When the announcement came that Minnesota had seen a two billion dollar surplus last year, every segment of Minnesota society added their voices to how the money should be used. Residents in the Iron Range had their ideas for using the money, and other rural and urban interests chimed in as well, each advocating for its own pet priority.
Among those voices have been advocacy groups representing Minnesota’s communities of color, who have seen and suffered historic achievement gaps compared to White Minnesotans overall. This includes the NAACP Minnesota/Dakotas Area State Conference and the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage.
The groups joined together and sent out letters that have set in motion a chain of events in the highest levels of Minnesota government intended to begin addressing the disparities between Black and White Minnesotans. The first letter, dated March 22, was sent to State Legislators, urging that they “support Governor Dayton’s 2016-2017 supplemental budget to address disparities affecting Minnesotan communities of color. We applaud the Governor’s vision in addressing these needs.” Continue Reading →
By Khymyle Mims
“You got some people who are in it for the notoriety. You got some people who are in it for a specific cause, and they don’t go outside their cause. And you got some people in it that shouldn’t be in it,” says Jeff Martin, St. Paul’s NAACP President, as he grins and takes a sip of coffee. “Then you got this group of people that are trying to figure it out, trying to do the right thing, and trying to leave the world a little better place than what they found it, and I try to put myself in that group.”
Martin’s belief assists him as president of St. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The St. Paul NAACP branch and the St. Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) recently have joined forces to work on local education issues. “We started talking this [past] winter” with the NAACP on working on “big picture” issues around education, says SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker. Last month the SPFT and NAACP jointly held a series of recognition events to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, including lesson plans written by William Mitchell College of Law students and taught to all St. Continue Reading →
Once again, this columnist takes on the silent danger to Blacks in our community. We have heard a lot of discourse over the years about Black male versus White male adults being incarcerated for similar crimes at a higher rate. How about juveniles? White juveniles are taken home for first-time thefts. However, Black juveniles have been introduced into the Juvenile Justice Center for first-time same offenses. Continue Reading →
Activist makes commitment to help solve problems facing local Blacks
By Charles Hallman
National NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous says that Minnesota “is more like Mississippi than it should be.”
Having once worked in Mississippi, a state known for its poor education and high prison rates, Jealous, the featured speaker at the October 12 Roy Wilkins Center’s 20thanniversary dinner at University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Center, admitted how surprised he was to learn that Minnesota is among the worst in Black unemployment and Black graduating rates, and near the top in Black incarceration rates. “I was a little surprised when I looked at the stats of the state of Minnesota. Black folk here are less likely to graduate than Black folk on the average in the country, more likely to be incarcerated than Black folk on the average in the country and less likely to have a job,” stated Jealous. “These are times for all Americans and Minnesotans to become courageous in reaching out and helping people understand that Minnesota is more like Mississippi than it should [be],” he continued. He believes that the state’s present Black generation must be included to help change things. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The 1997 Minnesota Legislature mandated that a computerized criminal gang data system be set up to assist local law enforcement agencies statewide. The pros and cons of what became the Minnesota Criminal Gang Pointer File are now being aired in a review of the database. State lawmakers last year established the Violent Crime Coordinating Council to reevaluate whether the current Minnesota Criminal Gang Pointer File needs to be modified or scrapped altogether and replaced with a new method of identifying people involved in gangs. Mostly composed of local and regional law enforcement officials, the 19-member council held three public forums during the last three months to get input from community members. “This was the best of the three [forums],” said St. Continue Reading →