Members of the Minnesota House Select Committee on Racial Justice met today for a hearing devoted to the economic impact of systemic racism. Minnesotans can watch video of the entire conversation here beginning later today.
“Systemic racism is expensive and it leads to a less prosperous country and a less prosperous Minnesota,” said committee co-chair Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights). “Through a series of weekly hearings, we’ve set the groundwork for compiling bold recommendations and I’m grateful to everyone who participated in the process thus far, especially those closest to the real pain associated with these issues.”
Legislators began the meeting by watching an excerpt of the tpt documentary “Jim Crow of the North” followed by a presentation and Q&A with Dr. Bruce Corrie of Concordia St. Paul. Committee members also received a new report published September 2020 entitled “Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps: The Economic Cost of Black Inequality in the U.S.” The report, led by Citi, found that failure to address racial gaps between Blacks and whites in areas that include wages, housing, education, and business investment has cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion and 6.1 million jobs over the last 20 years.
“There is a cost associated with Economic racism. Minnesota continues to experience unacceptable economic disparities which impact employment, entrepreneurship, starting a small business or promoting fair living practices," said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), co-chair of the Select Committee. “We all must come together to work with diverse communities and the public and private sectors as a solution to eliminate disparities and create pathways for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color so that every Minnesotan can live up to their fullest potential.”
Today marked the final in a series of weekly hearings that began on September 22, 2020. Public comments and recommendations are still being accepted by the committee through Sunday, October 27, 2020. The focus will now turn to compiling a set of recommendations based on the expert testimony, public comments, and information gathered over the course of five hearings in order to put forth a slate of recommendations to be considered by the committee.
“It’s clear that inequities are holding back Minnesotans of color and hurting our state,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “We have to work together to eliminate these gaps and ensure all Minnesotans can build the futures they want for themselves and their families, no exceptions.”
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. Minnesotans can submit public comments and recommendations through October 27, 2020 by contacting committee administrator Laura Taken-Holtze at Laura.Taken-Holtze@house.mn.