For nearly 60 years, Community Action Agencies throughout Minnesota have worked to strengthen the communities they serve by helping struggling families achieve economic independence. Community Action was born out of the civil rights movement, and we continue to denounce all forms of violence and any acts that dehumanize anyone.
Despite our efforts, Black, brown and Indigenous people in Minnesota come in last nationally on indicators of social and economic well-being. In terms of homeownership, educational achievement and food security, Minnesota ranks at or near the bottom if you are a person of color. These trends are likely to be worsened by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately harming communities of color in Minnesota and nationally.
We know that people of color make up the fastest-growing segment of Minnesota’s population. The strength of the state’s economy depends on the contributions of all Minnesotans, but across the state people of color are disproportionately more likely to live in poverty and face economic insecurity.
With the killing of George Floyd last week while in police custody, racial inequities and the resulting social and economic injustices can no longer be pushed to the end of Minnesota’s agenda. We urge Minnesota leaders to enact reforms now to address the racial equity crises we face in providing affordable housing and food security, tackling persistent educational opportunity gaps, and undertaking critical criminal justice reform.
Actions speak louder than words. We at MinnCAP are committed to establishing more meaningful working relationships to better support groups and organizations representing and advocating on behalf of persons of color, culturally specific groups and Indigenous peoples to achieve shared goals. Within our own organizations, we will train staff, board members and volunteers on issues of racial disparities, implicit bias and white privilege that impacts our day-to-day work.
The frustration and violence following Mr. Floyd’s death is a call to action. As vital community partners, we continue our statewide efforts to provide all Minnesotans with opportunities to earn a living wage, treat all people with human dignity, and break the cycle of poverty persistently afflicting our communities of color. Minnesota’s 24 Community Action Agencies are dedicated to changing people’s lives, improving communities, and making Minnesota and this country a better place to live. With the support of Minnesotans moved by the tragedy of George Floyd’s unnecessary death, we will continue helping people help themselves and each other.