Council on Black Minnesotan’s

Recent Articles

Council on Black Minnesotans faces retaliation for reporting on inequities

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The State of Minnesota in 1980 created the Council on Black Minnesotans to ensure that people of African heritage fully and effectively participate in and equitably benefit from the political, social and economic resources, policies and procedures of the State of Minnesota. The council is a unique community-controlled entity that serves to negate underrepresentation in state government administrative operations and legislative deliberations until the underrepresentation is eradicated. Continue Reading →

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What is the future of the Council on Black Minnesotans?

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It is a poorly kept secret that racial disparities exist in Minnesota. In literally every measurable aspect, education, income, housing, employment, etc., people of color lag behind their white counterparts. This in spite of the efforts of many to make and keep Minnesota an all-inclusive place to live, that provides equal opportunities. Continue Reading →

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Fight for ‘health equities’ went to state capitol

By Brandi Phillips

Contributing Writer

 

Until recently, health equities has not been a subject in Minnesota that has received a lot of publicized attention. It represents the goal of groups working to address the health inequities that are well documented between communities of color and Whites in Minnesota. The Ad Hoc Roundtable is a group made up of subgroups that are interested in fighting against health inequities. Some of the participants in the Roundtable include members of the Council on Black Minnesotans, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP, MICAH, HIRE, Isuroon, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, and the Minnesota Tenants Union. Continue Reading →

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Dialogue now focused on how best to strengthen, not eliminate, state ethnic councils

No final decision expected until the 2014-15 legislative session
 
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

As previously reported in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the legislative audit of the Minnesota councils of color created quite a stir, containing criticisms of the councils as well as the governor’s office and the legislature for lack of oversight and guidance. The audit suggested four options for improving the operations and efficiency of the councils. One of the suggested options, placing the councils under the auspices of the State Department of Human Rights, seems to have attracted the most attention and the most support. Legislative Auditor James Nobles explained to us that the advantages of such a move would be that “You’re connected into the governor’s cabinet; the Commissioner of Human Rights is a member of the governor’s cabinet and formulates a policy and an agenda that the governor will get behind. And that’s pretty powerful… If you connect up with the governor and his agenda through the Commissioner of Human Rights, I think you’re going to get a little more power behind your message.”

Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Executive Director Ed McDonald disagreed, saying among many other things, “I think that what that would do for the councils is move it into partisan swings. Continue Reading →

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Moving from Tolerance to Allophilia:

Expand Human Rights Enforcement in Minnesota
 

By the Council on Black Minnesotans

Fifty years ago, on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson displayed courage and innovation by taking the unprecedented national step to attack the heart of America’s close friendship with discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin by enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Minnesotans such as Roy Wilkins, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Vice President Walter Mondale played a huge role with bringing about this historic day. In fact prior to the passage of the civil rights act, Minnesota passed the Minnesota State Act for Fair Employment Practices in 1955, which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, creed, religion, or national origin and in 1961 passed laws to prohibit discrimination in mortgage lending and in the sale, rental, or lease of real property. These acts banned discrimination and represented the beginning of the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of many in the costly and painstaking journey to build a society with equal access and opportunity for all. It also provided an external control mechanism to move America from absolute prejudice to tolerance. Continue Reading →

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McDonald: Folding the Council on Black Minnesotans into the State Human Rights Department is a bad idea

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

Last week, Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Executive Directory Edward McDonald responded to an audit release by the Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor’s (OLA) in March (See MSR April 17-23, “Director defends Council on Black Minnesotans: ‘We’re doing it’). Among the four recommendations the OAL offered to increase the effectiveness of the COBM was restructuring the council under the State Human Rights Department. This week, McDonald responds to this recommendation. “I think that what that [placing the councils under the Human Rights Department] would do for the council is move it into partisan swings. If there is a Republican governor, then the council more than likely will be supporting a Republican agenda. Continue Reading →

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Director defends Council on Black Minnesotans: ‘We’re doing it’

‘We’re growing our community. We’re determined.  We know we can do even more.’
 

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

In March, the Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor’s (OLA) released their audit of Minnesota’s four councils: the Councils on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Black Minnesotans, Chicano/Latino People, and Indian Affairs. Last week the MSR spoke in depth with Legislative Auditor James Noble about his report. “We laid out four options,” Nobles said, “but what we asked is, ‘What option is not just maintaining the status quo?’ Because we think that the voices of these communities need to be amplified and heard more.” The options:

 

1. Continue Reading →

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State auditor clarifies intent: Make ‘minority councils’ better, more effective

Legislature, governor’s office partly to blame for problems
 
Second  of a  three-part story

 

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

In last week’s issue of the MSR, we detailed the points made by the Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor’s (OLA) in their annual audit of the four “minority councils” in Minnesota (See MSR April 3-9, “Audit questions need for Council on Black Minnesotans”). The report released last month, which was critical of the councils’ effectiveness, also included criticism of the governor’s office and the legislature which the councils report to. In response, Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Executive Director Edward McDonald said the report “appears to be nothing more than a veiled attempt to stymie the Council on Black Minnesotans’ civic engagement and the promotion of strong human rights enforcement in Minnesota.” The MSR subsequently spoke with State Auditor James Nobles at length about the four options the report offered to restructure the councils, which are:

1. “Maintain the four councils, but clarify their primary purposes; require them to adopt strategic plans, develop policies and procedures, and work more substantively with state agencies; and encourage them to become more involved in the appointments process and better communicate with the public;

2. “Restructure the councils by placing them under the [State] Department of Human Rights and requiring them to adopt certain operational changes;

3. Continue Reading →

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