For a better understanding of how broader and deeper racial inequality provoked the George Floyd protests, Growth & Justice highly recommends a recent blog published by The Brookings Institution, written by Tawanna Black, founder & CEO of the Twin Cities-based Center for Economic Inclusion, and Andre Perry of Brookings. “George Floyd’s Death Demonstrates the Policy Violence that Devalues Black Lives” offers fresh data that show wide gaps in employment, income, wealth and police stops for African-American Minnesotans. The authors conclude that “the racial attitudes that lead police to choke Black people are the same that exclude Black people from employment and investment opportunities…George Floyd’s death represents not just a failure of policing, but a failure of economic policy, a failure to close wealth and homeownership gaps, and a failure to value Black lives.’’ As the protests here and across the country were getting underway, Ms. Black and the Center issued a “Call to Action’’ to business and policy leaders, drawing from the Center’s Inclusive Recovery Agenda. The statement implores leaders to “identify actions your corporation can take this summer to align your investments, employment, procurement, and policy agendas’’ toward racial equity. We at Growth & Justice wholeheartedly agree and will continue our actions to rise up for restorative justice and collaborate with others to ensure an equitable economic recovery.
Our substantial and comprehensive work on supporting rural-urban connections – specifically the Thriving by Design - Rural & Urban Together process to co-create the Minnesota Equity Blueprint -- is getting national attention. Our process was featured in a recently-completed national study and report on Regional Solutions for Rural and Urban Challenges by LOCUS Impact Investing. Last July, we hosted the LOCUS project team and connected them with various partners across Minnesota that also were featured in the study. We were one of just seven locations selected out of 65 considered across the United States. The case study on Minnesota is also featured in a newly published article in State & Local Government Review.
Growth & Justice staff is involved and learning from the Listen First Project, the Aspen Institute’s Weave Project and the recent launch of #WeavingCommunity . This effort is a social community campaign to ensure we learn the lessons from this pandemic and unrest, how to use this time to heal our divisions and create the firm footing of connection that will allow our nation and democracy to thrive after the crises. The campaign invites honest conversation, authentic human connection, and meaningful civic action and strives to turn this moment of shared pain into a moment of shared possibility.
“The work of building a racially and economically inclusive region does not begin with an initiative, a tweet, or a statement to our employees. It does not begin with task forces or philanthropy or press conferences. This work takes deep, meaningful daily action in the places where business takes place (and where) leaders make clear that inclusion and equity IS business.” – Tawanna Black, founder and CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion.