Discussion: Racial Equity & Budgets
Across the state, unemployment is at 4.5 percent, below the national rate of 6.2 percent. While the recovering economy brings new opportunities to some Minnesotans, the unemployment rate in July 2014 was 10.7 percent for African Americans—about 2.5 times the unemployment rate for Whites in Minnesota. By almost any measurement, including wealth, income, housing, incarceration rates, educational opportunity, and health, Minnesota is a state with a lot of work to do on racial equity.
Equity figured especially prominently in the recent city elections in Minneapolis. Having won on an equity platform, Mayor Betsy Hodges recently released her first budget proposal and has focused heavily on equity and growth for the City of Minneapolis in her public presentation of that budget. She echoes the sentiment of Joe Biden: “Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
In her proposed 2015 budget, Mayor Hodges proposed a number of specific initiatives with a clear racial equity component. Some of the highlights include:
- An additional $1 million City dollars in affordable housing, focusing on family housing.
- Planning dollars for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal, to ensure North Minneapolis has its own valuable riverfront amenities.
- Two new positions in the City Coordinator’s office to focus exclusively on the city’s equity work, ensuring the best possible equity outcomes in every department and every division.
- $1,140,000 in capital dollars to implement a program of body cameras for the police department.
We’ve invited Mayor Hodges to join us for a discussion on the connection between budgets and equity. She’ll share some of the strategies they’re trying in Minneapolis, and lead a discussion about what more we could be doing in Minneapolis, in other cities and counties, and at the state level to advance racial equity. Mayor Hodges will be with us from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. to share her insights and answer your questions.
Please join the discussion!
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