In November of 2016, our team attended Race Forward’s Facing Race conference in Atlanta, and presented on the research that we had done and the difficulties we had encountered. We spent the entire workshop brainstorming with organizers and city leaders from across the country. Together we realized that the clearest approach would be to evaluate the city’s progress toward reaching the goals we named in the 2014 OUR MPLS Agenda.  


City-Wide Goals

+ Adoption and implementation of a citywide Racial and Economic Equity Impact Framework

This must include racial justice training for all city employees, accountability measures, investment in community opportunities to learn about city government, and a robust impact analysis of all proposed policies. Already, community groups have led efforts to adopt an equity impact analysis at the school board level, and have proposed a similar analysis to the parks board. We are committed to working with city leaders to develop a comprehensive approach for OUR MPLS. (This needs an introduction)

Has it happened?: Yes.
Progress: In 2014, the city adopted a racial equity framework with the following targets:

  • Create market parity in the City enterprise workforce by 2020.
  • Improve racial diversity in the City enterprise workforce to be reflective of city demographics per the decennial census.
  • Increase participation of minority businesses to 12% of total open market procurement by 2020. Improve board and commission membership to be reflective of city demographics by 2020.

In 2015, an Office of Equity and Inclusion was created within the City Coordinators office. In September of that year, Joy Marsh Stephens was hired to lead the Office of Equity & Inclusion.

Room for Growth:

  • Make cultural competency training mandatory for all city employees

+ City leadership that reflects our communities.

After the last election, the City Council includes representation from communities that have not been at the table before. Leadership that reflects the community should be present at all levels of city government. Achieving representation that is truly inclusive and equitable should be a priority for city employment in OUR MPLS.

Representative leadership doesn’t just mean electing leaders that look like us, but electing people that will bring the voices of their wards to City Hall.

+ Practice authentic community engagement.

The future of Minneapolis depends on its diverse communities. Our communities are ready to work with city leaders to make Minneapolis the racially and economically equitable city it can be. The boards of neighborhood organizations and other city committees should reflect our communities— but city and neighborhood leaders must work to open doors to those opportunities wider. In OUR MPLS, we take the time, make the effort, and invest to build authentic engagement and leadership (We need to define Authentic Community Engagement).

Specific Areas

+ A Place to Work

Minneapolis faces the worst employment gap in the country between whites and African Americans. American Indians in Minneapolis face the highest unemployment rate among all groups at nearly 30 percent. The gap stems from multiple barriers to opportunities, beginning with access to quality education and training. But it also results from structures of racism that persist at all levels, including discriminatory hiring practices. Breaking open economic opportunity will require intentional action on the part of city leaders.

  • Meet the hiring goals established for city contracts and work with firms and training programs to make sure people of color and low- income people can develop the necessary skills.
    • Has it happened?: No.

In December, 2011, the Minneapolis Downtown Council set out a vision for downtown Minneapolis. They proposed development in downtown, creating new jobs, and attracting many new residents. But they made no mention of racial equity or reducing racial and economic disparities


The city began the process of creating a racial equity toolkit.

Room for Growth:

The city should set up formal partnerships with organizations such as H1RE Minnesota that is working to eliminate racial employment disparities in the state, and has a record of doing so.

•Partner with the private sector to set hiring goals for all new development, even if not publicly funded.

Has it happened?:


The city began the process of creating a racial equity toolkit.

Room for Growth:

•Advocate adoption of an increased minimum wage and eventually a living wage at the state and federal levels

Has it happened?: Yes.

In 2013, the Minnesota state legislature passed an increase in Minnesota’s minimum wage.


Paid Sick & Safe Time. Minneapolis became the first city in the country to pass paid sick time.

Room for Growth:

Increase the Minimum Wage to $15/hour without a Tip Credit. The city alienated many community members when it got involved in a court case with community organizations pushing for a $15/hour minimum wage.

+ A Place to Live

Minneapolis has shown a commitment to developing strategies to end homelessness across multiple partners. These strategies will also need to connect to efforts to prevent foreclosures, offer affordable housing options, and build economic opportunities for them to show systemic, long-term success. A challenging economy has piled on the barriers to safe and affordable housing for low-income people—it is time to reverse the rising rates of homelessness with a structural approach.

Connect with Equity in Place Table

Fair Housing Advisory Council

Enforce the recently adopted responsible banking ordinance so that banks are transparent and accountable on lending practices, foreclosures, and community investments.

Has it happened?: Yes.

Banks have reported on the status of the responsible banking ordinance each year, but only with organizations such as Jewish Community Action (JCA) applying pressure. There has been very little action from the banks in terms of providing a meaningful analysis of the responsible banking ordinance to communities with regard to how it affects them. For example, there has been little analysis the city has done outside of simply collecting the data and publishing it.


Community groups will collect and analyze data each year to provide communities with a meaningful analysis of the ordinance. There are plans to expand the work to the suburbs in order to build more sustainable power that goes beyond providing consumer financial services. In St. Paul, a responsible banking committee was formed with community members to ensure that the community was at the table as the city chose its next banking partner. JCA and partner groups also worked to change the city's Request For Proposals (RFP) for bank services to be more community minded. The goal is to replicate what happened in St. Paul in MPLS to shape MPLS' 2018 RFP for banking services.

Room for Growth:

The December 2014 staff direction that asked the finance office to develop a framework of community benefits for how the city relates to Wells Fargo has gone unfulfilled. In 2015, MPLS City Council members directed the finance and property office to study the feasibility/impact of moving funds from wells fargo and redirect investments to a community bank, a credit union, or to create a public bank. A report will come out in May or June, 2017 that will discuss the findings. Also, community groups hope to build on what they've learned from trainings held in conjunction with the MPLS Federal Reserve to local communities on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to direct momentum toward the RFP process in 2018.

Develop strategies to prevent foreclosure and expand affordable housing options, including exploring the use of eminent domain to turn vacant properties into places to live and to reset underwater mortgages to fair market value

Cooperate with groups to develop community benefits agreements that include community priorities, such as jobs and small business development, affordable housing, and other amenities.

+A Place that is Safe & Just

Police accountability remains an issue that affects communities of color personally every day. The Minneapolis Police Department must commit to working with communities to end racial profiling, police brutality, and the school to prison pipeline. We need a police force that is connected to neighborhoods, that is representative of our communities, and that is ready to work with us to make justice and safety a priority.

  • Create a deterrent to police brutality and misconduct through officer-purchased liability insurance for additional premiums above the base rate
    Has it happened? : No.

The city preempted it being on the ballot after the signatures were collected because of concerns with the legality of it.


The city did, however, enact new rules about officers misconduct. See this news article for more details.

Room for Growth:

The article cites the 21st century task force as the reason for the new rules, but groups (like ACLU MN and others) were also pushing for the change. These changes are all good first steps at deterring misconduct and brutality, but the City and the Minneapolis Police Department need to work with community research groups like the Northside Research Team to continue its work on creating deterrents to police brutality and misconduct.

  • Engage stakeholders, including community members, in developing a more effective assessment of police misconduct complaints.

Has it happened?: No.
Progress: We are not aware of any other progress at this time.
Room for Growth:

One other good thing to note that the MPD did recently is update their transgender and gender non-conforming policy. These are the kind of steps MPD needs to take to embrace the LGBT/intersection of race and policing:

  • Require collection of quantifiable data, including race, on all police stops so that the department and communities are aware of potential racial profiling.
  • Has it happened?: Yes.

Police are now mandated to collect data on race on all stop and frisk stops. Progress:

Data on race is already collected when officers arrest somebody. By including the mandated reporting for stop and frisk, that increases the coverages of data collection a lot.

Room for Growth:

  • Expand community policing efforts, including hiring officers that are from and reflect the communities in which they are working
    Has it happened?: Yes.
    Community Service Officer Program - Since the implementation of a Community Service Officer program, the percentage of officers of color in city training programs has increased from to 61 percent people of color.

The Justice Department Review of MPD

National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, an initiative of President Obama’s Department of Justice. The National Initiative seeks to improve relationships and trust between the police department and community through focusing on three evidence-based areas: reconciliation, procedural justice, and implicit bias. This groundbreaking work is happening in only a handful of other cities and police departments. As part of this work, Chief Harteau is personally participating in empathy and healing work with community, which includes her apologizing for the historically negative impact the MPD has had in communities of color. These are only highlights: there is much more happening at the Minneapolis Police Department than I have space to elaborate on here. I am proud of this body of work, which is amounting to a DNA change in the Police Department that is the foundation of the 21 st -century police department that everyone in every community deserves. It is my goal that this change will transform the relationship between police and communities of color, where trust has long been frayed.

  • Officer-worn body cameras are now on every Minneapolis police officer. All Minneapolis police officers now receive training in implicit bias, fair and impartial policing, procedural justice, crisis intervention, and de-escalation.


We all know that our children are our future. Children of color make up 65 percent of Minneapolis students—we must work together to ensure that every child has the opportunities necessary to grow, learn, and thrive in OUR MPLS. It is the responsibility of school boards, parks commissioners, and city leadership to invest time and resources in our youth. Immigrant communities, indigenous communities, and all communities of color are prepared to help define what will make this city a great place to raise children.

  • Invest in youth programming that expands opportunities—in the arts, sciences, recreation, and more.
    Has it happened?: Yes.

STEP-UP is the City of Minneapolis internship program for young adults ages 14-21. Each year, STEP-UP recruits, trains and places more than 1,600 Minneapolis youth in meaningful paid internships with over 220 top Twin Cities businesses, public agencies and nonprofits. STEP-UP serves youth who face some of the greatest barriers to employment, particularly youth from low income families, youth of color, youth from immigrant families, and youth with disabilities.

Urban Scholars is a leadership and professional development internship program providing students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with distinctive professional experience. Urban Scholars focuses on essential leadership skills and creating resume-building career pathways.


Since its inception in 2004, STEP-UP has created nearly 24,000 internships for youth, helping young people to gain 21st century skills, build professional connections, explore career interests, and begin the path to educational and career success.

Room for Growth:

  • Align with community groups who are committed to building education equity in all Minneapolis schools and statewide

Has it happened?: Yes.

The Minneapolis School Board adopted a revised Equity & Diversity Policy 1304 in October, 2013. The Policy requires that an Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment (EDIA) be conducted on all future policies that have a significant impact on student learning and resource allocation.

Progress: District reassigns responsibility for EDIA process and assigns committed district staff to facilitate process; hires EDIA consultant; and works with community groups and non-profit organizations. EDIA process is redesigned; new on-line tool developed with input from community members on the EDIA committee as well as district staff. The EDIA instrument will be beta-tested with 41 key district staff including department heads and cabinet members beginning in January 2017

Room for Growth: The school board needs to work with community organizations such as the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (MNEEP) to find equitable alternatives to school discipline methods such as suspension and expulsion.


Getting around the Twin Cities metropolitan area is a challenge for people without a car. At the same time, mobility is a key component for accessing job and education opportunities. Minneapolis must make it a priority to connect residents across neighborhoods through rail and bus lines that are accessible and affordable. Working with the Metropolitan Council and our neighboring cities for a region that makes movement possible is crucial to our economic and social fabric.

Prioritize bus rapid transit or streetcar lines along major streets in low-income neighborhoods, including West Broadway, Central Avenue, and Chicago Avenue.

Has it happened?: Yes.
Progress: While the largest bus rapid transit project, Metro Transit’s A Line barely enters Minneapolis. Metro Transit has also solidified the High-Frequency network, which provides increased stability in the core area of the city for residents that are dependant on transit.

Room for Growth:

  • C Line (Penn Avenue rapid bus line) - Targeted for construction in 2018, the C Line will connect downtown Minneapolis, Olson Memorial Highway, Penn Avenue and Brooklyn Boulevard with Brooklyn Center Transit Center.

  • Work with the Metropolitan Council to develop amenities that support safe, efficient, and equitable transit use, such as heated bus shelters and a North Side transit station.

Has it happened?: Yes.

Progress: In late 2014, Metro Transit received a $3.26 million Ladders of Opportunity Grant from the Federal Transit Administration to invest in bus stop and customer waiting shelter improvements that enhance access to employment and educational opportunities. These grant funds, along with available state and local money, will be used to fund the Better Bus Stops Program. With these combined funding sources, Metro Transit’s goal is to add up to 150 shelters and improve an additional 75 existing shelters with light or heat as part of the agency’s work to advance the Equity Outcome from Thrive MSP 2040, the region’s policy plan.


The health of our communities depends on clean air and water, but also access to safe parks and recreation areas no matter where we live. It depends on access to health care across the city, for all residents regardless of immigrant status. Minneapolis can be a model for health and vibrancy by making what we all know matters truly available for all its residents.

  • Work with communities to eliminate food deserts and open access to affordable, healthy food. Has it happened?: Yes.

    • Progress: Minneapolis became the first city in the country to establish a health corner stores initiative. This dynamic program has led to actual, visible and tangible changes in our city’s food deserts. The Health Corner Stores initiative, championed by Council Member Cam Gordon, requires convenience stores of a certain size to carry a minimal amount of fresh produce and staple foods. While the program doesn’t eliminate food deserts, it does make it easier to access healthy foods within them.

    • Room for Growth: Minneapolis needs to partner with organizations such as Project Sweetie Pie and other groups throughout the city to bring more urban farming projects to low wealth areas.

  • Adopt a Racial Equity Impact Analysis at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
    • Has it happened?: Yes.


Arts and culture have been a priority for Minneapolis—and rightly so. Through the arts, we can share multiple experiences and perspectives, celebrate our different communities, and develop a deeper sense of the many voices that make up our city. Let’s stay committed to the arts and look for ways to expand opportunities in communities of color and for all generations to enjoy the multiracial, multicultural experiences that add up to OUR MPLS.

  • Engage communities of color and low-income communities in defining city priorities for investing in arts programming.
    • Has it happened? : Yes.
    • Progress: The City of Minneapolis has made incredible progress in being intentional about including communities of color in decision making processes. Talk about Creative City Road Map.
    • Room for Growth: Work with parks and schools programs, as well as youth leaders, to offer more after school and summer arts activities to youth throughout the city.
      • Has it happened?: Yes. Youthline engages youth ages 12-16 in positive leadership experiences and recreational activities while connecting them to adult mentors in the parks. Teen Teamworks is a summer employment and educational program for youth ages 14-18. Nite Owlz provides extended teen programming at various recreation centers from 8-11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Activities may include open gym, cooking, computer labs and more. IDEAWERKS is for youth ages 12-18 to learn multimedia production; record audio and video information on a digital media workstation; study music basics and computer software to create music tracks and videos; and produce and record individual multimedia projects. Village Parks is a unique cultural, linguistic diversity and leadership program for youth ages 14-18. Girl Interrupted is a yearly conference designed to help young women 14-18 learn effective tools to help them transition from high school into adulthood.