In 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation, in conjunction with the Wilder Foundation, launched a initiative called One Minneapolis. The project sought to create a baseline of data to talk about racial disparities in our city. The initial report, released in 2011, shone a light on several alarming disparities. These disparities were evident across the board, from statistics on the city’s economic situation, unemployment, childhood poverty rates and more. It was clear that racial disparities were not a single issue problem, and there wouldn’t be simple solutions.
In 2014, Community partners interested in a solution formed a coalition called OurMPLS. Voices for Racial Justice, , convened a table of local partners to create the OurMPLS Racial Equity Agenda. The document outlined goals that our partners believed would advance racial equity in our city. Like the disparities that Minneapolis communities face, the solutions outlined in that agenda reached across the jurisdiction of any one office.
But organizations were not the only place where conversations about equity were stirring. In the 2013 municipal campaign cycle, some candidates campaigned on a racial equity platform. Blong Yang, Abdi Warsame, and Alondra Cano, were the first Hmong, Somali and Latina city council members, respectively. In the same year, representation from the Black community was lost.
When the new council was sworn in in 2014, they got to work quickly, looked to other cities as examples, and adopted a Racial Equity Framework. They also created an office of equity and inclusion, which was staffed in 2015. Despite these changes, many of the disparities that were part of that original One Minneapolis report have not gone away.