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Date Published: 11/06/2020

Author: Jane Leonard


We send you a special enews, one reminding us all that despite the election upheavals this week (and more so because of them…), the work of G & J continues. We keep on keeping on, propelling and communicating regional, racial, and environmental equity — with inclusive, sustainable growth and social justice as our guiding principles. 

We seek your ongoing participation, guidance, and financial support as we enter 2021. With your steadfast help, and building on the past three years of research, community engagement, and policy and practice ideas from the Minnesota Equity Blueprint, we can continue to create a Minnesota where equity is our North Star. If you would like to continue or increase your giving this year, you have several opportunities to do so. One avenue is happening right now through November 19, via Give to the Max, at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Growth-And-Justice — or you can give directly to Growth & Justice. 

Why do we reach out now? It is the end of the year and we do need your support, but more so, a key outcome of this week’s election is crystal clear: bridge building across many differences will take a generation of social, ethical, and economic investment, to boost our state and our country forward with everyone included, recognized, and having opportunity to thrive.  

This year has been painful to us as Americans and as Minnesotans. We’ve witnessed bitter partisan paralysis, the tacit endorsement by many of violent white supremacists, and the rising tide of COVID-19 revealing inequities and disinvestment in our public health systems and elsewhere. On Memorial Day weekend, we watched George Floyd die in police custody, and our Minnesota community became a major epicenter of our nation’s long overdue racial reckoning. 

In June 2020, Growth & Justice’s previous groundwork and bridge-building partnerships, particularly with OneMN.org, our major partner in the Equity Blueprint creation, helped us move quickly forward in alliance with over 30 African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA-led) organizations in the Twin Cities to help start the ALANA Community Brain Trust with OneMN.org.  

This multi-disciplinary, multi-racial collaborative of community and financial expertise is securing and coordinating wealth-building resources (technical assistance and funding) to reduce ALANA economic and social disparities and build capacity and capital for a social and economic renaissance. We’re helping implement—in real-time—specific Blueprint recommendations to build a more equitable, clean, safe, and healthy Minnesota.  

We ask for your continued engagement and support as we continue this work into 2021 and 2022. If you would like to learn more, please join us for two virtual convenings to prioritize a 2021-2022 legislative agenda, on November 18 and December 16, noon to 1 p.m., based on the Equity Blueprint and ALANA Community Brain Trust efforts thus far. 

With your continued and increased support, we will also be able to build and disseminate an equity story map with partners statewide to capture, spotlight, and share the ever-growing amount of equity and inclusion initiatives across the state. The map will also identify gaps and foster an exchange of ideas and resources that are both location and category-based. In partnership with students at the University of Minnesota-Morris’s Center for Small Towns, we are testing this approach now using Google MyMaps and summaries of extensive interviews with people and organizations who are doing this work across the state. 

Finally, we are working in partnership with Region 5 Development Commission in Central Minnesota, to build a practical guide/toolkit for the equity work to happen as locally as possible. Watch for this to come out in early 2021. The guide is a “test drive” of the Equity Blueprint’s best practices, showing how equitable economic development methods – built and surfaced by local citizens who favor sustainable, equitable growth and inclusive, welcoming attitudes and behaviors – can be scaled up or replicated in similar communities. 

What we’re seeing in communities statewide gives us hope. Despite some of the depressing narratives coming out of the 2020 election season, many Minnesotans are already moving past authoritarian fear mongering, anger, and the gaslit message that economic growth must have winners and losers. 2020 has taught us that though Growth & Justice is a small organization, we have a mighty and relevant message for our times: Equity for all—social and economic—is the smart and sustainable growth strategy.   

Thanks to your support thus far, we’ve proved in a most difficult year that Growth & Justice is resilient, relevant, and valued as a crucial partner and trusted source of expertise in a world that is finally, actively seeking solutions that recognize and lift up the global majority we are becoming. With your continued support, we can and will leverage the powerful energy of passionate people working together to realize regional, racial, and environmental equity in our lifetimes. Your gifts of time, advice, and funding will support the next quantifiable steps in what promises to be a historic Minnesotan and American journey.  

Most sincerely, 

Jane Leonard, President, Growth & Justice 

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