Connect with us

Community

Mpls & St. Paul NAACP chapters unite to target state’s racial wealth gap

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — A new plan is being formed to help address the racial wealth gap in Minnesota

Published

on

By Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

A new plan is being formed to help address the racial wealth gap in Minnesota. Last month, the National NAACP announced the creation of an Economic Inclusion Plan (EIP) ​for the Twin Cities. The forthcoming plan aims to address the myriad racial disparities and issues affecting Black communities in the Twin Cities — from mass incarceration and economic injustice to entrepreneurship and rising education costs.

The national organization previously released plans for three cities in February 2018. “Minneapolis and St. Paul were chosen due to the recent social unrest surrounding the police shootings of Philando Castile and Jamar Clark,” said Joel Franklin, JD, NAACP Minnesota/Dakotas Area State Conference President.

A who’s who of Black leadership gathered Dec. 10, hosted by the organization’s Minneapolis and St. Paul chapters, to begin the work and gather community input for the plan which is set to be released this spring.

Moderated by Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Redmond, panelists shared their expertise with the more than 100 attendees who packed the house at the Minneapolis Urban League in North Minneapolis.

Redmond told the MSR that they handpicked panelists from both Minneapolis and St. Paul areas “recognizing that these economic disparities are impacting both of us and that we need to be able to work together and move forward.”

Their conversations focused on solutions and pathways towards change, including Attorney General Keith Ellison’s call to end the war on drugs.

“I think it’s incredibly horrible to deprive someone of their freedom for something that is absolutely legal in three or four states of our union, [and] Mexico and Canada,” said Ellison. We have “to always oppose these mandatory minimum sentences, particularly in the drug area.”

“As an attorney, I can tell you it is more difficult to address when somebody is entangled in the criminal justice system than stopping them from ever getting there,” added Dr. Artika Tyner, associate vice president of diversity and inclusion, University of St. Thomas.

Ellison noted how systems use incarceration as a tool for certain populations “to be economically stronger” while draining Black communities and other communities of color. “What happens to the household economics when a parent goes to prison? What happens to that kid’s income?

“I know a guy who has not seen his dad face-to-face in over 11 years,” Ellison said. “He’s coming home. What will that mean to the family even if Dad just makes minimum wage? That kid’s income will go up.”

Bridging the wealth gap

Dr. Bruce Corrie, planning and economic development director for the City of St. Paul, explored the gap between the average income of St. Paul’s Black households and their housing costs, making most neighborhoods unaffordable to them. “We have a serious income problem that needs to be addressed. How do we build wealth? We really have to focus attention on very practical ways of building wealth at every level.”

Gary Cunningham, president and CEO of Meda, shared his visions for activating Black and communities of color to access entrepreneurship capital, referring to a report that it would take over 240 years for Blacks to accumulate the wealth of a White family today.

Tyner noted that when she received the same report in 2016, it was 228 years. “The gap will continue to grow because it’s like me telling you to get from home plate to a home run and I’m already on third base.”

“If we really want to change the game,” said Cunningham, “we have to open up the opportunities, and we’ve got to be ready to compete with those opportunities once they open up. But, we can’t do it just sitting in here.

“We got to go to the legislature, city hall, the County, because when you look at the numbers, there’s no way, statistically, this can happen,” he continued. “It’s just impossible to have that kind of outcome unless there’s something else happening in the system that keeps you from getting opportunities.”

Holding the system accountable

Me’Lea Connelly, Blexit founder and co-founding director of Black-owned credit union Village Financial, called for more than new laws to be passed. She challenged attorneys to sue for equitable treatment based on current laws.

“There’s a lot of data that we heard earlier that…Minnesota has been studied to death [for its] inequities, but there aren’t a lot of lawsuits,” said Connelly. “If there’s no accountability, no fear of consequence, then institutions like Wells Fargo — who preyed on Black communities and were the reason why we lost a huge amount of generational wealth — only get a slap on the wrist,” she said.

“I look back at ‘Nader’s Raiders’ and how that small initiative shaped corporate accountability for our country for generations to come,” Connelly continued, referring to a group of law students led by Ralph Nader in the ’60s and ’70s.

“[They were] a group of attorneys that sued the pants off of corporations to make them create regulations to make sure people were safe, specifically in the car industry. I would love it if the Black community in the United States became one of the most litigious communities in the world, because we’ve got plenty of reason to expose everybody,” she said.

Working together

The panel also called for those working toward change to build bridges across organizations and to lead by example.

“You can have all the skills and talent in the world as an entrepreneur, as a college graduate, but if someone does not show you the way, it does not matter,” said Tyner. “A job and a degree cannot bridge everything — build a ladder and help to create new opportunities.”

“I think the time has come for us to collectively go beyond our own egos and our own interest and our own visions to work together to build and take advantage of this momentum and make something really happen,” said Corrie. “But it can happen only if the whole village is involved.”

“But we got to be organized,” Cunningham added. “We’ve got to be on point and we’ve got to demand what we want or it won’t happen.”

The conversation continues at the Minneapolis NAACP’s State of Minneapolis inaugural address on Mon., Jan. 28, 6-8 pm at North Community High School,1500 James Ave. N., Minneapolis.

For more information, visit mplsnaacp.org.

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activism

Ask County Supervisors Not to Spend Millions in Tax Dollars on Oakland A’s Real Estate Deal

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

Published

on

A rendering of the proposed new A’s ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, surrounded by port cranes and warehouses. Image courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) and other groups are asking local residents to attend and speak at next week’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a proposal to spend county residents’ tax dollars to pay for the Oakland A’s massive multi-billion-dollar real estate deal at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland. 

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

The Stadium Alliance urges community members to “let (the supervisors) know that Alameda County residents don’t want our tax dollars to pay for a private luxury development. This proposal does not include privately funded community benefits and would harm our region’s economic engine – the port- putting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs at risk.”

 

“The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

Continue Reading

Community

Marin County Sheriff Sued for Illegally Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

Published

on

An example of ALPRs (www.pasadenanow.org)

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle has been sued for illegally sharing millions of local drivers’ license plates and location data, captured by a network of cameras his office uses, with hundreds of federal and out-of-state agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), over a dozen other federal law enforcement agencies, and more than 400 out-of-state law enforcement agencies.

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

The suit seeks to end the sheriff’s illegal practice of giving hundreds of agencies outside California access to a database of license plate scans used to identify and track people, revealing where they live and work, when they visit friends or drop their kids at school, and when they attend religious services or protests.

The lawsuit was filed in Marin County Superior Court by the ACLU Foundations of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego and Imperial Counties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and attorney Michael T. Risher representing community activists Lisa Bennett, Cesar S. Lagleva, and Tara Evans, who are longtime Marin community members.

License plate scans occur through Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs): high-speed cameras mounted in a fixed location or atop police cars moving through the community that automatically capture all license plates that come into view, recording the exact location, date, and time that the vehicle passes by.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office scans tens of thousands of license plates each month with its ALPR system. That sensitive personal information, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is stored in a database.

The sheriff permits hundreds of out-of-state agencies and several federal entities, including the Department of Homeland Security, to run queries of a license plate against information the sheriff has collected. The agencies are also able to compare their own bulk lists of vehicle license plates of interest, known as “hot lists,” against the ALPR information collected by the sheriff’s office. 

“In the hands of police, the use of ALPR technology is a threat to privacy and civil liberties, especially for immigrants. Federal immigration agencies routinely access and use ALPR information to locate, detain, and deport immigrants. The sheriff’s own records show that Sheriff Doyle is sharing ALPR information with two of the most rogue agencies in the federal government: ICE and CBP,” said Vasudha Talla, immigrants’ rights program director at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. “Police should not be purchasing surveillance technology, let alone facilitating the deportation and incarceration of our immigrant communities.”

California’s S.B. 34, enacted in 2015, bars this practice. The law requires agencies that use ALPR technology to implement policies to protect privacy and civil liberties, and specifically prohibits police from sharing ALPR data with entities outside of California. 

The sheriff also violates the California Values Act (S.B. 54), also known as California’s “sanctuary” law. Enacted in 2018, the law limits the use of local resources to assist federal immigration enforcement.

“The information unveiled through this lawsuit shows that the freedoms that people think they possess in Marin County are a mirage: people cannot move about freely without being surveilled,” said Bennett. “Our county sheriff, who has sworn to uphold the law, is in fact violating it by sharing peoples’ private information with outside agencies. This has especially alarming implications for immigrants and people of color: two communities that are traditionally the targets of excessive policing, surveillance, and separation from loved ones and community through incarceration or deportation.”

The Marin County Post’s coverage of local news in Marin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Community

The 157th Session of the AME Church’s California Annual Conference: Not Just Business as Usual

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

Published

on

Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District, ready for the 157th Session of the California Annual Conference

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

The renowned presiding elders, Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry and Rev. Dr. Vernon S. Burroughs, middle managers of this portion of Bishop Fugh’s charge, shared the accounts of their respective territories at the AME Church’s California Annual Conference via prerecorded videos at the meeting hosted by Churches of the Sacramento Valley. 

The lead congregation from the valley was Murph-Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in North Highlands, CA, which is pastored by Rev. Dr. Carieta Cain Grizzell, whose spouse Rev. Martin Grizzell is also known for his past ministry in the Bay Area. The venue church is served by the pastoral team of Rev. Robert R. Shaw and his partner, Assistant Pastor, Rev. Ann Champion Shaw. Murph-Emmanuel and Bethel A.M.E. Church were acclaimed by Bishop Fugh for their cooperation in this session of the California Annual Conference.  

Bethel A.M.E San Francisco looked like a television set had grown into the sanctuary, complete with multiple lights and cameras. There was a technical team (in person and on-line) primarily made up of young adult members of AME churches under the purview of the bishop. The meeting was a clear, joint effort of both clergy and lay people, more than in past years. Though the California Annual Conference has long made a point of including non-cleric church members, young and old, the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances have clearly advanced the Conference’s inclusivity.  

“The Word of God is Colorblind,” said Bishop Fugh during the retirement portion of the Annual Conference which honored the retirement of the host pastor. The diversity within churches of the California Annual Conference was on display at this 157th session of this historic meeting and it was clear that the leadership encourages the welcoming of all who would like to join with the church. 

There was an apparent focus on meeting safely, with limitations on those allowed to join in person. Attestations related to COVID-19 were required of registrants and a screening process was administered at the venue. The bishop commended the venue leadership and church for the dignity that was maintained during the process. 

Registration for Zoom attendance was also a painless process and open to whomever desired to attend the Webinar. The conference was accessible on Facebook as well as YouTube. The bishop also encouraged churches to make attendance as safe as possible while keeping the process simple and focusing on a quality worship experience. Bishop Fugh set a goal for represented churches to reopen their sanctuaries by the first Sunday of November. 

This session of the California Annual Conference carried with it the long-standing traditions of the first Christian denomination founded in response to social injustice over 200 years ago. The ministries reported primarily using pre-recorded videos this year as it all followed through decently and in order. Indeed, there was a genuine spirit of love during the conference.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending