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ENEWS: Racial Equity Dividends, Democracy Backsliding, Smart Investments in MN Students

Date Published: 01/27/2022

Author: Erin Wilson

Center for Economic Inclusion’s work featured in Star Tribune 

The Star Tribune recently published an article (written by Dee DePass) on the Minnesota Racial Equity Dividends Index created by the Center for Economic Inclusion. The Racial Equity Dividends Index allows companies to register and “assess their equity and inclusion progress against 37 ‘standards of excellence’ used to build racially inclusive workplaces and supply chains,” the article says. The companies then receive a score and a report on progress and areas for potential growth. 

“Having one "collective tool" might help area businesses and the county identify equity gaps. The county could then address specific goals with public-private partnerships or new training or workforce programs,” the article reads. 

Democracy, Voter Rights & Suppression, and Redistricting

For this week’s section on democracy, voter rights & suppression, and redistricting, we’re linking to an opinion article in the Washington Post called “Why should we worry that the U.S. could become an ‘anocracy’ again? Because of the threat of civil war" by Barbara F. Walter, the Rohr Professor of International Relations at the School of Global Policy & Strategy at the University of California at San Diego. The article cites the Center of Systemic Peace’s classification of the U.S. as an “anocracy” near the end of Donald Trump’s presidency— and while the classification did return to “democracy,” Walter warns that even the temporary slide into anocracy is cause for extreme concern and we could easily find ourselves returning to it. Anocracies are “neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic,” containing some elements of democracy that are maintained while other elements struggle. 

“Democratic backsliding had happened incrementally, like the erosion of a shoreline. The process is especially difficult for Americans to recognize because exceptionalism is baked into our founding myth: We are a city on a hill. We are different,” Walter writes. 

Reflecting on G & J’s influential publications - Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students (2008)

In honor of our 20th anniversary celebration this spring, we’re putting together a timeline of the most influential Growth & Justice policy publications over the years. In each week’s e-news, we’ll feature a notable past publication for your review and reflection. This week will focus on Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students (2008). 

Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students asserts that without investing in producing more students with postsecondary degrees, Minnesota “will not have enough skilled working adults to sustain our economy or quality of life at the levels most of us have enjoyed,” (Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students, 2008, p. 2). To avoid this, the report said to increase the number of students with postsecondary degrees by 50% before the year 2020. To do this, the report provides guidance for investing in a student from birth through college, choosing the best strategies based on economic analysis, and raising enough money fairly. The project was completed in three phases over the course of almost two years. Those phases included gathering key stakeholders to create a committee, finding and charging a group of scholars in education finance and economics with researching best strategies for achieving desirable educational outcomes in Minnesota, and finally, using those strategies, deciding how to best invest “along the educational pathway” (Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students, 2008, preface).  

MN Equity Map Spotlight 

This week’s spotlight is on Uniting Cultures/Uniendo Culturas. Read the full story on the Equity Map and follow our social media for more story summaries! Please add more stories by filling out this form if you or your organization/initiative would like to be featured on the map! 

Uniting Cultures/Uniendo Culturas (Saint James, MN) began in the hopes of helping marginalized community members feel welcome & included in Saint James. They’ve organized many programs/projects, such as Culture through Cuisine, an annual Multicultural Fiesta, the “Your Story, My Story, Our Story” book and more. Read their story on the map! 


“Most Americans don’t seem particularly concerned. They have faith in our long-standing institutions, and the threat of authoritarianism seems distant. But anocracy, not autocracy, is our most immediate threat. Anocracy is usually transitional — a repressive government allows reforms, or a democracy begins to unravel — and it is volatile. When a country moves into the anocracy zone, the risk of political violence reaches its peak; citizens feel uncertain about their government’s power and legitimacy. Compared with democracies, anocracies with more democratic than autocratic features are three times more likely to experience political instability or civil war.” “Why should we worry that the U.S. could become an ‘anocracy’ again? Because of the threat of civil war" in the Washington Post 

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