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$28 million dollars in north Minneapolis is a lot of money. We (Black community) must ask, what is the Council on Black Minnesotans position on use of the $28 million; multi-partnered program? Again, silence in representation creates major complications. Of course we (house Negros) already know: the COBM didn’t even see it coming.
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis
Saint Paul, MN (IBNN/Editorial Opinion/December 28, 2011)…Sunset or not, Governor Mark Dayton’s crew of Black representatives for Black Minnesotans needs an overhaul. The COBM is on the verge of becoming nothing more than a “social Kabul, ” ala the African American Leadership Forum, meaning we can talk a good game, but results are little to none as it pertains to Black success.
In 2010 when the Republicans took-over Minnesota’s legislature, members of the Council on Black Minnesotans cut all ties with the newly elected Republican and Tea Party officials in favor of looking to President Obama has their lord and savior. Little did they know, by excommunicating the elected Republican officials, they were excommunicating Black Minnesotans from a process of life, liberty and justice.
Somewhere in the back hallways of Minnesota politics lurked a process to sunset a council who for over 20 years has been barely functional which we (Blacks) can blame this time on, “the innocents of not knowing and the pride not to ask someone.” Is divine ignorance really bliss?
IBNN NEWS has covered and uncovered actions of the Council on Black Minnesotans including a shouting match with former board chairman Martha Holton-Dimick, Lissa Jones and Rosella Collins-Puoch – to a lackluster RFP process for awarding grants to support Black Minnesotans in non-profit ventures that benefit the whole community. While it would be “racist” to sunset the COBM, it would be “atrocious” to let the council continue at its current capacity.
Just for a minute, I’ll take off my criticism hat and put on my business/process hat.
The Council on Black Minnesotans lacks vision and a plan. The group needs board training among other things, the office of the COBM needs an overhaul too. I attest, if this group is not helping one Black Minnesotan; then none of us will get help – or in this case a hand up.
Currently, the COBM’s has a challenge in front of them. They don’t understand campaigns, funding, events or public relations. At a meeting in November 2011, on of the board members said, “By us deciding whom to give this grant to, the community will see that we are actually doing something.” This was in reference to Legacy Fund and the upcoming grant cycle. One challenge could be the “overseers” of the Legacy Fund. The Minnesota Humanities Center has stepped into the picture to “control” spending by the COBM. This group allegedly gets paid for the administration of the Legacy Funding, for the Council on Black Minnesotans. Here we have another issue…where is the contract between the COBM and the Minnesota Humanities Center for oversight of the funding on behalf of the COBM?
Let’s remember the mission of the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) is to ensure that the needs of all Minnesotans of African descent are clear to the policy makers who impact their well-being by providing equal protection of the law and guaranteeing that this community receives and has access to state services and programs.
Does this mean that a Black organization can’t be trusted to idea, create, design and implement public policy for the Legacy Funding?
America was built on the backs of Black men and women. This process is a convoluted slave-master mentality that has sent the COBM back to the days of White-Only drinking fountains and restaurants.
This is what should have happened:
The Council on Black Minnesotans should have partnered with the Minneapolis Urban League, soon to be the Greater Twin Cities Urban League to at least have a Black base of operation to search out new and innovative ideas to build capacity in the areas of education, employment, work-study and economic development. This would have benefited the MUL’s president Scott Gray, who is new to the block and fading fast. The Legacy Fund could have paid the MUL the rumored $80,000 to administer process; reporting successes in “make-sense” grant giving to those with a plan.
This would create key funding for the MUL, while a possible partnership with grantees and the MUL could benefit community members while reporting successful engagements between, the Legacy Fund, COBM and the MUL. Somehow in the mix, Blacks and Black agencies weren’t considered.
I will watch from a far as the decisions are made. I’ve given up sending emails to Governor Dayton’s office simply because nobody answers; nobody cares and definitely nobody understands business and how process works in the Black community of Minnesota.