ISAIAH

Recent Articles

Metropolitan Council may fall short on opportunity for racial equity

 

The Met Council and the City of Minneapolis announced early last month that they have reached a deal on the Southwest Light Rail project. With continued promises by the Metropolitan Council to address persistent racial and economic disparities across our region, ISAIAH, a coalition of over 100 congregation, released the following statement:

“ISAIAH believes we must work together to create prosperity, health and wholeness for all people. Every public decision must reflect our highest values and aspirations. They ought to unite rather than divide our communities and they ought to foster prosperity for all rather than a few. “The $1.7 billion Southwest Light Rail investment has significant potential to further racial and economic equity in our region. Continue Reading →

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Redlining targets Black Minnesotans and neighborhoods

Wells Fargo leads pack according to U of M report on sub-prime lenders

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

A new University of Minnesota Law School study shows that Blacks and other communities of color and low-income residents in the Twin Cities still lack access to credit. It is an update of a 2009 study that found that Blacks and Latinos — even with “very high income[s] — were much more likely to get sub-prime loans than very low-income White applicants.”

“It’s hard to believe that systemically a Black family that is making $157,000 a year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a White family that earns 40 [thousand a year],” noted Myron Orfield, the director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, which is housed at the U of M Law School. The report also shows that Blacks and other people of color who live in two North Minneapolis neighborhoods had the highest number of sub-prime loans compared to Whites in the same neighborhoods: 59 percent for people of color compared to 42 percent Whites in Near North; and 55 percent for people of color in Camden compared to 29 percent for Whites. These two areas also “were most dramatically affected” among Twin Cities neighborhoods. “Our report [reveals] discrimination in lending against individuals on the basis of race, and also discrimination in lending against neighborhoods on the basis of race,” noted Orfield, who heads the U of M Law School’s

Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (IMO). Continue Reading →

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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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Minnesota legislators work to finalize State health exchange — Democratic majority doesn’t make exchange a ‘slam dunk’

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that beginning in 2014, each state either must have a health exchange available that allows qualified individuals to buy coverage, or join with other states to create regional exchanges. Or can let the federal government do it. It is intended not only to offer affordable health insurance to consumers, but also to increase competition among private insurers, giving their prospective consumers the ability to choose from at least four different levels of policies. Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange is now a couple of steps from becoming reality after the Minnesota House last week voted 72 to 58 on a health insurance exchange bill. Minnesota is among 17 states plus the District of Columbia that are setting state-based exchanges. Continue Reading →

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Racial Equity Report Card and legislative agenda announced

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) called January 30 for a statewide racial equity agenda. It was introduced along with the organization’s seventh annual Racial Equity Report Card during a rally at the State Capitol. “This agenda is not controversial but rather a multiracial and multi-issue group of community leaders working for racial, cultural and economic justice,“ said Phyllis Hill of ISAIAH, one of the 50-plus organizations that support the OAP’s plan. “I think we can turn our state around,” she believes, if more attention is given to such important issues as health care, education, economic opportunities, housing and justice issues as they affect Blacks and other people of color. Such an agenda is important now more than ever, noted Minneapolis School Board Member Kim Ellison. Continue Reading →

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