Fair Housing

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Black Minnesotans lobby at the State Capitol

Can the new ‘Black agenda’ move the community forward? 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


There was nothing new revealed last week during the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Lobby Day at the State Capitol presenting their Black agenda to this year’s Minnesota Legislature. Billed as “Black Minnesotans Helping Move Minnesota Forward,” around 50 people listened on March 19 at the Capitol Rotunda to over 20 scheduled speakers before many of them visited legislators’ offices. “The last two years there was a collective group that sat on this African American lobby day, and this place was filled,” noted Rev. Jerry McAfee, who added that the COBM “didn’t reach out to anybody else. If this is about Black Minnesotans, why are you leaving Black folk out?”

Although McAfee didn’t blame the council’s new executive director, Edward McDonald, for the seemingly solo effort in planning last week’s event, the longtime pastor nonetheless added, “Some of the people around him on the council knew about it, and they should’ve said, ‘We will be stronger if we put everybody in together.’”

McDonald was hired and assumed the COBM executive duties last October. “Whether we like them [organizations that represent Blacks] or don’t like them, every African American group should have been a part of this, and there should have been meetings prior to this so that there could [be] one agenda. Continue Reading →

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Council on Black Minnesotans has new director, new agenda, new vision to get beyond tolerance






By Vickie Evans-Nash



In October 2012, Edward McDonald was appointed director of the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM). The process began when he was approached by friends and colleagues who thought he would serve well in the role. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and completing his undergrad studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1980, he received a post-graduate degree as a legal assistant and completed his graduate studies at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. He returned to the Twin Cities in the early ’90s, working as public policy manager for Family and Children’s Service. Now married for 32 years with two adult children, he has lived in Oakdale, Minnesota since 1994 but says he is not disconnected from areas with a larger population of people of African descent. Continue Reading →

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Met Council’s commits to fairness for all

Diversity director Kirkpatrick ‘really proud’ of accomplishments

By Dwight Hobbes 

Contributing Writer



The Metropolitan Council has been responsible to serve, in the region, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Washington, Carver, Scott and Dakota counties. The 17-member municipal entity, with main offices located in St. Paul, is charged to provide essential service critical to the public good, working with local communities to, among other duties, operate the region’s largest transportation system, collect and treat wastewater and provide affordable housing opportunities for citizens of low and moderate income. Accordingly, it is no small matter that such a body includes an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, accountable to ensure, as the Council’s Pledge of Nondiscrimination states, “access to all our programs, services and benefits without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or socioeconomic status.”

Heading up that department over the past five years is Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Director Wanda Kirkpatrick. “When I took this job,” she states, “the Metropolitan Council [was] well on our way to having diversity, inclusion, affirmative action, [and] equality opportunity be a part of everything we did. Continue Reading →

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