Voices for Racial Justice (VRJ) held a rally to share its 2016 Racial Equity Agenda on March 10, 2016 at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill. Speakers included education equity organizers, leaders from communities in Greater Minnesota, and prison justice organizers. The Racial Equity Agenda highlights policymaking priorities for addressing racial equity at the state level.
Over 60 organizations signed on in support of the agenda. VRJ will release a 2015-16 biennium Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity at the end of the legislative session.
Following the killing of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police in 2015, community organizers called for a special session of the legislature to address racial disparities. Legislative leaders did not agree to hold a special session.
The theme of the Agenda, “We the People,” highlighted the voices and solutions of people of color and American Indians in Minnesota. “Given what happened in 2015, ‘We the People’ must address racial disparities in the upcoming legislative session,” said Brett Grant, research and policy director at VRJ.
“Despite the fact that addressing racial disparities might be controversial, we must address them. Furthermore, with a budget surplus, we have the resources to begin to do so.” Grant said.
Key principles in the Agenda call for the adoption and implementation of racial equity solutions to guide all state policymaking, as well as authentic community engagement that allows the perspectives of American Indian communities and communities of color to inform policymaking and practice. The Agenda also calls for policy change on issues including tribal sovereignty, education, housing, employment, health, police accountability, criminal justice reform, transportation and the environment.
The Racial Equity Agenda builds on the 10-year experience that Voices for Racial Justice (formerly known as the Organizing Apprenticeship Project) has in producing a Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. As in previous years, this year’s Agenda is community-driven, drawing on the organizing, advocacy and policy efforts of partners, and the experiences that communities of color and American Indian communities have in building racial equity in Minnesota.
See the 2016 Racial Equity Agenda and a list of partners at www.voicesforracialjustice.org.
This information was provided by Voices for Racial Justice.