‘Response Team’ forms to help North Side through COVID-19

A collective of African American organizations and leaders in North Minneapolis have joined together to form the “Northside Community Response Team 2020” to identify immediate, mid- and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The mission of the committee is triage and intervention to keep and create employment in the African American community during these uncertain times.

The economic impact of this pandemic has the potential to be particularly detrimental in the Black community. Even during the recent economic boom in Minnesota, unemployment in the Near North neighborhoods was 21%.
Many are employed in the service-sector industry and low-wage occupations. Many Northside residents have lost their jobs in the past two weeks. The time for action is now.

This group of experienced leaders, alongside new community leaders, businesses owners and advocates, are identifying strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The Northside Community Response Team brings together faith-based institutions, education and training institutions, businesses, and civic leaders uniting to take advantage of the leadership, infrastructure, and existing capacity to mobilize into action—strategically, operationally and tactically.

Eight key working groups have formed to address the feeling of isolation and despair in the African American community during this period of social distancing, to include: Continuation of critical services such as mental health; Acquisition of technology and resources needed to minimize education disruption; Spirituality services so needed during this unprecedented time; Supporting businesses and identifying funding resources for them as soon as possible; STEM activities for children;

Finding new channels and avenues to reach out to people to maintain normalcy.

KMOJ and Comcast cable channel 937 (Black Music America), as well as the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, will support these efforts, creating opportunities for the African American community to connect and have access to trusted resources and other information.

The economic impact of COVID-19 has been extraordinary. The business community has come together to deliver real-time information about state and federal funding support and other efforts to ensure businesses have streamlined communication and access to accurate information.

Ensuring the economic vitality of our business community during this crisis is a paramount endeavor, from resource activation to continuing to mobilize the workforce.