For the last 3 months, Growth & Justice has hosted Minnesota Equity Blueprint Breakfasts - Recipes for Success every other Wednesday, and through them we have had the privilege to hear from policy & community experts and have discussions with you, our community. Though we miss seeing and speaking with you face-to-face, we feel grateful to have convened virtually to review some of the incredibly important topics featured in the Blueprint: human capital, economic development, infrastructure, and environmental resilience, and this past week, democracy. We thank you for attending, listening, and engaging with topics across these segments. This past week, our final Blueprint Breakfast featured MN Humanities Center CEO and Growth & Justice board member Kevin Lindsey. Kevin gave a very moving presentation about democracy and the future of work. If you missed it, don’t worry. You can watch it here.
We know that there’s probably not much room for anything else on your mind this week as the election looms just days away, but we wanted to briefly plug the virtual gatherings that Growth & Justice plans to host in November and December to prioritize a legislative agenda for the 2021-22 session starting in January. During the Blueprint Breakfasts we reviewed and analyzed the Blueprint’s content, listened to experts, and asked questions. Also, over the summer and fall we reached out to co-creators of the Blueprint and members of the Thriving by Design Network – Rural & Urban Together to get their analysis and updates. Given the upheavals of 2020, it’s time to work together and compile revised policy priorities. We invite you— our Growth & Justice network, Blueprint Breakfast attendees, and partner networks of Thriving By Design, OneMN.org, the ALANA Community Brain Trust, and more — to join us for two larger Zoom events where you can help shape priorities. More information and invitations will come your way soon following the election. No matter how this election turns out, we have a lot of work to do.
Protect the Results is a coalition working to mobilize the masses if there is a threat to the election results. If a candidate refuses to peacefully transfer power or undermines the election process, Protect the Results aims to preserve our democracy. Their website includes a map to find mobilization events near you, as well as toolkits and important timelines. To sign up for a volunteer position at one of the tentative gatherings on Nov. 4, click here. Additionally, this is a Letter to the Editor messaging guide and a resource for submitting them to spread a message about counting every vote.
TRUE Tuesdays, hosted by the Transforming Rural Understanding of Equity Partnership, is another webinar series to tune into. The series is free, and aims to “identify, nurture, model and advance actions that support a rural Minnesota that is safe, inclusive and prosperous for all.” The next event in the series, “Healing in Equity Work Part 1: Understanding Trauma & Traumas of Oppression,” will take place on Nov. 10 from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
“How Volunteer EMTs Became America’s Last Line of First Response” is a great article from GEN, a publication from Medium (featuring both Rushford and Stewartville, MN!). It gives a vivid depiction of the weight of the work volunteer EMTs are doing in rural areas during COVID-19.
“Volunteers sustain the medical safety net for underserved rural communities, where hospital closures have widened gaps in health care access, and residents tend to be older, sicker, and poorer. In some regions, the gap in life expectancy between urban and rural residents is as wide as 20 years,” the article says.
This recent Star Tribune article reports that coronavirus cases have started to slow down on many Minnesota campuses following the spikes in infection levels in September. Health officials attribute this improvement to increased mask-wearing and social distancing, as well as “rapid contract tracing” and quarantines. College and university students are considered “ideal incubators” for the virus and can be linked to many of the cases in Minnesota. Looking ahead towards breaks and the holidays, campuses are now focused on retaining that improvement and keeping down more surges.
“We have to capture at this moment in time the imagination of the country to be greater, to pass on something, to open its arms wide… It’s never been more important to be a true patriot than it is now.” - Kevin Lindsey, CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center and Growth & Justice board member.