New politicians, renewed responsibility for constituents to hold them accountable

 

In the 2017 election, the Minneapolis government experienced the largest shakeup in local government in recent history. Along with new mayor, Jacob Frey, the city council received five new members as well. With a new progressive majority on the City Council, local advocates are looking forward to the next four years but also realize they can’t be complacent in holding candidates accountable. Alex Boutrous, president of the Minnesota Young DFL (MYDFL) is feeling positive about the potential for change. “We have this very young and progressive council who is really committed to doing this work and really moving our city forward in creative ways,” said Boutrous. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 2/8: Candidate hopes to change historically white Hennepin County board

LaDonna Redmond, a Twin Cities food justice advocate, is vying to be the first person of color to serve on Hennepin County’s commission. According to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Redmond, running for District Three, wants to empower historically disenfranchised people. “The County is really an unknown governmental layer. It is a very powerful layer. [It] distributes $2 [billion] a year in funding across the system. Continue Reading

equity agenda

New support bolsters racial disparities bills, but opposition looms

K.B. Brown is a father of two, engaged to be married, a lifelong Minneapolitan and co-owner of a small business in Northeast called Wolf Pack Promotionals. He dreams of being the largest promotional printer in the state and of starting a youth internship program in the Twin Cities. Along with everything else, he advocates for small business owners.

“My vision for this business is to be the No. 1 printer for the nonprofits and small businesses in the state. I’ll start with the state. The country? I’d be okay with that. But I’ll start with the state. Let’s affect my community first. I believe change is beautiful, I believe change can happen and will happen, but I believe it starts with my community first, everyone else second,” Brown said.

He, and thousands of people like him, are hoping the Minnesota Legislature takes real action this year on Minnesota’s startling racial and economic disparities. At the same time, community groups are working to develop policies, frameworks and priorities that center racial justice as their core objective for the legislature to address. Continue Reading

Three Minnesota bills addressing racial disparities you need to follow

The recession might be over, but not for Black Minnesotans. In 2014, the incomes of Black Minnesotans were the lowest they had been since 2008. With the average salary for Black Minnesotans at $27,000 per year, the rate is nothing compared to Minnesota’s average income for all residents at nearly $68,000 annually, said the Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower who recently presented at the Legislative Working Group on Economic Disparities.

And according to a memo by Sen. Bobby Joe Champion at that same working group, about 9 percent of Black students and almost 11 percent of Latino students dropped out of Minnesota high schools last year. Further, almost 24,000 Black adults in Minnesota have not earned a high school diploma or equivalence.

Even though these statistics have persisted in some form for years, they finally have the attention of the Minnesota Legislature. In an effort to decrease these and others of Minnesota’s startling racial and economic disparities, the state legislature has introduced several proposals that they hope might be a first step towards equity for all Minnesotans. Continue Reading

House 60B candidate Ilhan Omar challenges notions of what politicians can be

It is the morning after her campaign launch when Ilhan Omar, candidate for state representative in Minneapolis’ House District 60B, and I sit down. Omar is still visibly glowing from the success of the Nov. 11 launch at Mixed Blood Theater.

“My sister said it felt like a victory party, not a kick off party. Because we’re used to the 20-40 people in a room for a kickoff. I guess that’s what I also expected, but to be in a room with over 250 people felt almost surreal,” Omar said. Continue Reading