Parent involvement, economic activism need to rule the day



By Al Flowers

Guest Commentator


If parents begin to step up concentration on becoming involved in their children’s schools, and community activists begin to kick up focus on creating economic opportunities for parents, the African American community has a shot at making it — and even thriving — in decades to come.

If Black parents continue to stay away from our children’s schools and Black activists and all residents don’t fight for a bigger piece of the economic pie, there will be continued hell to pay for all of us today and tomorrow.

According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, “Minnesota’s population will become more diverse in the future. In 2000, nine percent of Minnesotans identified themselves as non-White. By the 2025 to 2030 period, the total population gain will be about 169,000 and the non-White population will account for more than half of the increase.”

In addition to the state population becoming more racially diverse, Minnesotans will also become much older. The Minnesota State Demographic Center reports, “Baby boomers are beginning to turn 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day across the nation. The large boomer generation begins to turn 85 in 2031, and by that year, all the boomers will be over age 65.”

Translation: The children of color we are raising today will have a huge stake in taking care of themselves and the older adults of tomorrow.

Currently, there are loose safety nets that fill some of the economic gaps of children of color growing up in Minnesota. Tomorrow, these same children of color will be the safety net. If our Black children of today are not academically prepared to take care of themselves and the rest of the aging population of tomorrow, the high percentage of blight we see in the Black community today will not be confined to communities of color tomorrow. Rather, the blight will blanket our entire state.

Now is the time for parents to get involved in their children’s schools, not just for their children’s sake, but for the sake of themselves and their future. And, now is the time for community activists and all Minnesota residents to raise the economic-development stakes in our community so parents and children have a fighting chance at having a decent life today, tomorrow and in the decades to come.


Al Flowers welcomes reader responses to