Common Ground: Spring 2013
The winter 2012 of the Common Ground tells powerful stories about our current issues and campaigns. It lifts up the work of our partner groups and shows how, together, we are creating opportunities to advance regional equity in the Twin Cities.
The Link: Help Us Build an Equitable Transit System
Check out this week's edition of the Link!
Without Transit Plans, Twin Cities Can't Compete
In a recent Star Tribune commentary, Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation, called for increased investment in the Twin Cities’ transit system. “To compete with other cities in business development, job creation and talent attraction and retention, we need to expand our transit,” Wolford said.
Racial Disparities in Wealth Accumulation
Income inequality understates the size of the economic gap between whites and minorities in the United States. A recent report from the Urban Institute shows that in 2010, whites on average had two times the income of blacks and Hispanics, but six times the wealth. The report also illustrates that that the racial wealth gap grows sharply with age.
Meet Aisha Gomez
Meet one organizer whose work as a child care provider motivated her to pursue environmental justice.
Star Tribune: Dayton, Legislature Should Seize Transit Breakthrough
The 2013 legislative session may include some historic achievements, including legalization of same-sex marriage and new investment in early childhood education. And now, after Friday’s surprise vote in the state Senate, the Legislature has a chance to add to its legacy by making strategic investments in transportation. The Senate voted to raise the gas tax by 2.5 cents in the 2014-15 biennium and another 2.5 cents in 2016-17 to fund long-overdue investments in roads and bridges.
MPR News: Tight Rental Market Pushes People Out of the Twin Cities
The Twin Cities metro area is experiencing the lowest rental housing vacancy rate in about a decade. The tight market and rising rents are making it difficult for people to find cheap apartments. New numbers show the average market rent in the Twin Cities for the first three months of this year was $966 a month. That's about $30 more than it was a year ago, according to Marquette Advisors, a real estate consulting firm.
Growth and Justice: The Difference Between Equity and Equality
Reflecting on presentations from the recent Equity in Sight conference, Growth and Justice’s Dane Smith makes a case for why equity is the best approach to solving the Twin Cities racial gap in employment, education and homeownership.
People of Color Pay More and Bear Disproportionate Consequences
One of the ironies of lending practices is that those who are least able to pay are likely to be charged the most. Banks try to protect themselves against losses by giving subprime loans to clients they perceive to be higher-risk, clients who are disproportionately people of color. However, according to an article in Minnpost that’s not the whole story.
The Link: Minnesota Nice, Redefined
Check out our latest edition of the Link! It includes the writeup of our March Organizer Roundtable on Leadership Development, an article by Vina Kay with the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, and an amazing list of job opportunities.
The Link: Creating a Community We Want to Live In
Check out our latest edition of the Link!
How President Obama’s Budget Proposal Would Affect Cities
President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, released last week, focuses on economic growth and a strong middle class. Better urban development isn’t the first item on that agenda, but it’s an important part of the administration’s priorities for the coming year. Three agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation, are at the center of that work. The president’s 2014 budget would change how each of these agencies invest in community development. A recent article in Atlantic Cities details these changes.
The Link: How Community Groups Are Working to Transform Transitway Development
Check out our latest edition of the Link!
Organizer Profile: Meet Eric Hague
Eric Hague’s work organizing tenants is inspired by the joy of repeatedly watching people leap from individualized thinking to community thinking.
Transit and Jobs at the Capitol
Two weeks ago, Transit for a Stronger Economy gathered legislative leaders and advocates alike at the State Capitol for a press conference on a transit bill. The bill would fund the build-out of the regional transit system in fifteen years and create more than 30,000 construction jobs. Among those speaking in favor of the bill were Avi Viswanathan, HIRE Minnesota coalition organizer and Kenya McKnight, a Bush Fellow and facilitator with Northside Transportation Network.
The Alliance Welcomes New Member Organizations and Board Members
At the Alliance’s Annual Meeting last week Thursday, we elected new member organizations and board members.
Housing Out of Reach in Minnesota
Last week, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its Out of Reach report for 2013. According to the report, a minimum wage earner in Minnesota would have to work 89 hours per week – 2.2 full time jobs -- to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Of the twelve states in the Midwest, Minnesota has ranked the worst for affordability for minimum wage workers for three consecutive years.
The Link: Closing the Racial Employment Gap in the Twin Cities and More
Check out the latest edition of the Link.
CET Highlight: ACER's Bottineau Community Engagement
African Career, Education & Resource, Inc. (ACER) is a community organization founded in 2008 to decrease the disparities in access to resources, health and information within Minnesota’s communities of African descent. The organization is located in Brooklyn Park, a community situated along the proposed Bottineau Transitway. In late 2011, ACER received a Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement grant to implement “Making Transit Meaningful,” a project aimed at engaging Brooklyn Park residents of color in public decision-making processes as they relate to the Bottineau Light Rail Transitway.
Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide
A new study released by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University illustrates how wealth is profoundly affected by race and racism. Over the last 25 years, the total wealth gap between white and African-American families has nearly tripled, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. And disparities of this sort are present in other communities of color as well. In separate articles, PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell and the Wall Street Journal’s Neil Shaw, take a look at the economic drivers that have deepened this divide, and explore ways to overcome them.
The Link: When Affordable Housing Isn't, Really
Check out our latest edition of The Link. It includes the Organizer Profile of Whitney Lawrence with Transit for Livable Communities, a writeup of February's Community Forum and Discussion on the Bottineau Transitway with TruthToTell, and an article on community engagement from Andriana Abariotes with Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Truth to Tell Forum: Elevating the Community’s Voice in Bottineau Transitway Decisions
Residents along the Bottineau Transitway are anticipating the possible benefits this $900 million project could bring to their communities. Construction of the rail corridor has the potential to not only get people where they need to go, but also to bring revitalization to communities along the line that could use the economic development. But are community residents being engaged in decisions about how to make that happen?
Organizer Profile: Meet Whitney Lawrence
Meet one women’s rights advocate turned transit organizer.
The Link: Pushing for More Jobs in Brooklyn Park and more
Check out this week's edition of the Link!
Stadium Authority Commits to Hiring Goals
Earlier this month the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the governing body for the new Vikings Stadium, announced that it will follow state guidelines by committing to hire 32 percent people of color and 6 percent women for the stadium’s construction. It has also chosen Mortenson Construction to build the Vikings Stadium and meet the requirements of the MSFA's Stadium Equity Plan.
Northwest Community Collaborative Pushing for More Jobs in Brooklyn Park
In a recent news conference, members of the Northwest Community Collaborative said it wants Target to step up to the table when it comes to hiring low-income people and people of color in Brooklyn Park. The agreement between Target and the city stated that Target would provide a number of jobs for people in the community, but most of the positions the expansion will bring to the city will be filled by employees transferring from Minneapolis.
The Uneven Progress of Equal Opportunity
A recent New York Times article discusses the perplexities of race in America, stating that while overt discrimination based on race is no longer acceptable, both covert bias and institutional inertia perpetuate inequality. This discrimination overwhelming affects the workforce, where there is a high level of job segregation in which African Americans only rarely work in the same occupation in the same workplace as white men.
Corridors of Opportunity Grants Engaging Communities Along Transitways
This article from the Metropolitan Council shows how Corridors of Opportunity grantees are engaging residents in development efforts in their communities. It highlights the work of Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, a member of the Alliance and a Corridors of Opportunity grantee. ASANDC is in the process of creating redevelopment plans for the Old Home Dairy factory site, and hosting visioning sessions with the community to inform the development's outcomes.
The Link: Advancing Racial Justice in the Twin Cities
This week's edition of the Link includes Organizing Apprenticeship Project's Racial Justice Report Card, the organizer profile of Nelima Sitati, and an interview with environmental justice advocate, Vernice Miller-Travis.
Organizer Profile: Meet Nelima Sitati
Learn how one organizer’s passion for women’s rights fueled her desire to work on community issues in North Minneapolis.
How the Economy Affects Housing and Transportation
A recent article in This Big City takes a look at how the recession has shaped current trends in urban planning, housing and transportation.
The Link: Ensuring Equitable Outcomes for New Transit Projects and More
Check out our latest edition of the Link!
The Link: Creative Placemaking and Equitable Development
Check out the latest edition of the Link: Creative Placemaking and Equitable Development!
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Q&A with Joan Vanhala on Community Engagement
Take a look at this article in the Twin Cities Daily Planet, which features the work of Joan Vanhala. Vanhala is a coalition organizer for the Alliance who works on equity and environmental issues surrounding light rail transit ways.
The Link: How to Talk to Someone about Privilege
Check out the latest edition of the Link.
Common Ground: Winter 2012
Welcome to our first online edition of the Common Ground, our semi-annual newsletter!
The winter 2012 of the Common Ground tells powerful stories about our current issues and campaigns. It lifts up the work of our partner groups and shows how, together, we are creating opportunities to advance regional equity in the Twin Cities.
The Affordable Housing Crisis
In an editorial, the New York Times emphasizes the need for more affordable housing, noting that federal affordable housing programs have not kept pace with the growing demand. More than 8.5 million very low-income families pay more than half of their incomes for housing. Yet, new affordable housing is scarce and older apartments have been removed from subsidy programs. The article calls on the Congress to do more to address this problem by passing the Affordable Housing and Self Sufficiency Improvement Act, a bill with bipartisan support.
Organizer Profile: Meet Avi Viswanathan
How many organizers do you know who started out as lawyers?
The Link: Community Engagement - A Powerful Voice for Transitway Equity and more
Check out our latest edition of the Link!
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Taking Care of Business on the Central Corridor
How can the long-term impacts of light rail construction be better anticipated? What level of outreach to community members and business leaders along the Central Corridor has worked? How can we best help local businesses survive and thrive throughout construction? More than 30 community leaders and organizers focused on these questions November 21 at the Alliance’s Organizer Roundtable on Taking Care of Business along the Central Corridor.
Corridors of Opportunity: Federal Environmental Justice Experts Address Local Leaders
This October, the Alliance, hosted a series of forums on federal environmental justice policy. Guests from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came to the Twin Cities to illustrate the connections between environmental justice and the planning of our regional transitways.
Politics in Minnesota: Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Pushes for Transit and Equity
Russ Adams, executive director for the Alliance, was recently interviewed by Politics in Minnesota Capitol Report to discuss our organization’s commitment to advancing racial equity in the way growth and development happens in the Twin Cities region.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Knitting Together High-quality Transit in the Twin Cities
This article explores a few ways to make our region’s transportation system more competitive. In addition to building out our emerging transitways, the article suggests that the Metropolitan Council and other partners develop bus rapid transit and arterials throughout the metro area.
The Link: Eight Urban Policies for the 44th President
This week's edition of the Link includes a report from the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness on race and housing stability, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter's latest legislative report card, great employment opportunities, and a chance to win great prizes.
You Can Win Prizes on Give to the Max Day
As you make a donation to the Alliance during this year's Give to the Max Day - Thursday, November 15 - you will also have an opportunity to win prizes. Thanks to the support of several Twin Cities businesses, the Alliance will be giving out great prizes to random donors each hour between 9 - 4 p.m. and again between 7 - 8 p.m.
The Link: The Difference Between Diversity and Equity and More
Check out this week's edition of the Link.
Huffington Post: Minneapolis Acts on Employment Equity
Minneapolis recently became the first city in the nation to adopt a resolution promoting racial equity in employment. The resolution declares that institutional racism "is a primary reason for unemployment disparities" and requires the city to take action to make sure that people of color have a fair shot at government jobs, promotions and contracts. It targets the city's 3,600-strong workforce and the $500 million it spends on contracts every year.
Expanding the Environmental Movement
“The Cost of Coal a project of the Sierra Club, tells the story of vulnerable communities around the United States that are being devastated by coal. Although each story is different, an underlying theme in each is that the true cost of coal is human lives. This article discusses how increased organizing capacity from communities most affected by these issues can solve the environmental injustices in our day.
PolicyLink - Leading by Example: Minneapolis Acts on Employment Equity
PolicyLink’s latest e-newsletter, America’s Tomorrow, takes a look at the steps that the city of Minneapolis is taking to make racial equity a priority in employment.
The Link: If We Want Job Creation, We Need New Approaches
Check out this week's edition of the Link. It features a profile of an organizer with Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, a detailed look at the steps that Minneapolis is taking to make racial equity a priority in employment, and opportunities to connect with people across sectors and issues in the region.
The Link: New Housing Data Highlights Growing Racial Divide and more
Check out our latest edition of the Link: Obama Administration Expedites Southwest LRT. It features an organizer profile of Maria Zavala with the Family Partnership, an Organizer Roundtable writeup, and opportunities to connect with social justice advocates and leaders from around the region!
The White House: Obama Administration Expedites Southwest LRT
On Monday, the Obama Administration announced that the Southwest light rail transit project will be expedited to create new jobs and provide more transportation choices. These projects will improve local and regional connectivity, as well as providing more transit choices for residents and commuters. For advocates and community members who live and work along the Southwest LRT, this decision is a pivotal step in building a better transportation system in the Twin Cities region.
Huffington Post: Infrastructure Investments Creates Jobs for Everyone
Avi Viswanathan, HIRE Minnesota coalition organizer, speaks to infrastructure investment as a surefire solution to America’s job crisis in this Huffington Post article. The article points to Minnesota as an example of how infrastructure investment has significant potential to address both the important role government can play in creating new jobs the critical need to connect workers of color to good jobs.
Organizer Profile: Meet Maria Zavala
How many organizers do you know who served as an English translator with limited English competency?
The Link: Twin Cities Affordable Housing Dilemma and More
Check out our latest edition of the Link! It includes an assessment for social change organizations that will help them be more strategic, a handbook of 31 recommendations for transportation officials and advocates, and the profile of a network of committed organizations and individuals engaging residents in development decisions in their neighborhood.
Towards an Equitable East Side
The East Side of St. Paul is a community rich with culture, resources and potential. Although it has experienced its share of disinvestment, the community is committed to developing it's economic capacity. Find out how one network of committed organizations and individuals are making sure that happens by engaging residents in development decisions that could enhance the economic stability of their neighborhood.
HIRE Minnesota: Minneapolis Passes Employment Equity Resolution
Yesterday, a committee of the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution that acknowledges institutional racism and pushes Minneapolis to adopt tools to increase equity in employment.
Transit for Livable Communities: More Transit Options Needed for Riders with Disabilities
A recent Transit for Livable Communities’ blog post shares the challenges that Twin Cities residents with disabilities face when having to rely on public transit. As of right now, the limited transit options available in the Twin Cities sometimes keeps people with disabilities from getting to where they need to go in a timely manner.
Smart Growth America - Economic Vitality and Transit Oriented Development: What Declining American Cities Need
Reno, Detroit, and Oklahoma City have all at one time or another had strong, thriving local economies. But as the industries that brought them their success changed, each has experienced its share of economic instability. A recent Smart Growth America article looks at what these three cities are doing to regain their economic strength and suggests that in order to be profitable, cities around the nation need to look at making investments that have long-term dividends.
The Link: More Transit Options Needed for Riders with Disabilities and More
This week's edition of the Link is out: More Transit Options Needed for Riders with Disabilities and More! It includes our latest Race and Regionalism paper, the July Organizer Roundtable Resource on social media, and thoughts on economic vitality and transit oriented development.
Race and Regionalism papers
The Alliance is releasing a series of Race and Regionalism papers that will shed light on how growth and development policy has contributed to racial disparities in the Twin Cities region
Still Time to Advance Equity in the Twin Cities Region
Imagine living in a place where all people, regardless of the color of their skin or socioeconomic background, have access to opportunity. Imagine a city, a region that connects all of its residents to employment, transportation, affordable housing and that leaves no one behind. The great news is that the Alliance, in partnership with our coalition members, is helping to create that region.
The Link: Advancing an Equity Agenda for the Twin Cities Region and More
This week's edition of the Link includes an organizer profile of LaDonna Redmond, a recap of last week's demographic roundtable, stories of advancing equity in the region and a few great ideas in building people-friendly communities.
Building People-Friendly Communities
A key factor in any region’s sustainability plan is to put people first: if our strategies don’t work for people, they won’t work for the planet. In an article in the Atlantic, Kaid Benfield shares 14 ways in which regions around the nation can build sustainable, people-friendly communities.
Organizer Profile: Meet LaDonna Redmond
How many organizers do you know whose social justice work was inspired by a food allergy?
Help Us Create More Equity Stories
Here at the Alliance, we envision a region that offers equitable opportunities to all people. We know that if we leave anyone behind, our entire region suffers.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Transit Advocates Get Connected
Advocating for better, more equitable transit calls for new media tools, but only alongside traditional modes of organizing. That was a main theme at a recent Daily Planet New Normal 2012: Get Connected! community meeting. Co-sponsored by the Alliance, the event featured the work of communities along the developing transitways including Districts Council Collaborative, Advocating Change Together and African Career, Education and Resource Inc.
The Link: Tracking American Poverty and Policy and More
This week's edition of the Link includes the campaign profile of Advocating Change Together, the latest Organizer Roundtable resource, an interactive presentation of data on poverty in America and more!
Campaign Profile: Advocating Change Together
See how one organization is empowering people with disabilities to have a say in the development of their communities.
What Does Freedom Mean to You on Independence Day
Last week, the U.S. celebrated the 236th anniversary of its independence. Amidst all of the festivities, have we considered the irony of the oppression and bondage of distinct communities and constituencies among us?
The Link: Meet Ned Moore and More
This week's edition of the Link includes an organizer profile of Ned Moore, the latest Common Ground Newsletter, the newest EPI data on the black unemployment rate and reflections on what freedom really is in light of our national disparities.
Organizer Profile: Meet Ned Moore
Learn how the late Archbishop Oscar Romero has inspired this organizer’s commitment to eradicating systems of injustice and racism in the Twin Cities region.
Twin Cities still worst in U.S. for black jobseekers
The newest Economic Policy Institute report illustrates that while the unemployment rate in the African American community in the Twin Cities fell in 2011, the disparity between black and white unemployment in the Twin Cities remains the worst in the nation. Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and HIRE Minnesota Founder and President Louis King both weigh in on what this troubling problem means for our region and map a way forward to close this gap.
The Deepening Wealth Divide
In the last few decades, the incomes of the bottom 99 percent have gone down or stagnated, while the incomes of the top 1% have
The Link: Lindsay Defends Higher Hiring Goals for People of Color and More
Check out this week's edition of the Link. It features the campaign profile of Asian Economic Development Association, an article about MDHR's Commissioner Lindsey, and a Philanthropist's look at our nation's changing demographics.
Campaign Profile: Meet Asian Economic Development Association
See how this Community Engagement grantee is making a difference for Southeast Asian communities along the Central Corridor and Bottineau Transitway.
Lindsey Defends Higher Hiring Goals
Over the last several years, HIRE Minnesota has been working to ensure that everyone in the Twin Cities is working together to reduce our racial disparities in employment. To that end, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights recently raised the hiring goal for people of color on publicly funded projects from 11 percent to 32 percent in both Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, and to 22 percent throughout the rest of the region. Faced with criticism from state contractors, MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey MDHR stood by this decision, saying that our state’s changing demographics call for new hiring goals.
The Link: Making Equity a Priority at the Metropolitan Council and More
This week's edition of the Link features the latest Organizer Roundtable resource "Communities of Color and Immigrant Communities as Economic Assets to the Region," and a discussion on the preservation versus mobility dilemma in affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Dilemma: The Preservation vs. Mobility Debate
Currently, there is a debate waging across the nation, and locally as well, over where new housing investments should be made. After conducting extensive research and interviewing people who had a deep knowledge of, but varying perspectives on, this debate, the NLIHC concluded that policy should not determine where anyone lives, but should facilitate the ability of each household to maximize its own housing choices. Neeraj Mehta, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, also shares his perspectives and outlines the roles that money, race, power and choice play in the debate.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: North Minneapolis revitalization plans slowed by the economy and Hennepin County
Tuesday’s official groundbreaking ceremony for the Van White Memorial Boulevard extension was just the first step in a north side revitalization effort that has been in the planning stages since the end of the last millennium and is expected to continue for more than two more decades. The nearly mile-long stretch of roadway includes a 600-foot bridge over rail lines and Cedar Lake Trail, and a smaller bridge over Bassett Creek. When completed at the end of 2013, the project should help connect some of the geographically isolated areas of north Minneapolis with the rest of the city.
Reflections from EquityNow Convening with Partnership for Southern Equity
“Equity is not a tactic; it’s a way of life.”
Nathaniel Smith, founder of Partnership for Southern Equity expressed this sentiment throughout his recent presentation to EquityNow Twin Cities, a diverse group of individuals who together are committed to making racial equity a priority in our region. To this point, much of the conversation within EquityNow has focused on making the case for why promoting an equity agenda is necessary in the region. Moving forward, however, how might this network not only move an equity agenda most effectively in the region, but more importantly make equity a way of life? Owen Duckworth, the Alliance’s newest coalition organizer, has the story.
The Southwest Corridor Immigrant Council
This story is the second installment in a series of profiles that highlight how different organizations around the region are using the Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement Grants to engage communities of color and low-income communities in the development of our region’s transitways. This story shows how New American Academy is engaging Somali immigrants along the Southwest Light Rail Transit corridor.
From Cleveland to the Twin Cities: Insights on Community Engagement
Walter Wright, project director at The Cleveland Foundation, writes about the Twin Cities’ Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement initiative and how Cleveland is shaping its own efforts.
The Link: Introducing New American Academy
This week's edition of the Link includes the campaign profile of New American Academy, one of the Community Engagement grantees, a story about HIRE Minnesota's latest victory, and new research about our nation's changing demographics.
Diverse Group of Nonprofit and Community Leaders Work to Achieve Equity in Minnesota
The Central Corridor Funder's Collaborative features an article written by Tracy Babler, the Alliance's communications and development director, about the evolution and ongoing work of EquityNow Twin Cities.
Stadium Should Advance Employment Equity
Eight members of the city council have already endorsed HIRE Minnesota’s equity principles for the Vikings stadium. This Thursday, we call on the rest of Minneapolis' city council members to do the same.
The Link: Reflections on 'No Love for the Heart of the City'
Check out the latest edition of the Link: Reflections on 'No Love for the Heart of the City."
Follow Chicago's Example: Invest in infrastructure
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shares the steps that the city is taking to create jobs by making investments in infrastructure and invites other cities to do the same.
Housing’s Future: Renting and Downsizing
An article in the Wall Street Journal discusses current trends in the housing market. More households are turning to rental properties and prefer apartments within walking distance to retail, school and work, or cities with good mass-transit systems. These trends highlight the need to make more places in the Twin Cities accessible by transit, biking and walking.
Reflections on 'No Love for the Heart of the City
In a recent opinion piece in the Star Tribune, ‘No love for the heart of the city’, Steve Berg argues for increased density in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In comparison to other metropolitan areas around the nation, these cities have struggled to grow their populations and, subsequently, their tax bases. Berg argues that more density is the answer to this problem, saying, “Only density can bring the efficiency and vitality that the central cities need.” However, density is only one component of an effective regional growth model.
The Link: Meet Nancy Pomplun and More
This week's edition of the Link includes an organizer profile of Nancy Pomplun and the second paper in our Race and Regionalism series on the Harrison Neighborhood.
This article by Fresh Energy argues that in order to be economically competitive, reduce oil consumption, and meet the demands of an ever changing market, America’s metropolitan areas must reinvent themselves with renewed transportation options.
Organizer Profile: Meet Nancy Pomplun
Meet Nancy Pomplun of the Asian Economic Development Association
Making Transit Meaningful in Brooklyn Park
This week the Alliance is launching a series of profiles that will highlight how different organizations around the region are using Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement Grants to engage communities of color and low-income communities in the development of our region's transitways. The first shows how African Career, Education and Resource Inc. is using innovative community engagement models to engage African immigrants and other people of color in planning for the Bottineau Transitway.
The Link: Introducing African Career, Education and Resource Inc
This week's edition of the Link features the campaign profile of African Career, Education and Resource, Inc, a report on Asian Americans in the recession, and free technical assistance available through Envision Minnesota.
Getting More Americans Where They Need to Go
We live in a time where more Americans prefer to ride transit. Be it for economic reasons (the prices at the pump are ridiculously high), ill health or out of environmental considerations, one thing is clear – we need more options. In the Twin Cities, we have several upcoming opportunities to provide more transit options to the regions residents: street cars and light rail.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Minneapolis Revises Minority Workforce Goals
Private contractors looking to work on city projects will have to meet higher hiring standards if they want to win a bid. The Minneapolis City Council revised its minority workforce hiring goals March 30, raising its standard that 32 percent of contractors’ employees be minorities — up from 11 percent.
Taking Biking Beyond Its Usual Suspects
At a recent bike summit in Portland, speakers took an opportunity to emphasize a growing theme within the national bike movement - equity and access for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The Link: Meet Karyssa Jackson and More
This week's edition of the Link features the organizer profile of Karyssa Jackson, the latest Organizer Roundtable resource and exciting details about new hiring goals for people of color.
Northside Transit: All Aboard
In a post on the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Jeff Skrenes reflects on a community meeting hosted by Northside Transportation Network in the hopes of getting more public transportation moving on the Northside of Minneapolis.
Sustainability as the World's Population Increases
As the world’s urban population continues to climb, thoughtful urban planning is becoming even more paramount in order to make communities socially and environmentally sustainable
Organizer Profile: Meet Karyssa Jackson
How many organizers do you know whose interest in social justice starting through the performing arts?
Race Talk: Moving Forward on Corridors of Opportunity: Equity Engagement and Systems Change
Margaret Kaplan of the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, discusses the ongoing commitment of the Community Engagement Team to not only involve people from marginalized communities in all aspects of planning and implementation along regional corridors but to also make equitable development a priority in the Twin Cities region.
Eight Minneapolis City Council Members Support HIRE Minnesota’s Racial Equity Platform for New Vikings Stadium
Neither HIRE Minnesota members nor the eight Minneapolis city council members agree on whether a new publicly funded stadium should be built. But we are all united in our conviction that all large-scale development, particularly development which receive public investment, must advance racial equity.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Minorities Moving to the Suburbs
On Wednesday, March 21 the Alliance hosted an Organizer Roundtable: Changing Suburbs, Changing Strategies to discuss the strategies that communities of color are using to organize for equity in the suburbs. This article from the Twin City Daily Planet highlights some of those strategies and likewise points out the growing need for honest conversations around race in our changing Twin Cities region.
Good News from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Huge Victory for HIRE Minnesota! The Minnesota Department of Human Rights just announced its new workforce goals for people of color on state construction projects: 32 percent in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties and 22 percent for the rest of the region.
The Link: The Downfall of Freeways and More
Be sure to check out this week's edition of the Link: The Downfall of Freeways and More.
Little Mekong: A Successful Launch
Va-Megn Thoj and Nancy Pomplun of the Asian Economic Development Association tell what the launch of Little Mekong means for University Avenue Asian businesses and their community in this article from the Central Funders Collaborative.
Living on Less than $2 a Day in America
Most Americans believe that extreme poverty is only experienced by people in remote countries and villages overseas. However, a series from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that since 1996, there has been a 130 percent increase in the number of families with children living on less than $2 a day.
The Link: Meet Rick Cardenas and More
This week's edition of the Link which features an organizer profile of Rick Cardenas and a new paper from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability - The G.I Bill: America's Largest Affirmative Action Program, and more.
Bringing New Communities to the Decision Making Table
The Metropolitan Council's February newsletter highlights the work of the Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement Team and its efforts to bring marginalized communities to the decision making table. It also features the work of one of the CET grantees, African Career, Education and Resource, Inc.
Star Tribune: Council Group Urges Minority Hiring for Vikings Stadium
Eight Minneapolis city council members signed onto a letter sent last Wednesday to Mayor R.T. Rybak and Council President Barb Johnson urging the city to adopt HIRE Minnesota's proposals for equitable hiring goals if a stadium deal is reached. Although not all agreed on whether or not a stadium should be built, all agreed that if a Vikings Stadium is built, that it must address racial disparities in employment.
Meet Rick Cardenas
How many organizers do you know who are strong advocates for disability rights?
Now Hiring! Coalition Organizer
The Alliance is seeking candidates for a Coalition Organizing position. This position supports grassroots coalitions in issue campaigns that build long-term power and achieve short-term victories. The organizers also provide educational resources that support and advance organizing activities within the equitable development field more broadly.
The Link: Overcoming Historical Disinvestment and More
Check out the latest edition of the Link: Overcoming Historical Disinvestment and More!
Met Council Committed to Minority Hiring on LRT Project
Recognizing existing racial gaps in unemployment, Metropolitan Council chair Susan Haigh makes the hiring of people of color and women a top priority in the construction of the Central Corridor light rail transit line.
Minneapolis Considers Ways to Get North Side Rolling
As Minneapolis city officials are considering a route for the upcoming Bottineau Light Rail Transit line that would miss a large portion of the transit-dependent populations on the North Side, the community explores the possibility of developing a street car line to ensure that economic investments return to a vital commercial corridor.
Minnesota Public Radio: Minnesota's Black Middle Class is Shrinking
According to state demographer Tom Gillaspy, Minnesota has lost about a 25 percent of its moderate-income black households between 2006 and 2010. This is not attributed to blacks leaving the state but racial disparities in employment, which has kept blacks unemployed at a rate more than 3 times of their white counterparts.
The Link: Meet Hindia Ali and More
Our latest edition of the link features an organizer profile of Hindia Ali, a video from our latest Organizer Roundtable: Organizing for Equity and more.
Organizer Profile: Hindia Ali
Discover how this organizer is motivated by stories to build power in the Somali community.
Desegregation is Not the Main Issue
In a recent report from the conservative market-oriented think tank the Manhattan Institute, research fellows Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor celebrate the progress we have made in desegregating our American society. Although this is partly true, desegregation is not the real issue of our time.
Video: EquityNow TC
Be sure to check out this new video that tells the story of EquityNow TC, which the Alliance is a part of, our work around PolicyLink's Equity Summit and our aspirations moving forward.
The Link: How to Be a Racial Justice Hero and More
Check out the latest edition of the Link, which includes simple ways we can all step up our game to see racial justice realized!
Metropolitan Council’s 2012 State of the Region address
“Transit holds the key to a successful and prosperous region.”
This was the overarching theme of Met Council Chair Sue Haigh’s State of the Region address last Wednesday. Several hundred people attended this event where Commissioner Haigh laid out the Met Council’s plans for the year, highlighting a strong commitment to developing a sustainable region where transit connects to economic development, job creation and affordable housing.
I want to ride my bicycle…in Minneapolis
The City of Minneapolis recently released a report which highlights the progress the city has made in making it a better place for bicyclists. Much of the success comes as a result of organizing work done by organizations such as the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter, which has not only been the driver of the progress but has also advocated for bike infrastructure and accessibility in underserved communities.
Place and Race Matter
Economic opportunity, the physical environment, social connections and health are all factors that make up the community in which people live. Neeraj Mehta of Nexus Community Partners writes about the significant role race plays in creating places that offer unequal opportunities to their residents.
Downtown Journal: The People’s Stadium, but what’s in it for the people?
Funders Collaborative: Stops for Us coalition celebrates and shares EPA Award
On December 11, 2011, Lisa Garcia, Senior Advisor on Environmental Justice to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Jackson, presented the Stops for Us coalition with a National Achievements in Environmental Justice award. This award highlighted the significance of the coalition's success in securing light rail stations at Western Avenue, Victoria Street, and Hamline Avenue to provide equitable transit service to those who needed it the most.
The Link: Job Equity in the Twin Cities
Check out the latest edition of the Link: Job Equity in the Twin Cities and More!
Organizer Profile: Meet Melissa Rudnick
Discover how this organizer is using the history of her people to create social justice in the world.
Finance and Commerce: Does a bike route make sense for busy Snelling Avenue?
As MnDOT prepares to resurface Snelling Avenue early this spring, it has an opportunity to put transit equity at the center of its work. Will MnDOT add bike lanes to the road, making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians alike? Or will it maintain the status quo and cut off alternative transportation options for the people who desperately need them?
Star Tribune: Downtown 2025 plan must include job equity
Stops for Us Coalition Celebrates National Achievements in Environmental Justice
More than 100 people gathered at Gordon Parks High School on Sunday to celebrate the proclamation, and the Stops for Us coalition’s 2010 National Achievement in Environmental Justice Award. This award, presented by Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor Lisa Garcia, recognizes the coalition’s work to secure three missing Central Corridor LRT stops at Western Avenue, Victoria Street and Hamline Avenue to serve the environmental justice communities of east University Avenue.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Would Newt Gingrich's Idea about Poor Kids Work?
Founder of HIRE Minnesota Louis King has a different approach to learning work ethic than presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Whereas Gingrich suggests that child labor laws need to be weakened so that poor, inner-city children can be put to work in schools, King says that it is not the kids who need access to jobs, but their parents.
Transit for Livable Communities: PolicyLink's Equity Summit 2011
It's been a month since PolicyLink's Equity Summit 2011, and conversations about the event are still going strong! Owen Duckworth, a member of the Minnesota Equity Summit Delegation and board chair for the Alliance, shares his reflections on the summit and what equity means for our region going forward.
Taking Care of Business
Over 30 people gathered last week for the Alliance’s Organizer Roundtable: Taking Care of Business to discuss how business and community leaders along University Ave have organized to survive during the Central Corridor LRT construction.
Reflections on Equity as the Superior Growth Model
PolicyLink recently released a report that challenges the nation to invest in our collective futures. America’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model suggests that for our nation's economy to grow, we must rebuild our public infrastructure, grow new businesses and jobs, and prepare the workers of tomorrow for the jobs of tomorrow. But what are the nation’s top leaders in equity saying? Can such suggestions truly spark the economic stimulation that the country so desperately needs?
St. Paul Unearths Surprise $3 Million
In economic times like these, where we are pinching every penny we have, it seems next to impossible to believe that anyone could overlook an extra hundred dollars. Yet, in an attempt to keep from cutting services, the city of St. Paul recently found a surprise $3.1 million dollars. How to spend this money, which at one time been allocated to community development projects in the city, has become a hot topic.
Meet Malik Holt-Shabazz
Discover how the Undoing Racism framework is enhancing this organizer's capacity to change his community!
Minnesota takes on Equity Summit 2011
Last week, nearly 2,500 people gathered in Detroit for PolicyLink’s Equity Summit 2011. The energy at the summit was invigorating as people from around the United States came together to discuss how we can make equity central to everything that we do. The Twin Cities delegation consisted of more than 175 people, representing community groups, foundations and the public sector.
Human rights commissioner promises quicker investigation, resolution (MPR)
After a lengthy fight at the state legislature, HIRE Minnesota was able to help preserve about 95 percent of the Minnesota Department of Human Right’s budget for the next two years. MDHR is the only state agency charged with the responsibility of handling discrimination cases. Yet even with its budget preserved, resources at the agency are stretched. As of January, it took nearly 400 days for cases that were not dismissed to be resolved. The good news is, MDHR has taken steps to decrease this waiting time.
Congress Does Not Include Funding for HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (Smart Growth America)
Thanks to the many of you who called Congress last week with messages about the importance of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Initiative. Unfortunately, the final conference report, released Tuesday evening, does not include funding for this work.
The Link: Putting All Minnesotans Back to Work and More
Check out this week's edition of the Link: Putting All Minnesotans Back to Work and More
Poverty Rate Climbs in America’s Suburbs
Although the suburbs have long been a symbol of a strong, prosperous middle class, new reports are proving the contrary. Nationwide, the poor population in America’s suburbs rose by more than half after 2000, two-thirds of which were added between 2007 and 2010.
Putting All Minnesotans Back to Work
At a time when the unemployment rate in communities of color is at its highest, it is important that our state’s workforce investments put all Minnesotans back to work. Several state agencies, including MnDOT, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, have pledged to make sure that people of color and women are hired as infrastructure projects are built. However, when reports on hiring goals are confusing or inaccurate, it is difficult to know whether or not these agencies are holding true to their word.
Meet Mel Reeves
How many organizers do you know who have this title – community political activist/ organizer/ journalist?
Do they or don't they? Dispute over Central Corridor hiring goals for minorities and women (TCDP)
The Twin Cities Daily Planet offers this great analysis of HIRE Minnesota's efforts to ensure people of color get their fair share of Central Corridor LRT jobs.
The Link: Regional Transitway Resources and More
Check out this week's edition of the Link: Regional Transitway Resources and More!
Cute Kid Alert!
Everybody loves a cute kid! That is what makes PolicyLink’s new public service announcement America’s Tomorrow so effective. It is hard to say no to a cute kid; it is difficult to deny such an innocent life the opportunities and privileges that many enjoy. People of color will be the majority in our nation by the year 2042. These kids, representing a myriad of cultures and races, are the future of our nation.
Strategic Investing in TOD: Balancing riches, realities and risk (Central Corridor Funders Collaborative)
The Central Corridor Funder’s Collaborative brought together a work group to share what they’ve learned as they explore how transit-oriented development (TOD) along rail corridors can advance access to affordable housing, jobs and other elements of a high quality of life for all residents. The resources provided by the workgroup also consider the challenges and opportunities involved in considering a new TOD funding structure for the Twin Cities region.
$33.3 million aimed at Twin Cities transit projects (Finance & Commerce)
More than $33 million should soon be available for transit-oriented development throughout the Twin Cities region. These additional monies come as the result of projects planned for years past that were not realized as a result of the economy. The Corridors of Opportunity Policy Board will be coordinating the funds, making them available to local cities, counties, rail authorities, development authorities, private or nonprofit developers, and nonprofit organizations that support transit-oriented development, entrepreneurship and small business development.
Disparities in Minnesota
In terms of overall poverty and unemployment, rates Minnesota does much better in comparison to other states around the country. However, when we break these numbers down according to our demographics, we will find that people of color, women and children, experience disproportionate hardships more in our region than anywhere else in the country.
Organizer Profile: Meet Karen Monahan
What’s the one piece of advice this organizer would give you? Fuel your organizing with love, not anger.
Equity Summit 2011… here we come! (Nexus Community Partners blog)
The Alliance is organizing a delegation of more than 150 Minnesotans to attend Equity Summit 2011, along with our Community Engagement Team partners Nexus Community Partners and the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing. Read about what we've done so far from Nexus's blog.
Progress on reaching Central Corridor's diversity hiring goals in dispute (Pioneer Press)
HIRE Minnesota has been closely following the progress on hiring women and people of color to build the Central Corridor LRT. At the September Central Corridor affirmative action meeting, the contractors reported that their hiring of people of color slipped in August. That's why we were surprised to see a September 27 report on mpr.org that declared contractors were meeting goals.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Accused Construction Company Gets Central Corridor Contract
C.S. McCrossan, the construction company charged with lying about hiring people of color and women in building the Hiawatha LRT, is also the prime contractor on the St. Paul portion of the Central Corridor line. At a time when the unemployment rate for African Americans in the Twin Cities is three times higher than that of whites, HIRE Minnesota is not only committed to making sure that McCrossan's mistake does not happen a second time around but that they exceed their hiring goals every month.
The Link: Challenging CCLRT Contractors for Accountability
Check out this week's edition of our e-newsletter - The Link: Challenging CCLRT Contractors for Accountability.
Placemaking and Cultural Corridors
In July, the Hennepin Theatre Trust received $200,000 in support of a one-year planning process to transform Hennepin Avenue into an arts-inspired cultural corridor. This creative placemaking not only will strengthen the arts, but will shape the social, physical and economic character of the Twin Cities metro region. But Hennepin Avenue is not the only cultural corridor that the Twin Cities enjoys. The African American Heritage Corridor in St. Paul, American Indian Cultural Corridor on East Franklin, and those embedded in the Latino community on Lake Street in Minneapolis and District del Sol in St. Paul also revitalize the economy of our neighborhoods and region.
Local and National Poverty Rates
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, one in every six Americans lives at or below the poverty line. In Minnesota, there are 544,000 people living in poverty and one million – one in four Minnesotans – who are considered near poor. However, when you consider the picture of poverty in communities of color, these figures are even more disturbing as a result of racial disparities in terms of employment opportunities.
Challenging CCLRT Contractors for Accountability
Over a dozen HIRE Minnesota members attended the Central Corridor Affirmative Action meeting last week to hear from the contractors about who is building the Central Corridor Light Rail line. Unfortunately, we learned that there is still a downward trend in the hiring of people of color on the project. Both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul portions of the project are below the hiring goal for people of color.
The Link: Connecting People, Places and Issues for Regional Equity
Today, the Alliance launched our new e-newsletter, The Link! Check it out and let us know what you think!
Light rail on the Northside: Q&A with Raymond Dehn
In an interview with the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Raymond Dehn of the Northside Transportation Network, describes what he considers to be some of the most pressing transportation concerns on the Northside. Dehn says the Northside has been disproportionately affected by cuts in public transportation, which cuts off many residents from jobs and other opportunities outside of their community.
Federal Agencies Sign Environmental Justice Memorandum
Last month, the Obama administration announced that federal agencies have agreed to develop environmental justice strategies to protect the health of people living in communities overburdened by pollution. In doing so, many departments, including both likely and unlikely suspects, are making a commitment to advance environmental justice as it relates to their policies and practices. The announcement could be important for the Twin Cities region because it could allow communities along planned transitways to leverage environmental justice as a means to increase their power in influencing transitway development.
Firms Cited by Feds Hired by Central Corridor
C.S. McCrossan, a construction firm that built portions of the Hiawatha LRT, recently agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle claims by the federal government that they had misrepresented the number of women- and minority-owned businesses they hired to complete the project. This news is especially troubling, because McCrossan has a major contract to build the Minneapolis portion of the Central Corridor LRT. Current statistics for the construction of the CCLRT shows that McCrossan is one of the few contractors failing to meet hiring goals. But you can do something about it. Join HIRE Minnesota at the next Central Corridor Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Affirmative Action meeting to tell McCrossan that we expect all contractors who receive public funds to meet their goals for hiring and contracting.
Maps of Census Data by Race and Age
If we want to have a nation that we are really proud of, a nation with more than just espoused democratic values and a nation with a strong middle class, we have to take into account the shift in our racial demographics and begin investing in communities that have been historically left behind. These graphs from PolicyLink show how over the next 30 years, our nation will increasingly be inhabited by people of color. Yet many communities of color have troubling economic disparities. How can our nation be economically competitive if a small fraction of our citizens hold all the wealth? Equity must be at the core of all our public policymaking to ensure a vibrant American future.
Organizer Profile: Meet Daniel Yang
How many organizers do you know who have worked directly for the president of a major foreign nation?
Videos! Anchoring Equity to Achieve Sustainable Regional Development
“What does an inclusive and sustainable path to economic growth look like?” Find out what local and national leaders said about the prospects for regional equity in the Twin Cities at Anchoring Equity to Achieve Sustainable Regional Development.
Twin Cities Daily Planet: High Cost of Getting to Work
Although it is not typically considered as a means to boost the economy, public transportation is an essential component in getting all Minnesotans back to work. Yet, those who rely solely on public transit options, have significantly less job opportunities than those who have access to a car. As this article by Twin Cities Daily Planet points out,
Finance and Commerce: Community, officials clash over development plans for struggling Minneapolis neighborhood
In this article written by Finance and Commerce, Harrison Neighborhood Association speaks out against the desires of city officials to put a commuter train storage facility in Linden Yards, a decision that would continue to sentence the community to generations of poverty and disinvestment.
Building the Power of Minnesota’s Communities
On Wednesday, July 27 the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability hosted an Organizer Roundtable on New Legislative Dynamics. Avi Viswanathan, HIRE Minnesota organizer, opened the conversation by asking how the new leaders in the state legislature are effecting the capacity of organizers to build power in the Twin Cities historically disenfranchised communities.
Shelterforce: Making Light Rail Stop for Us
Alliance staffer Tracy Babler wrote this article for Shelterforce, a national affordable housing magazine, on the incredible work of the Stops for Us coalition to secure three missing stations for communities of color along the Central Corridor LRT.
Is Convening More Than a Buzz Word? How Funders and Nonprofits Attack Workforce Disparities
As grantmakers seek avenues to achieve greater impact, the role of “convener” has become prevalent. Undoubtedly, convenings generate initial energy boosts for an issue, but is this sustained? Can convenings launch change?
HIRE Minnesota Shutdown Action Makes News
The Alliance joined our partners in the HIRE Minnesota coalition today for a public action to call on our leaders to end the shutdown and put Minnesotans back to work.
Policy Link Responds to Rep. John Mica's Transportation Reauthorization Proposal
Angela Glover Blackwell, one of the speakers and panelists at the Anchoring Equity to Achieve Sustainable Regional Development event last week, responds to the proposal made by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica to cut spending on transportation programs by 35 percent.
Transit Woes Loom
Vaughn Larry, of Alliance member group Aurora/ St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, was one of 100 people who gathered at a legislative hearing Wednesday night to warn about the impact of cuts to transit service and increase in fares.
Growing together: using equity to spur growth (Growth & Justice blog)
Growth & Justice adds its two cents about Minnesota's growing inequities, after attending the Community Engagement Team's Anchoring Equity event last week, presented in partnership with the Northwest Area Foundation and the Metropolitan Council.
Call for Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement Grant Applications!
The Alliance and our Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement Team partners have issued a call for applications for Outreach and Engagement grants!
Shutdown would be serious; bad budget would be catastrophic, groups say (Workday Minnesota)
The Alliance joined the HIRE Minnesota coalition and other groups involved in the Invest in Minnesota coalition on Thursday to tell state government leaders that a shutdown would be bad, but an all-cuts budget would be worse.
Transit planners say north Minneapolis concerns a factor in Bottineau decisions (Finance & Commerce)
Determined to avoid the mistakes made in the early stages of the Central Corridor, transit planners have spent June inviting communities from north Minneapolis to Maple Grove to share their concerns about a potential billion-dollar system in the Bottineau Corridor.
Trying to bridge Minnesota's racial opportunity gap (Finance & Commerce)
Twin Cities Finance & Commerce covered the Anchoring Equity to Achieve Sustainable Regional Development Outcomes event the Alliance hosted last week, in partnership with our Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement Team members Nexus Community Partners and the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing. The event highlighted ways that the Twin Cities region can capitalize on the opportunity of new transitway development to increase racial and economic equity for our residents.
Keep State Agency for Human Rights (Star Tribune)
The Star Tribune Editorial Board stands in defense of saving the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, acknowledging that the Legislature's proposal to slash the department's budget by 65 percent would make the agency ineffective, if not altogether obsolete. HIRE Minnesota has been working to raise public awareness on this issue, knowing that without this department cases of discrimination in regards to employment, housing, education, and health care would not be handled.
Helping Communities of Color Go Green (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
On Wednesday, May 25 the Alliance hosted an Organizer Roundtable on Local Organizing for the Environment, Energy and the Earth. Representatives of environment advocacy groups across the Metro Area discussed how the green revolution can more prominently include communities of color.
North Minneapolis Community Forum (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
On Monday, June 9, Congressman Keith Ellison, Rep. Bobby Joe Champion, Rep. Jeff Hayden, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and other leaders joined HIRE Minnesota in a call to action to save the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
Communities Mobilize to Preserve Human Rights Funding (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
If the legislature has its way, the Minn. Dept. of Human Rights (MDHR) could have its budget slashed by as much as 65 percent.
Racial Disparities in Hiring? Just Slash Human Rights Budget (TCDP)
Mary Turck, editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet, reports on HIRE Minnesota's efforts to preserve funding for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
Partnership for Sustainable Communities Included in Federal Budget
In early April, the federal budget for 2011 was finalized and passed. The budget included complete funding for the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
Lessons from the White Privilege Conference
As part of our organizational commitment to undoing racism, the Alliance's staff and other leaders attended the White Privilege Conference, a annual national convening that was held in Minneapolis on April 13-16, 2011. They provided these insights and resources gathered at the conference so that people who could not attend the conference or these sessions could benefit from the lessons learned.
Will the New Met Council Benefit Communities of Color? (MN Spokesman Recorder)
A change in the governor's office means a new Metropolitan Council, our regional government body that plans things like transportation and affordable housing. Will the new Met Council do more to eliminate our region's alarming racial disparities?
HIRE Minnesota: Racial Disparities, A Task for Us All (Star Tribune)
Alliance Associate Director and Summit Academy OIC CEO Louis King write that with Minnesota's nation-leading racial economic disparities, now is not the time to dismantle policies and programs that protect women and people of color in the workplace.
Dayton offers initiatives to spur new jobs for blacks (Star Tribune)
Last week, HIRE Minnesota, along with other community leaders, made recommendations to Governor Mark Dayton for improving the economic well-being of African Americans in Minnesota.
Twin Cities Jobless Gap Worst in Nation (Star Tribune)
The Alliance and our partner organizations have helped raise awareness in the Twin Cities that we have the worst black-white employment disparities in the nation. A new article from the Star Tribune highlights the issue again.
Support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities
Currently. federal legislation is being considered that would cut funding to the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Cuts to this innovative program could have a major impact on our nation’s ability to plan healthy, safe and equitable communities that recognize the connections between people and our natural and built environments.
Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality
This NPR documentary traces the history of inequities in our nation's mass transit decision-making, leaning heavily on the story of St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood as an example of the lasting effects of racist transportation policy.
In Solidarity with WI Public Workers: Why Environmentalists and (insert your field here) Should Care
Mat Hollinshead, a Sierra Club Northstar Chapter leader and former Alliance board member, wrote this brilliant piece about why we all need to stand with Wisconsin's public workers as their collective bargaining rights are threatened. An interesting take on the connection between seemingly disparate people, places and issues.
Community Stabilization Project featured in Star Tribune!
Long-time Alliance member group Community Stabilization Project was featured in the Star Tribune this week. Congrats to Mari and Metric, and thanks for all you do!
HIRE Minnesota one of Ms. Foundation's grantees in the news
For the second time this year, the Ms. Foundation for Women has featured HIRE Minnesota in its blog about groups doing great work to make change to benefit women.
Organizing for Inclusive TOD (Shelterforce)
Shelterforce, a national affordable housing journal, featured the Stops for Us campaign as an exmple of good community organizing for transit-oriented development.
MnDOT preps new plan to hire more women, people of color (MPR)
HIRE Minnesota was one of the collaborating stakeholders that helped produce a Minnesota Department of Transportation report that could result in more women and people of color receiving jobs and contracts on road construction projects.
Transportation for America Equity Cacucus Statement on the State of the Union Address
The Alliance is a member of Transportation for America's Equity Caucus, which issued a statement today applauding President Obama's call for smart, targeted transportation investments that connect all Americans to opportunity.
Looking for a road to affordable Central Corridor housing (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
The Alliance's January Organizer Roundtable features the Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership. Here's a primer from the TC Daily Planet.
American Indian Cultural Corridor: New Art, New Enterprise on Franklin Avenue (The Line)
Alliance member group NACDI is out ahead of the curve on creating cultural corridors in the Twin Cities.
Igniting Change: HIRE Minnesota recognized on Ms. Foundation for Women blog
HIRE Minnesota was recognized as one of the Ms. Foundation for Women's "grantees making waves."
Let's revive solid regional planning (Star Tribune)
Alliance member groups Transit for Livable Communities and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy published this commentary in the Star Tribune.
Apply for a Met Council Seat
The Dayton administration today released information on how to apply to become a member of the Metropolitan Council.
Sue Haigh will be the new Met Council Chair
Signaling that affordable housing will become a higher priority, Gov.-elect Mark Dayton on Wednesday named Susan Haigh, the head of a nonprofit that builds homes for the poor, to lead the Metropolitan Council.
Preventing Foreclosure in North Minneapolis (TCDP)
The Twin Cities Daily Planet profiled the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition after the Alliance's December roundtable featured this innovative coalition's efforts to prevent Northside foreclosures.
Weatherization spending primes economic pump, cuts family expenses
Weatherization cuts utility expenses for low-income families and improves energy efficiency of older homes. HIRE Minnesota believes that low-income people and people of color can and should be trained to do that work!
Stops for Us Coalition Receives National Environmental Justice Award
The Stops for Us Coalition was honored with a 2010 National Achievements in Environmental Justice awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Group wants more minorities, women building Central Corridor LRT (Pioneer Press)
HIRE Minnesota is demanding hiring equity along the Central Corridor!
We All Do Better When We All Do Better (Star Tribune Voices)
Northwest Area Foundation's Gary Cunningham analyzes the connections between unemployment disparities and education, while affirming the mission of the Alliance in the process!
Working Twice as Hard to Get Half as Far (TCDP)
The Twin Cities Daily Planet summarizes the Alliance's Moving Minnesota from Worst to Best on Hiring Equity event, featuring Dr. Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute.
Planning Makes a Comeback (MinnPost)
Thinking ahead isn't something Americans are good at. We'd rather spend money now than save for later. But since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, when arguably the absence of sound planning sent the housing and financial markets into a tailspin, planning has made a comeback.
Franklin Avenue plan would create urban Indian cultural corridor (MPR)
Native American Community Development Institute, an Alliance member, talks about plans for the nation's first American Indian cultural corridor along Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.
Twin Cities' 'Shameful Little Secret' Exposed (Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder)
The Spokesman-Recorder's take on Minnesota's unacceptable racial unemployment disparities, including a recap of HIRE Minnesota's work to close the racial gap in umemployment.
430 Acres of Tarnished Opportunity in Arden Hills (Star Tribune)
More uncertainty about what to do with the Twin Cities' largest developable tract of land. Meanwhile, nearby manufactured home park residents are still hoping to save their homes if the project goes forward.
HIRE Minnesota Leads Protest Against Ames Construction (Pioneer Press)
After the recent announcement that the Twin Cities lead the nation in employment disparities, HIRE Minnesota took action. We organized a protest against Ames Construction, one of the state's poorest performers when it comes to hiring people of color on construction projects.
King and Brown: To end racial disparity, take the first step (Star Tribune)
Alliance Associate Director Maura Brown and Summit Academy OIC President Louis King on how to change Minnesota's nation-leading employment disparities.
King and Brown: To end racial disparity, take the first step (Star Tribune)
HIRE Minnesota leaders Maura Brown (Alliance associate director) and Louis King (Summit Academy OIC president) published this commentary in the Star Tribune on how to end Twin Cities nation-leading employment disparities.
Twin Cities Has Widest Jobless Gap By Race (StarTribune)
"Blacks are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as whites in the Twin Cities, giving the area the worst racial disparity in unemployment among the country's largest cities, according to a new study released this week.
Central Corridor Finds an Ally in Washington - MPR
MPR reported today on the work of community groups to secure the Federal government's support for the missing three stations on Central Corridor. The head of the Federal Transportation Administration tells the story of being convinced of the injustice of the missing stations by Stops for Uc coalition members - while in line for coffee at a conference in DC!
$6 Billion Proposed for Home Energy Efficiency (Reuters)
This morning President Obama proposed a $6 billion investment in increasing home energy efficiency and associated job creation.
Insight News: Transit Options Energize Northside Civic Engagement
Metric Giles, the St. Paul-based environmentalist and community organizer, beamed with pride. “This is awesome,” he said, addressing a standing room only audience of North Minneapolis residents, business and agency leaders, and politicians who responded to State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion’s (DFL-58B) call to consider Light Rail Transit options for North Minneapolis.
Over 250 people overflowed a first space, then a larger space at the University Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) at 2100 Plymouth Avenue North. “I expected to see a lot of white people here, but to find, instead, a room full of Black people, Asian people and Latino people is awesome. That’s what this is all about….all the people being on board,” said Giles.
TCDP: Minnesota Stimulus Dollars Bypass Blacks, Other Communities of Color
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (AARA) called for $50 billion to build and repair the nation's roads, bridges, railways and ports "to preserve and create jobs" and "to assist those most impacted by the recession." It explicitly states that investments should prioritize those hit hardest by the recession - those in distressed communities who have a high percentage of low-income households or high unemployment rates.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation records, nearly 2,000 contractors have been awarded stimulus money for highway and bridge projects. However, the Federal Procurement Data System reports that only one federal transportation contract has gone to a Black-owned business (in Nevada).
MPR: MnDOT Remains Short of Goal for Hiring Minority Contractors
There's more disappointing news both locally and nationally for minority and women-owned construction companies. Federal stimulus spending on transportation projects has not been as much of a payday as hoped for.
USDOT: Minnesota Hosts Reauthorization Listening Tour Stop
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blogs about his recent trip to Minnesota, which featured the announcement that all three missing Central Corridor stops would be built.
MinnPost: 11 Gubernatorial Make Their Pitches to Large Activist Crowd
The Alliance was one of the sponsors of the Governor Candidate Forum on Transportation, Land Use and the Environment, covered by Doug Grow at MinnPost.
Pioneer Press: University Avenue Wins 3 More Train Stations
The neighborhood needs were always there. The political will was there, too, and growing rapidly over the past several weeks. Now, the money's there, and it's official: The proposed Central Corridor light-rail line will stop three more times along its 11-mile route between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The neighborhood needs were always there. The political will was there, too, and growing rapidly over the past several weeks.
Now, the money's there, and it's official: The proposed Central Corridor light-rail line will stop three more times along its 11-mile route between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Star Tribune: Three More Train Stations Coming to St. Paul
St. Paul will be getting all three of the additional light-rail stations it has long sought, the nation's top transportation official is expected to announce Monday afternoon.
Star Tribune: Odds Improve for 3 St. Paul LRT Stops
Three additional stations along the Central Corridor light-rail line are a big step closer to being built, planners said Wednesday. But money remains uncertain, and the new stops may not be enough to resolve a lawsuit brought against the project this week.
Star Tribune: Federal Shift Could Benefit Light Rail Here
Alliance Executive Director Russ Adams on recent federal rule changes that could mean more equitable transit investment in the Twin Cities region and beyond.
Star Tribune: Central Corridor -- Next Stops St. Paul?
An abrupt change in federal rules offered some hope Wednesday that the problems snagging the Central Corridor light-rail line could soon be ironed out, bringing peace to the negotiators and maybe even three new rail stations to St. Paul.
MPR: New FTA Rule May Affect Central Corridor
The Obama administration is changing a decision-making rule that has long rankled transit advocates. The rule change would allow the FTA to factor in livability as it awards federal money for a project and it could affect the Central Corridor light rail project.
Star Tribune: Hennepin County's plans to buy land in Harrison neighborhood draw fire
The Alliance is supporting the Harrison Neighborhood Association in the battle to redevelop the Bassett Creek Valley.
Smart Growth America: What We Learned from the Stimulus
The latest data on stimulus spending show that funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than stimulus funds spent on highways.
Twin Cities Daily Planet Profiles Stops for Us Leader Metric Giles
Community Stabilization Project Organizer and Stops for Us Leader Metric Giles was profiled by the Twin Cities Daily Planet about the values that drive his work for racial justice.
Star Tribune: 2010 Getting Down to the Wire on Central Corridor
This is the year for everyone to get on board with the Central Corridor light-rail project, according to many involved with the nearly $1 billion plan to connect the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
However, local disagreements -- which are expected in large projects such as the Central Corridor -- must be fixed before any final approval is given.
Viable Futures Network: Equitable Allocation of Stimulus Funds -- Minnesota Leads the Way
HIRE Minnesota was featured in the first-ever Viable Futures Network newsletter, including a quote from Alliance Coalition Organizer Jennifer Jimenez.
Session Daily: Problems Seen in Energy Stimulus Programs
State energy officials need to do a better job of ensuring that minority and low-income workers are included in weatherization and other stimulus projects, one lawmaker argued.
MPR: Groups Pushing for 3 Additional Light Rail Stations
Community groups pushing for three additional stops along a proposed light-rail transit line are fired up about new federal concerns over when those stations could be built.
Daily Planet: Citizens lobby for more Central Corridor Stops
An impassioned group of St. Paul citizens, civic leaders and city officials on Tuesday urged state officials to help fund the construction of three additional light rail stops along University Avenue.
MPR: MnDOT hiring of minority contractors declines again
The flow of stimulus dollars to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, MnDOT, has not resulted in more jobs for women and minority workers.
In fact, new MnDOT statistics show the number of minorities and women on state road and bridge construction projects has declined from last year.
MPR: MnDOT adjusts hiring goal for women and minority contractors
Again this year, construction companies awarded contracts for state road and bridge projects have fallen short of goals for hiring women and minority subcontractors.
Minnesota Department of Transportation officials say the hiring goal is too high and has been scaled back for next year. In addition, MnDOT is revamping its efforts to encourage contractors to hire individual women and minority construction workers.
in/stability on Display in Minneapolis and Online
The Twin Cities Daily Planet on our in/stability photo contest!
Stimulus Woes: How One Coalition is Working for More Equitable Spending
Smart Growth America recently covered the Alliance's role in HIRE Minnesota on its blog.
Stops for Us Secures One Missing Central Corridor Station
On August 26, 2009, the city of St. Paul committed to funding the complete build-out of one of the three missing Central Corridor LRT stops!
KSTP: HIRE Minnesota Protests MnDOT Hiring Practices
HIRE Minnesota visited a MnDOT construction site at 46th Street and 35W today to search for missing persons - women and people of color!
Star Tribune: Minority Hiring Report Shows Little Progress on MnDOT Projects
Despite years of diversity hiring goals and decades of growth in Minnesota's minority population, state construction projects remain largely the work of white males.
Advocates from HIRE Minnesota are increasingly pushing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to sanction contractors who don't meet hiring goals on tax-funded projects.
Star Tribune: Cracks Develop in Support for Central Corridor LRT Line
Is being a squeaky wheel the best way to get what you want when it comes to the Central Corridor light-rail line? St. Paul City Council Member Melvin Carter III is starting to think so.
This week he broke from his typical role of unequivocal supporter to write a letter to Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell expressing frustration with how the project is playing out in part of his ward. He even mentioned that he could grow to oppose it if things don't change.
HIRE Minnesota delivers Missing Persons Report to MnDOT
On July 23, HIRE Minnesota delivered a Missing Persons Report to the Minnesota Department of Transportation to highlight the agency's failure to meet its women and minority hiring goals.
Weatherization RFP not acceptable, legislators say RFP omits legislative language ensuring inclusiveness
Minnesota’s Legislative Black Caucus members say they will encourage Twin Cities area Community Action Programs to reject initial bids for the metro area’s multi-million dollar weatherization initiative because the language in the requests for bids did not mirror language in the authorizing legislation.
Highways or Byways?
The Alliance and other Twin Cities groups believe Minnesota spent too much of its $600 million in federal stimulus money building new highways and too little fixing the roads it has and adding public transit.
Jump Starting Racial Justice
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has stirred up another round of debate about race in America. Some recent attempts to promote racial equity include our own work on a Racial Equity Impact Policy in Saint Paul.
How an immigration raid changed a town
The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability is lending technical support to a nationally unique effort to respond to a devastating immigration raid on a meat packing plant in the small town of Postville in northeastern Iowa.
HIRE Minnesota secures $2.5 million for Green Jobs Training
HIRE-MN succeeded in passing a bill that directs $2.5 million for training and outreach in green jobs and infrastructure stimulus spending.
MPR: Economic Stimulus Could Lift Up People of Color
There are very large numbers being tossed around to describe the size of the stimulus package under construction in Washington, D.C. They range from $600 to $850 billion. That amount of money could create millions of jobs. A new Minnesota coalition called H.I.R.E. Minnesota wants to make sure minorities and women are included in the hiring.
Insight News: H.I.R.E. Minnesota Seeks Green Jobs for Our Communities
About 200 people turned out for H.I.R.E. Minnesota's first town hall meeting in north Minneapolis last week. The Alliance is participating in the H.I.R.E. Minnesota coalition, which is being led by Summit Academy OIC. We are seeking green jobs in the health care, infrastructure and renewable energy industries.
Addressing Climate Change in Minnesota
The city of Minneapolis recently developed a Climate Action Plan focusing on transportation, buildings, and waste as three key sectors where we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a Minnesota 2020 article, Macalster college student Esther Schlotterbeck details aspects of the current plan, calling it a commendable start to mitigating the effects of climate change but arguing that it must go further in placing equitable solutions at the center of discussion.
Organizer Profile: Meet Kenza Hadj-Moussa
Meet one organizer who is intrinsically motivated by hope for a better future.
Deep and Intransigent Employment Disparities Persist in Minnesota (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
As racial disparities in the unemployment rate in Minnesota remain high, the Legislature threatens to make these disparities more prevalent by cutting funding to essential programs like the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.