MINNEAPOLIS (March 10, 2016) — Voices for Racial Justice, in partnership with community organizations throughout Minnesota, released the 2016 Racial Equity Agenda this morning at a racial justice rally at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill.
The “We the People are Leading for Change” agenda addresses the urgency to build racial equity in a state that faces some of the worst racial disparities in the nation. Following the killing of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police in 2015, community organizers called for a special session of the legislature to address racial disparities. Legislative leaders did not agree to hold a special session.
The theme of the agenda is We the People, highlighting the voices and solutions of people of color and American Indians in Minnesota. “Given what happened in 2015, We the Peoplemust address racial disparities in the upcoming legislative session. Despite the fact that addressing racial disparities might be controversial, we must address them. Furthermore, with a budget surplus, we have the resources to begin to do so,” says Brett Grant, research and policy director at Voices for Racial Justice.
Key principles in the Agenda call for the adoption and implementation of racial equity solutions to guide all state policymaking, as well as authentic community engagement that allows the perspectives of American Indian communities and communities of color to inform policymaking and practice. The Agenda also calls for policy change on issues including tribal sovereignty, education, housing, employment, health, police accountability, criminal justice reform, transportation and the environment.
The Racial Equity Agenda builds on the 10-year experience that Voices for Racial Justice (formerly known as the Organizing Apprenticeship Project) has in producing a Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. As in previous years, this year’s Agenda is community-driven, drawing on the organizing, advocacy and policy efforts of partners, and the experiences that communities of color and American Indian communities have in building racial equity in Minnesota.
Following the release of the Agenda, Voices for Racial Justice plans to release a mid-session Racial Equity Bill Watch, and the 2015-2016 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity in the summer of 2016.
See the 2016 Racial Equity Agenda and a list of partners at http://voicesforracialjustice.