Future home of the Minnesota African American Museum
Two weeks ago, the proposed African American museum was “mistakenly” left out of Gov. Mark Dayton’s $1 billion state bonding proposal. This week, after “An open letter to Governor Mark Dayton” critical of the omission appeared in the MSR’s Feb. 3 issue, the museum is now included in the bonding request.
“There are other projects” that were considered costly but weren’t eliminated from the bonding bill, Minnesota African American Museum founder Roxanne Givens, who authored the open letter, told the MSR.
According to Dayton’s press secretary Katharine Tinucci, “a clerical error” was the cause for the temporary omission. Givens said she questions this explanation and believes that the museum was put back in the bonding plan only after her letter appeared and subsequent phone calls were made to the governor’s office. She does not, however, blame Dayton personally for the problem.
When asked for further comment, Tinucci did not respond to questions in an email request last Friday, saying only that a $1.2 million request for the museum project is now in the governor’s bonding plan.
Having a Black museum in Minnesota is as important as other existing ethnic museums around the state, said Givens. “We have to fight for what we believe. We can no longer sit passively by thinking that people are going to look out for us, or they are looking out for us, or that they even care to look out for us.
“We now have to be very pro-active,” Givens said. “If we don’t do it, it’s not going to get done.”
— By Charles Hallman