Lessons about friendship from two prominent Minnesotans

Keith Ellison and Resmaa Menakem in 1995
Friends Keith Ellison (left) and Resmaa Menakem in 1995.
Courtesy of Keith Ellison

In life, friends come and go. Some friendships begin in childhood. Others come to be after we’re adults. Rarely do they span decades or a lifetime.

Trauma expert and therapist Resmaa Menakem and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison have been close friends most of their lives. They met in their 20s, before their careers took off. They even hosted a community radio show together on KMOJ in Minneapolis for a decade. 

Two person pose for a portrait
Friends Keith Ellison (left) and Resmaa Menakem (right) pose for a portrait on Thursday in St. Paul.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Each is a successful Minnesotan in his own right and in tough times they have leaned on each other.

MPR News host Angela Davis kicks off a series called “Power Pairs.” It’s about people you might know separately, but when you get them together, you discover a different side of them.


  • Resmaa Menakem is a longtime therapist in Minnesota and a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in the healing of racialized trauma. He’s the author of his New York Times bestselling book, “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies.” Earlier this year he released “Monsters in Love: Why Your Partner Sometimes Drives You Crazy ― and What You Can Do About It.” Learn more about his work, including an effort to distribute free children’s books on racialized healing, at resmaa.com.

  • Keith Ellison has served as Minnesota’s attorney general since January 2019. He was the lead prosecutor in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and led the team that convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on a charge of second-degree unintentional murder. 

two men and a woman in a broadcast studio
MPR News host Angela Davis talks with therapist and author Resmaa Menakem and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in an MPR News studio in St. Paul on Thursday.
Maja Beckstrom

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.  

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