Feb. 13, 2014

In 2014, Minneapolis is the land of opportunity. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to build on the great work communities in our region have been doing to advance racial equity in employment.

This past November, residents elected seven new council members and also elected Betsy Hodges as mayor. Racial equity is now the theme in City Hall, and Mayor Hodges has said it will be a priority for her administration. HIRE Minnesota has been part of a collaboration, led by Voices for Racial Justice, to take advantage of this opportunity to create a racial equity vision for Minneapolis. On January 31, Council Member Elizabeth Glidden invited me, along with Vina Kay from Voices and Chaka Mkali from Hope Community, to discuss this vision and the work we see moving forward.

HIRE wants to keep building on the great achievements we have made in Minneapolis. Because of HIRE’s work, we see equitable employment principles taking shape on the Vikings stadium and those same principles will be applied to the Target Center’s renovation. But we want to see these principles employed across all infrastructure development in Minneapolis – whether the development be public facilities, housing development or transit.

We also want the city to recognize employment equity opportunities with new programs and projects they develop. Over the next year Minneapolis will be creating a city-wide composting program. There will be jobs associated with the program that people of color should be filling.

These possibilities would not exist without the work communities have been leading for years. The foundation that has been laid by this work has created a place to increase racial equity in employment in Minneapolis and across the region. And we’re going to continue to take advantage of these opportunities.