Let’s be clear.
Although Minnesotans have seen significant policy changes within the last few years, disparities that disenfranchise and isolate communities of color around the state continue to exist. In order to eliminate these disparities, we must work to engage communities in the conversation and analysis, as well as think critically about the way in which proposed policies affect communities around the state.
On February 18th, Voices for Racial Justice released the 2015 Racial Equity Agenda: Clear Solutions for an Equitable Minnesota, which highlights the goals and potential solutions that build racial equity throughout the state. This agenda encompasses the critical issues that continue to harm communities of color today and proposes solutions to these issues.
The mid-session Racial Equity Bill Watch is a working list compiled by Voices for Racial Justice and our allies as part of our effort to push for legislation that addresses barriers to racial equity in Minnesota. Bills were selected for the Bill Watch based on their potential to impact racial disparities positively or negatively.
A positive racial equity bill must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Does the legislation explicitly address racial disparities and work to eliminate racial inequities?
- Will the legislation help eliminate barriers to access to public benefits and institutions for communities of color?
- Does the legislation advance enfranchisement and full civic participation for everyone in the state?
- Will the legislation protect against racial violence, racial profiling, and discrimination?
- Does the legislation preserve, protect, and/or strengthen the ability of American Indian tribes to exercise their rightful sovereignty?
We encourage racial justice advocates, legislators, community members, and individuals throughout the state of Minnesota to look at the 2015 Racial Equity Bill Watch and alert us to any additional issues or legislation that you may be following. The Bill Watch is a working list that will be updated continually until the end of the legislative session. We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as our website at www.voicesforracialjustice.org.
Sebastian Zeck is a current HECUA intern with Voices for Racial Justice and a senior studying social justice at the University of Minnesota. He has spent this semester tracking racial equity bills at the Minnesota Legislature.