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Results of race equity resolution reviewed by committee, more change requested

Passed 82-40 in July 2020, a House resolution declared racism to be a public health crisis in the state.

Part of the document was to convene a select committee on the state’s response “to addressing racism as a public health crisis to ensure House legislative efforts are analyzed through an intersectional race equity lens.”

To meet that goal, a House Select Committee on Racial Justice issued a December 2020 report outlining a series of recommendations to address the challenges Black, Indigenous, and people of color face in Minnesota. 

The House Ways and Means Committee reviewed a progress report Monday, but took no action.

“The [2022-23] budget we assembled in the House of Representatives had an unprecedented focus on dismantling the long-standing disparity facing communities of color,” said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul), the committee chair. “We did not tackle every challenge, nor did we succeed in getting the Senate to join us in adopting each of our proposals but there was progress.”

Legislation passed last session including new grants and scholarships to expand the pipeline of BIPOC teachers, dedicated recovery funding to BIPOC businesses for COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest, funding to increase BIPOC representation in mental health workforce, and Legacy funding for cultural heritage grants to underrepresented communities.

“We have a opportunity and a obligation to spend our money diligently to have different outcomes,” Moran said. “As legislators of a 100 years of being a system that has tipped the scale for the white population is impacting who we are today and how we still see the world. We all have the opportunity now to do our research, to do better, be better and do some really good investing.”

Here are some wants advocates seek in the 2022 legislative session:

  • enact the Woman of Color and Opportunity Act;
  • fully fund schools with the highest education opportunity gap and lowest BIPOC graduation rates;
  • ensure enforcement of BIPOC contract and workforce participation goals for public projects;
  • offer a statewide rental assistance subsidy for households earning no more than 50% of the area median income;
  • establish a state-paid family medical leave program;
  • fund trauma-informed training to help families impacted by violence and hate crime; and
  • greater investment in recruitment and retention of BIPOC teachers and health care providers.

“Education’s true purpose of learning and preparation for future life is only successfully fostered when every child can feel happy and safe and can manage their emotional life,” said Gauri Sood, a senior at Rochester Mayo High School.

Justin Terrell is executive director of the Minnesota Justice Research Center.

“We should be pursuing innovative solutions to the public health problems, specifically around public safety to ensure our state becomes the standard for our country. … We’re seeing the same old tired political debates about tough on crime vs. soft on crime. We need to really be thinking about how to get smart on crime,” he said.

An October 2020 presentation from the ALANA Community Brain Trusta multiethnic network of individuals and organizations working to grow capital and build capacity in African Latino Asian and Native American communitiessuggests racial disparities cost an estimated loss of $287 billion in Minnesota. “This includes $22 billion loss in income because of the wage gap, $174 billion loss in lifetime earnings because of the achievement and skills gap, $24 billion loss in home-ownership, higher rent burdens and higher property taxes, and $67 billion loss in business revenue because of the capital gap.”


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