The Independent Business News Network was established in July of 2008. The goal of IBNN is to provide a different view of the local, national and global news and events that happen in the Black communities around the world.
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The health clinic that serves the population across the street from Congressman Keith Ellison’s office in North Minneapolis: 91 percent of the people they see are 275 percent below the Federal Poverty Line (Hennepin County/NorthPoint). Rather than dip overseas, some elected officials must be concerned about their back yards. (photo: BET – Fair Use).
It’s hard to watch the United States once again step into its role as the world’s policeman, weighing our options as we start talking about an all-out war against ISIS in Iraq, without considering how fundamentally corrupt and hypocritical is this worldview when so many African Americans and other Americans are suffering from crooked economic and criminal justice systems.
Most everywhere you turn, people of color are dramatically and disproportionately harmed by some of America’s most longstanding institutions. Whether we’re taking about the American education system, the criminal justice system, the financial system or the employment system, in each of these institutions the prospects and success of African Americans has been severely hampered by American policies and practices designed to work against the Black community.
A reallocation of America’s priorities would substantially alleviate the suffering of African Americans and in the process make America a more secure, stable and morally defensible world force. If we were taking care of American citizens at home, perhaps we’d have more success when we traipse around the world trying to force these nations to follow our wishes—nations that plainly see American hypocrisy in full effect.
In fact, a story in the Washington Post that ran during the angry protests in Ferguson quoted various members of ISIS and other jihadists movements as saying they are using Ferguson as a recruitment tool to attract African Americans and to further propaganda against the U.S.
“In Islam there is no racism, and we think black people will wake up and follow the example of Malcolm X and others who understood that this way is the only way to justice,” Abu Mansour, who lives in Germany and is also a follower of the Islamic State, told the Post.
Though it’s probably foolhardy to use words like “logic” and “common sense” these days when talking about American foreign or domestic policy, a look at the numbers makes it even clearer why real leadership by U.S. policymakers, including President Obama, is in such short supply. The U.S. spent $737 billion on military defense in 2012. Mind you, this is at a time when our list of foreign enemies is much shorter than at any time in decades—the Islamic State notwithstanding.
While we lavish funds on the military, we have school systems right here in America—see Philadelphia—where funding has become so dire that children are being denied school basics like art, music and sports programs. As can be expected, these tragically underfunded districts tend to predominate in overwhelmingly African-American communities.
Just $11 billion could pay the salaries of more than 200,000 teachers annually, which would wipe away the chronic woes of districts like Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
And how about our crumbling infrastructure, which we seem unable to muster the political will to repair? The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that it would take $3.6 trillion to make our infrastructure safe by 2020—and in the process create an untold number of jobs that would go far toward lifting many African-American families into the middle class. But in order to move forward with such projects, we would need a political class in Washington that had the ability to put the country’s needs ahead of its own. We are so far from that right now, we might as be governed by a band of circus monkeys.
So instead of real efforts to fix a country that looks increasingly broken, and repair communities that are exploding from the frustrations of being a perpetual underclass, we get tableaus like Sen. John McCain, Republican from Arizona, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California, going on the Sunday morning talk shows this past weekend and basically calling President Obama a punk because he seems cautious about spending trillions more American dollars in going after ISIS—a conflict that most serious scholars of the Middle East say we have no chance of winning and that likely will just make things over there infinitely worse.
McCain said ISIS represented “maybe one of the biggest (threats) we’ve ever faced”—now apparently putting the jihadists on the level of Nazi Germany and Cold War Russia. I beg to differ, Senator. I think a bigger threat is having a huge proportion of the country denied equal and fair participation in the American economic system.
About Nick Chiles
Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 12 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.
At the Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC), we are developing a strategy to transform education founded on a simple premise: Underlying the achievement gapis a relationship gap.
An authentic person-to-person relationship is the foundation of learning, and it depends on real human engagement between teacher and student. In school, the stronger and more authentic the relationship, the greater the likelihood that a student will learn. A wealth of research supports this.
Relationships are possible and strengthened only when essential stories of the many people and cultures represented in the classroom, school and community are present. These stories – currently unrepresented — are called absent narratives.
Person-to-Person Problem Top-down reform and large-scale system-improvement efforts overlook or minimize the all-important relationship. This is a person-to-person problem. Thus, change brought about by technical or structural fixes – curriculum alterations, schedule modifications, high-stakes testing or the introduction of iPads – will be incomplete and have unsatisfactory results.
Since A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform was written in 1983, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to transform education. Results have been disappointing. Obviously, the challenges are complex; no single intervention will transform education.
Reorient School Culture Our strategy is founded on including and articulating the absent narrative and focused on relationships among people in the human school community and between members of the communities that engage, or would like to engage, with people in the school.
The absent narratives approach reorients school culture. It invites community members to examine how they engage with each other and, most critically, how teachers engage with students. All members of the school community are involved in the discovery and articulation of the missing narratives, which provides a new sense of agency and purpose.
1. Reclaim the absent narrative: When the story of a group of people is marginalized or completely left out of school curriculum, it is an absent narrative. This absence ignores some (or most) of the young people in today’s schools, especially youth of color. Use of a dominant narrative limits and even damages the teacher-child relationship.
2. Create the innocent classroom: This strategy calls on us to see anew the power and the essential nature of the teacher-to-child relationship. It asserts that every child is innocent — desiring and acting toward his or her own goodness. Too often, the innocence of children (especially that of children of color) is obscured by the burden of unexamined and unspoken beliefs.
3. Reconstruct curriculum: This strategy engages teachers in examining current curriculum with an absent narrative lens. The effects are powerful, and new content and teaching approaches develop as a result.
4. Build community narratives: Schools occupy a specific place in a community. Place matters, but it is often ignored. In this strategy, the community is invited to consider place and contribute their own narratives. Stories emerge as content that enlivens the school as a human community and engages young people and adults in new ways.
These elements combine to form a powerful and effective professional development and systems-change approach that is currently being used by 60 teachers in St. Paul and in an urban district outside Minnesota.
If I hear one more person claim the people of Ferguson are “just playing the race card,” I am going to scream. If one more person tells me to calm down because Ferguson “doesn’t affect me,” I am going to scream. The truth, of course, is that we’ve all been screaming for ten days… or for hundreds of years.
WHITE PEOPLE—THIS AFFECTS YOU. White people—I care because I, as an American citizen, CANNOT afford not to. White people—you cannot afford not to care either. Here are some reasons why white people need to educate themselves about, and get involved with, what is going on in Ferguson. Each of these points affects you—your community, your government, your media, your country, your life. Your continued silence on each of these issues implies your continued compliance with them.
The basics: an UNARMED TEENAGER was shot six times by a police officer. This is a problem no matter what color or nationality or sex or religion or sexual orientation or what-have-you the teenager was. This would also be a problem no matter the age of the person, but the fact the victim was eighteen and starting college within a week adds a particular type of horror to the situation.
Some people are saying we should care because “it could be you/your child.” This isn’t strictly true. White people don’t get gunned down for no reason in broad daylight by law enforcement. Black people, however, hear this kind of story about people who look like them all the time. FOUR UNARMED BLACK MEN (that we KNOW OF) HAVE BEEN KILLED BY POLICE OFFICERS IN THE LAST MONTH (Google Eric Garner, John Crawford III, and Ezell Ford; I’ll wait). Black people of all genders are murdered or assaulted by law enforcement figures by the HUNDREDS each year; they are treated far rougher and often sentenced far more harshly than white people who are suspected of committing the same crime.
The fact that you are basically immune to the type of terror many Black people face every day is exactly why you should care. Those voices may not be heard, while YOUR voice has the power to make a difference about it. That is what white privilege is. It is not your fault you were born with it; it is your fault if you aren’t using it for good.
White culture is one of distrusting anyone different than you. We were raised with it. Racism is not usually blatant or even intentional; it is in the way you put your hand over your wallet when a Black man passes you on the sidewalk, or the way you really mean “Black neighborhood” when you say “bad neighborhood,” or the way you never question that the Black guy is never innocent on TV crime shows. You have been brainwashed into being a jerk and perpetuating the system you (even unintentionally) benefit from. Many aspects of the current struggle in Ferguson are proof of this; your silence on it is more obvious proof still.
If this was a white unarmed teenager, and the offending officer was first protected by a staunch commitment to anonymity by the police department, and later revealed but not arrested, the ENTIRE NATION would look like Ferguson looks right now. Black people are not “playing the race card”—Black people are speaking out against a systematic centuries-old oppression of which law enforcement is an intrinsic part. Families that look like Mike Brown’s teach their children not to make sudden movements in front of a police officer as surely as families that look like mine teach their children not to merge without checking their blind spot.
Minneapolis, Minn. – A recent article republished on Twin Cities Daily Planet, but originally published in Insight News, (click here for the article)highlights the fact our North Minneapolis schools need 150 tutors for math and literacy. In case that number didn’t register, let me stomp my virtual foot and highlight it more. Our North Minneapolis schools need ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TUTORS to teach our children basic math and literacy…
…and how will we get them? How will we get these desperately needed tutors? Well, the article mentions the AmeriCorp program. Yes, the AmeriCorps program could potentially provide the tutors, if only young people would volunteer for those AmeriCorps positions. And so, apparently with a perfectly straight face, the Insight News article proceeds to outline what these precious and desperately needed AmeriCorps tutors would earn for their vital service, as follows: Tutors commit to a year of service, during which they undergo training and earn a living allowance of up to $526 biweekly and an education award of up to $5,645 to help pay for furthering their own education. Full-time tutors are also eligible to receive health insurance. OK, readers, lets get out our scratch paper calculators and figure out how much these tutors will be earning. First of all, $526 biweekly works out to $263 weekly. Let me once again stomp my virtual foot. TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY THREE DOLLARS A WEEK to tutor inner city children. Why is this called a “living allowance” instead of wages, I wonder? I suppose because if you call it “wages” somebody might actually say “But those are terrible wages. I could make more working a low end job doing almost anything else!” Yes. You could. Oh, but let’s examine that $5,645 tuition credit, shall we? Sounds like a lot of money, but keep in mind you must work a year to earn that credit. And there are (last time I checked) 52 weeks in a year. Let’s keep the math simple and round to 50. So 100 times 50 equals 5,000 which takes care of most of that money. OK, but then then throw in the leftover 2 weeks, which takes care of another $200 and leaves $445 left over. So, really, it’s about 100 bucks a week. Take that 100 bucks and add it to the $263 “living allowance” you would be raking in about $363 a week. Plus health insurance. Think of the remaining $445 as a Christmas bonus…which can only be used for tuition, not presents for your family. And keep in mind…you have to work your full year to get that tuition bonus. And it can ONLY be applied to tuition. As for health insurance, well, it’s not the precious and hard-to-obtain commodity it used to be. And I wonder if it’s free to the AmeriCorps employee or if the employee has to pay insurance premiums out of that skinny little “living allowance?” In summary, these wages and benefits offered to would-be tutors of inner-city children is an abysmal package and it’s no wonder there are 150 spaces. I’m guessing when the school year starts any red-hot second there will be about 149 spaces left. Or, in the alternative, local people who aren’t too qualified but desperately need jobs will be shoved into some of those spaces. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, though. Even if not good at “math and literacy tutoring,” per se, extra hands would be helpful in the classroom especially if possessing positive mothering and fathering skills. But who knows what will happen with the 150 spaces? Hopefully Insight News will follow up with additional information as the school year starts. How many tutoring positions got filled? What were the qualifications of those who filled them?Did each of the volunteers receive their free ball cap with AmeriCorps logo or were they paid in promises? Practically since the inception of AmeriCorps, this fine program has been limping along on far less money than it needs and deserves. Idealistic people join the AmeriCorps cause, and idealistic people get paid in the nebulous currency of good feelings and kind words…in addition to the insulting wages outlined above. It’s no wonder their term of service is a year. Because three months is about how long it takes a person to wise up but then realize they better play this bad hand and gut it out until the end of their year. Who pays the ultimate price? The children who need these tutors. And society, when these tutor-less children grow up lacking math and literacy skills. There are also hidden costs to society when idealistic people like these AmeriCorps volunteers realize they’ve been used, and tell themselves, “Never again will I work for so little and allow myself to be taken advantage of because of my starry eyed idealism.” We can do better. But will we? I think a start to “doing better” involves “doing the math” and pointing out in a public way THIS JUST DOESN’T ADD UP. I sincerely hope our new Minneapolis school board members, who will be elected in the next election, will be taking up this issue of grossly, embarrassingly underpaid AmeriCorps tutors.
St. Paul, MN September 2, 2014: Michelle MacDonald is preparing a complaint to file with Judges at the Office of Administrative Hearings against the Republican Party Executive committee, Keith Downey, Pat Anderson, attorney Patrick Burns, and others for alleged violations of various provisions Minnesota’s Fair Campaign Practice Statute, Minn. Stat. 211B, and will be contacting authorities about alleged violations for criminal statutes, including Coercion, 609.27. MacDonald, together with former Republican Endorsed Supreme Court Candidate Greg Wersal will hold a press conference on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 3:00PM in Rm.181 of the State Office Building located at 100 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd. St. Paul MN 55155 to discuss specific violations of the Fair Campaign Practices, Minn. Stat. 211B. Main entrance is at the front of the building. Public and disabled accessibility is on south side on John Ireland or in Lot F.
MacDonald will review cases of constitutional challenges, and free speech disposed of by the Minnesota Supreme Court, since her endorsement, with clients on hand. In one case, she was made to represent a client in a child custody trial in handcuffs, a wheelchair, with no shoes, no glasses, no paper, no pen, no files and no client, that client told her attorney was arrested, and the trial was over. This ordeal, and her overnight jail experience was caught on security video, withheld by the Dakota county attorney’s office.
Michelle MacDonald was endorsed by the Republican Party to run against Justice David Lillehaug, appointed by Governor Dayton. Michelle supports the people’s right to vote for Judges, as provided in the Minnesota Constitution, Article 6, section 7). Since that time, officials from the Republican Party of Minnesota have acted to negatively influence the campaign for justice of Michelle MacDonald. www.MacDonaldfor Justice.com. This includes blocking her from the GOP booth, and threatening messages and phone calls to MacDonald to refrain from being a candidate and repudiate the endorsement in the upcoming Midterm Election November 4, or her reputation and her business would be damaged if she did not repudiate the party’s endorsement by noon.
Do you know the average weekly pay of black men versus black women? What about the percentage of black people in white-collar positions? This Labor Day, take a look at the stats. (They don’t in the Twin Cities.)
Yeah, what happen to those in the Twin Cities. Not to much chatter these days.
Labor Day, widely considered to mark the unofficial last weekend of summer, is, of course, also an annual celebration of the contributions American workers make to society. What does the black part of that workforce look like? Here, according toBlackDemographics.com, the Department of Labor and other sources, are the numbers:
1. In total, black Americans make up about 12 percent of the workforce. That’s about 18,758,000 black Americans in a workforce of about 155 million people.
2. African Americans are overrepresented in the federal government, which was one of the first sectors to integrate. Just over 20 percent of the black workforce is employed by federal, state and local governments.
3. Sixty-four percent of black female workers are in white-collar positions. Fifty percent of black men hold similar positions.
4. When it comes to blue-collar jobs, 36 percent of black men are employed in that sector, compared with 8 percent of black women.
5. The unemployment rate for black teens remains higher than that of white teenagers. As of July 2014, the unemployment rate for black teenagers ages 16-19 was 34.9 percent, while the unemployment rate for white teens was 18.3 percent.
6. Nearly 30 percent of black workers are employed in education, health care or social assistance.
7. Although black Americans’ employment rate lags behind that of white workers at every educational level, the gaps are smaller for those with higher education. For example, the unemployment rate for African Americans with a college degree stands at 7.1 percent, compared with 3.9 percent for white Americans. Black Americans with only a high school diploma are experiencing a 15.5 percent unemployment rate, compared with 8.4 percent for white Americans with just a high school diploma.
8. The overall percentage of black Americans in the workforce, at 61.7 percent as of July 2014, is the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. This is not a new phenomenon: Black unemployment has been higher than that of white Americans and Latinos for 40 years.
9. The average weekly pay for black men is $653. For black women, it’s $595.
10. Black Americans make up just 2 percent of high-level executives in Fortune 500 companies.
Blacks in the Labor Force at a Glance:
African Americans made up 11.6 percent of the U.S. labor force — those employed or looking for work — in 2011.1 African Americans have comprised a gradually growing share of the U.S. labor force over time, rising from 10.9 percent in 1991. Overall, in 2011, 18 million Blacks were employed or looking for work, representing 61.4 percent of all African Americans, somewhat less than the 64.1 participation rate for all Americans.
In 2011, about half of Blacks aged 16 and older had a job, and 18.0 percent of those employed worked part-time.2 Blacks are the only racial or ethnic group for whom women represent a larger share of the employed than do men – more than half (53.8 percent) of employed Blacks in 2011 were women, compared to 46.0 percent among employed Whites. Nonetheless, employed black women still earn less than employed black men – black women earn roughly $0.91 to every dollar earned by black men. While the wage gap among Blacks is smaller than that for Whites, this is largely driven by the fact that African-American men face lower wages compared to men in other race groups in the economy. Black men employed full time earned on average $653 per week in 2011, 76.3 percent of the average salary earned by white men. By contrast, black women earn on average $595 per week or 84.6 percent of the average salary earned by white women.3While the gap between black and white men fell substantially during the 1990s due to increased occupational desegregation, in the last few years the gap in earnings remained stable throughout the recent recession and recovery period.4
More than a quarter of employed black workers aged 25 or older have earned a college degree, a share that exceeds that for Hispanics5 but continues to trail that for Whites. While black workers continue to trail Whites in educational attainment, the number of African Americans with a college degree has been growing faster. In the past decade, the number of black workers with a college degree has increased by over a quarter, compared to a fifth among White workers.
Black workers are more likely to be employed in the public sector than are either their white or Hispanic counterparts. In 2011, nearly 20 percent of employed Blacks worked for state, local, or federal government compared to 14.2 percent of Whites and 10.4 percent of Hispanics. Blacks are less likely than Hispanics and nearly as likely as Whites to work in the private sector, not including the self-employed.6 Few Blacks are self-employed — only 3.8 percent reported being self-employed in 2011 — making them almost half as likely to be self-employed as Whites (7.2 percent). Read more here.
I thought for a minute the people of Minneapolis had lost a friend, colleague and community activist. But down from the mountaintop, deep from under the sea, and from way up in the sky, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait…it’s the old Al Flowers!”
Minneapolis, Minn. – Full disclosure. That’s wait Al Flowers is talking about. After a group of “freelancers” met with governor Mark Dayton’s staff with ideas about how to “get the black community moving forward,” Flowers was not invited even though the group is using elements of Community Standards Initiatives (CSI) and another advocate for K-12 education Mr. Wesley Smith’s Drop Outs to Drop Ins. Both men have not been invited to the table, but in the case of Mr. Smith, he assist public, charter and private schools in registering over 300 students; the irony: he did not have one local state or federal grant; it came out of his humble pockets.
My question is why are these “freelancers” reinventing the wheel? Why don’t they call Mr. Flowers or Mr. Smith? Are their efforts going to help the whole community?
The video above was filmed at the 2008 groundbreaking ceremony for the building on Penn Avenue and West Broadway. Flowers publicly confronts former mayor R.T. Rybak about civil rights and Rybak’s obvious lack of commitment to community. Watch closely at the people around Flowers who want him to stop; this alone is telling in itself.
As the black community’s “freelancers” prepare for the fall offense promising community members “10,000 jobs” like in the winter of 2014 (which never happened), it seems like a good time to continue being critical of a flawed process in hopes for more “Old Al Flowers” to step out and be heard.
A local group of African American “freelancers,” including clergy, failed charter school headmaster, failed business entrepreneur and members of the DFL African American Caucus are currently meeting with Gov. Dayton with a budget in-hand to cure the ills of victims in the black community. At this point, it would be wise for Gov. Dayton to ask for the reports on Dairy Queen, Tires Plus, Burger King, The City, Inc. and just about every program this group has come in contact with has failed catastrophically –of course the money is gone.
The problem begins when the governor’s office does not realize the voice of the black community in Minnesota is broad – more so, broader than the group brought forward. This group of community freelancers is looking for the next paycheck and of course the work never gets done and never talked about after the fact.
The freelancers never held a town hall meeting; never once asked people outside their inept circle of money-grubbing bastards to critique or identify a better strategy. If this called “thinking without thinking,” Minnesota’s black community is in big trouble.
Before a dime of money is granted to any of these folks, a Request for Proposal must be issues along with “community presentation” for each respondent to present their proposal to the community. Only than will we have a transparent process of engagement.
Here’s how it will look:
Qualifications: This RFP is open to local businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual seeking to participate. In the calendar years 2012, 2013 your businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual net income cannot be over $100,000.00 per year stated. (This will assist in making the smaller and functioning nonprofits submit a proposal.)
1. Request for Proposals to address issues of youth violence, unemployment, education and teen pregnancy in north Minneapolis.
A) Respondents will have 60-days to complete a detailed work scope showing active partnerships within the African American community and those partnerships outside of the black community.
2. Request for Proposals will be submitted and each submission will be scheduled for a presentation (15-minutes) before the governor and members of the philanthropic community of the Twin Cities. (Only seven responses will be picked)
B) Each respondent will present why his/her program will be the best to engage the local community.
3. Request for Proposals will then be presented (10-minutes each) to community members in a Town Hall meeting format. A survey will be taken after all the presentations have been made
C) Each respondent would be able to lobby for his/her response.
4. Based on the community response, an organization can be picked.
D) Respondent must have a website that tracks every dollar and how the money is being spent. Also, every two weeks a press release must be issued for the duration of the grant taking about successes, challenges and works in progress.
Don’t get mad at us for telling the truth. You know that what we’re saying is right. This is the only way it can work.
The Your Black World team had a meeting and decided upon a few ways that we could tell that black America has lost it’s mind under President Obama. We don’t know which way is up or down, and it seems that good politics has been thrown out the window. So, here’s a list of ways that we know that black people have lost their minds over the last five years. No, the list is not meant to be funny:
1) If gay people, immigrants and women have an agenda, it’s considered good politics. When black people form an agenda, it’s considered to be an attack on the president.
2) When every black commentator on MSNBC and TheGrio always supports every policy put out by the Obama Administration. We expect that, pretty soon, they’ll all grow perms like Al Sharpton.
3) When anyone who questions the Obama Administration policies is called a hater, even if they voted for him.
4) When people just think that 14% black unemployment is business as usual, but 7% white unemployment is a crisis.
5) When Bush does something, it’s horrible, racist and criminal. But when Obama does the same thing, it’s considered good leadership
6) When people decided that “shut up and don’t bother the president” became a good political strategy
7) When a Republican says something racist, we go on the attack. When a Democrat says something racist, it’s all good.
8) When we give a politician 95% of the black vote and still think that we don’t have a right to ask for anything.
9) When black leaders and civil rights groups are more excited about fighting for gay marriage than they are for racial equality.
10) When a president can tell a group of black men at Morehouse that “nobody cares if you were discriminated against,” but then says that he does care when a woman says she was sexually assaulted or a gay man says that he was bullied.
Don’t get mad at us for telling the truth. You know that what we’re saying is right.
If the city of Minneapolis wanted equity for real, it would not take more than 30-days to put a plan together. Wanting to promote a “two-year effort to address racial equity” is nothing more than a symptom that tells us, you do not know what the hell you’re doing.
Mayor Hodges, Councilperson Glidden and civil rights director Korbel, just trying to reinvent the wheel. (Photo: online, Fair Use).
By Don Allen, Founder – Black Politics in Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minn. – I find it hard to believe Minneapolis city councilperson Elizabeth Glidden along side Minneapolis’ civil rights director Velma Korbel could hash a plan that could even look like city hall cared about equity. City council president Barb Johnson should be upset; the city of Minneapolis as far back as 2007 hasn’t a clue about defining equity, nor have they actively enforced ordnances already on the books to make sure all resident of the city are treated fair and equitable.
The city’s ongoing “Equitable Solutions for One Minneapolis,” which is a two-year effort to address long-standing concerns about racial equity in the city, is a cover up of a smokescreen that amounts to nothing more than a “paper news release” public relations campaign supported by news outlets like the Star Tribune and nonprofit news outlet MinnPost.
The desired outcome for the “Equitable Solutions for One Minneapolis,” is to provide staff that support a City board or commission a tool to enhance the composition of those bodies to be more reflective of the community they serve, and incorporate the principles of the Racial Equity Assessment in board and commission decision-making. Still, to this day the two-page document still does not make any sense.
The telling sign that Minneapolis’ civil rights director Velma Korbel has dropped the ball again; just like on the Minnesota Vikings project and the city of Minneapolis equity plan her department was to develop last June 2013. The city of Minneapolis has “many” construction projects happening, if the civil rights department actually wanted “equity,” they could start by enforcing contract compliance.
“The Waffler,” a nickname given to city councilperson Elizabeth Glidden by local political, civil rights and community activist comes from a 2009 encounter where then civil rights director Michael Jordan rejected several community people from a public meeting at city hall who had permission from Councilperson Glidden to attend. Glidden would not confront Jordan by walking these six people back to the meeting. She cowered in her office, apologizing. Some of us know, if she (Glidden) is involved, do not expect more than a public relations campaign on paper.
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