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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minnesota House Select Committee on Racial Justice learns about historical trauma

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Saint Paul, Minn. — Members of the Minnesota House Select Committee on Racial Justice met today to learn about the impact of historical trauma on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Video of presentations and committee discussion will be posted here soon.  

“We know that trauma can be transmitted through generations and impact the health and well-being of people today,” said committee co-chair Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights). “If we want to see healing, we have to acknowledge and reckon with our painful past.” 

The committee’s third meeting featured presentations from Kate Beane, PhD, Carly Bad Heart Bull, JD, and Sam Simmons, LADC. Beane and Bad Heart Bull, who are sisters and members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Dakota nation, focused on the experiences of Indian Country and Simmons discussed the experiences of the African-American community. 

“It’s important for all lawmakers to fully comprehend the trauma Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have experienced over generations,” said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), co-chair of the select committee. “As we seek the changes necessary to deliver true racial justice, we must intentionally work to create policies that do not further harm these communities and structural racism does not continue to perpetuate inequities.”

"Centuries of inequities have led to deep historical trauma for people of color in our state and nation," said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. "It is our responsibility to acknowledge this trauma and do all we can to end the structural and institutional racism that causes it." 

The committee’s next meeting, on October 13, is devoted entirely to collecting public comments. Minnesotans can participate via Zoom, submit written comments, or leave a voicemail message. Contact Committee Legislative Assistant Binta Kanteh at or 651-296-882 for more information. 

The Select Committee on Racial Justice was established as part of a July 11 Minnesota House resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. A list of select committee members is available here