A Common Thread
If we were to look deep and ask ourselves what are the most important issues that need to be addressed in the Minnesota legislature session this spring, what would they be? As the purpose of each of our groups and community organizations that we are working with in this class have unfolded, I think there is a common thread that can be found. It seems to run, not only through NEDA, Voices for Racial Justice, and the Eastside Enterprise Center, but through the content of the course itself. That thread is creating real change, systemic change, and social change that brings JUSTICE. How long do our undeserved communities have to wait for justice? Ask yourself: how long does my neighborhood have to wait for justice?
Before session is out Neighborhoods Organizing for Change(NOC from here on) is pushing for systemic changes with the United Black Legislative Agenda and asking the Legislature to stick to their priorities. “The legislature had three priorities starting out this session, ” said Anthony Newby of NOC. “Real ID, Iron Range unemployment, and racial disparities. The first two have been addressed.”
“It must Change”
Along with some other big namers; African American Leadership Forum, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, Council of Minnesotans of African Heritage, the Somali Community of Minnesota, and the Urban League, who co-created the United Black Legislative Agenda, the NOC does not want to see their agenda put on hold. “It must change,” said Jeff Hassan, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum. “We can no longer afford to allow the crisis of chronic unemployment and lack of access to capital in black communities to continue…This agenda will help put us on a path of more inclusive and just Minnesota for its Black residents.” And when I read the agenda, I could not help but think how much it is OUR AGENDA. I mean, this agenda has so much to do with what we are working on with our community partners and talking about in class.
We have pondered over a host of questions and concerns.
- Why is there so much economic disparity between whites and minority groups?
- Why are we not providing capital to black businesses (and other minority/ immigrant communities) so we can tap into their full potential? How can we ensure that immigrant communities have the knowledge they need to navigate our financial system?
- Why is there such a high percentage of the population in prison? How can we keep struggling youth from succumbing to the school to prison pipeline? Why do we isolate prisoners after they have served their time by not allowing them to vote?
- How do we keep the police force accountable? How can we eliminate anti-Islamic violence? How do we bridge the gap of understanding between the dominant culture and someone wearing a hijab?
Join NOC in the fight to bring justice to Minnesota neighbors.
Each of our Organizations is fighting to change these injustices right here in the Twin Cities. Neighborhoods Organizing for Change is doing the same. And let me tell you the battle is fierce. The Minneapolis Fire Department has determined arson to be the cause of a fire that destroyed NOC’s office building on Broadway Ave. NOC was “stunned, saddened, and outraged – but NOT intimidated.”
It is shocking to see that people feel so strongly against the mission of NOC that they would burn their building down. Hopefully, it shocks US into action the way it has NOC, who stated, “we’re more determined than ever to invest in our community, rebuild our vibrant block and reclaim our organizing space.”
Before session is out support the undeserved communities that have been put on hold for to long by participating in one of three ways.
Join the conversation with NOC about the United Black Legislative Agenda.
Sign the petition to tell Rep. Newberger we need transit to get to jobs not prison.
Sign the petition to support the right to vote upon release from incarceration.