Looming in the shadow of Labor Day is the continual loss of businesses in the midst of the pandemic, and conflicts with fair labor that have come fully into focus. In the Twin Cities alone, many local businesses have suffered, and several— many of which were staples of their neighborhoods & communities— have closed their doors indefinitely. Surly Brewing, for example, recently announced its closure, as did Butcher & the Boar. Employees at Surly Brewing and Stilheart and Lawless distilleries recently expressed intentions to unionize, reflecting a larger national trend of high support for labor unions, and similarly a prominent movement of unions demanding racial justice. At the same time, many community-based efforts, such as the University of Minnesota’s Office of Public Engagement “Summer of EngageMNt,” answered the call to help local businesses cope with pandemic-related struggles.
The Community Economics team at University of Minnesota Extension is doing great work on the small business development front. They offer a wonderful array of webinars on topics such as rural business retention, the changes in Minnesota’s retail economy, and conducting community economy surveys. Today they hosted (virtually) the 2020 Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference, which serves as an incredible intersection for “entrepreneurs, business leaders, economic development professionals, decision makers, and community champions” to network, learn and share resources. Growth & Justice also assisted in organizing the conference, along with many other organizations.
Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Rural LISC and the Housing Assistance Council, recently hosted “Immigrants and Rural Economies Weathering the Pandemic Together,” the second event in a lineup of wonderful Rural Opportunity and Development (ROAD) Sessions. You can access the recording and slideshow here. You can read more and register for their next session here, titled “Facing Rural Housing Challenges in the Unfolding Pandemic.”
It’s infrastructure week next week at Growth & Justice! Our MN Equity Blueprint Breakfasts -- Recipes for Success series -- continues on Sept 16, from 8 to 8:30 a.m. with guest Diane Wells of the MN Office of Broadband Development. Diane will give us an update us on the state of broadband in Minnesota – a huge necessity in the age of COVID! And to celebrate the Honeycrisp apple season, our breakfast recipe theme is baked apple pancakes! You can register for the event here and read the infrastructure chapter of the MN Equity Blueprint here.
"Today, Black workers are more likely to be unionized than any other segment of the workforce as a result of decades of collaboration between labor and civil rights activists, said New York University professor and civil rights historian Thomas Sugrue.” - AP News