsie continues to champion these issues to ensure we live in a community where everyone is in and no one is out—no exceptions.