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Minneapolis 2040 Plan will help create an economy that works for everyone

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Tawanna Black
As Minneapolis heads into the final stages of approval its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the Center for Economic Inclusion commends Mayor Jacob Frey and the city leaders who have prominently centered racial equity in their vision for the future of our community. We also applaud the hundreds of residents who dedicated hours of their time reading the plan over the last several months, offering their feedback and perspectives on its strengths and weaknesses with the goal of helping our city leaders pursue the best, most equitable vision for inclusive growth possible.

Now that the Planning Commission has endorsed the revised plan, we urge the City Council to support both the plan’s goal of reducing disparities and the implementation of policies and investments that proactively and measurably increase equity between whites and people of color in Minneapolis.

The Center for Economic Inclusion exists to provide business, political, and civic leaders with the information and tools necessary to grow our region’s economy by $32 billion by 2040 by fully, consistently and significantly engaging people of color in our workforce and by contracting with businesses owned by people of color in professional services and supply chains. We are advocating to city leaders across the region that their Comprehensive Plan will set the course for significantly growing their local economy by strategically engaging everyone.

Four important priorities

To achieve inclusive economic growth, the center urged every jurisdiction in the region to include four priorities in their comprehensive plan. Every comprehensive plan needs:

  • a goal to develop a racially equitable economy;
  • data analysis, consistently disaggregated by race, to identify racial disparities in access to affordable housing, transit, living wage jobs and economic development;
  • policies and strategies specifically designed to close the identified racial disparities and advance economic opportunity; and
  • a commitment to evaluating the impact of these policies and strategies on people of color, and to adapting those policies and strategies based on that evaluation.

It is also imperative that these plans are anchored by firm and annual investments and institutionalized policies and practices for sustainable impact.

Minneapolis 2040 includes these components. Notably, the plan’s goal to reduce disparities and improve outcomes for people of color in housing, employment, safety and health is the most clearly articulated vision of racial equity that we’ve seen in the draft plans submitted so far in the region.

The center is clear that embedding racial equity in comprehensive plans should not be motivated by charity. Rather, employing our entire talent base to address the labor shortages of our region’s employers, building vibrant cultural commercial corridors that expand our sales tax base and strengthening our tourism industry, and being more intentional about the interdependencies of our business attraction and retention, transit, and housing strategies to ensure that employers have access to the talent and goods that they need to grow and thrive, will be good for Minneapolis and all Minnesotans.

Compete through economic inclusion

Our shared desire to grow the competitiveness of our region and a commitment to live out our values should motivate us to move beyond competing with ourselves by overlooking local growth opportunities through economic exclusion, and start competing with other cities – and winning – through economic inclusion.

During his recent visit to the Twin Cities as a part of the center’s Powering Inclusion event series, Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution demonstrated that cities that invest in neighborhoods and entrepreneurs of color have thriving economies – more so than cities and regions that do not. He called on us to take action to influence these comprehensive plans to focus investments in the people and the assets within our communities of color – because it is in our shared self-interest to do so.

Minneapolis 2040 goes a long way toward identifying racially inclusive growth strategies that will benefit all individuals, families, neighborhoods, the entire city and the region. There’s more work to do, however, in collecting data, designing policies to reduce racial disparities, and implementing the plan.

While Minneapolis’ plan shows great promise and deserves the support of the City Council, the city cannot go it alone. Economic growth is regional, and our region’s nation-leading racial inequities in wealth, health, income, housing and employment didn’t happen by chance. They won’t disappear by chance either.

Minneapolis can drive regional growth and create equity by investing in and leveraging the assets, talent, leadership, innovation and culture within every corner of our city. Let the City Council know you share their commitment to creating an economy – and a city – that works for everyone.

Tawanna Black is the founder and CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion, a cross-sector organization aimed at building a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable region for all by emphasizing a diverse workforce.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Ed Felien on 11/12/2018 - 12:29 pm.

    People don’t oppose this plan because they’re not in favor of racial equity. In fact, it’s precisely because we do believe in racial and cultural equity that we oppose this plan. What Ms Black doesn’t tell us is that the principal objection to the 2040 Plan is that it dramatically rezones the inner city to allow apartment building construction without review by neighborhood organizations. This is happening in neighborhoods of color and not in the almost all-white neighborhoods. They tell us, “We’re going to give you racial equity by eliminating your neighborhood.” The Center for Economic Inclusion is a creature of the Chambers of Commerce. One other active board member is Thor Companies–they build cheap apartment buildings. They say, “THOR Living redefines the approach to multi-unit solutions.”

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/12/2018 - 03:43 pm.

      “Eliminating your neighborhood.”

      Yeah, that’s what’s happening here.

      Thor is the largest African-American owned business in Minnesota and one of the biggest African-American owned construction companies in the country. But I guess they are nothing more than a company that “build(s) cheap apartment buildings.” Tell me again about racial equity?

    • Submitted by R. Hanson on 11/12/2018 - 04:50 pm.

      The owner of THOR is a N. Minneapolis resident. They just built a new headquarters for at Penn and Plymouth, across the street from the Minneapolis Urban League building that they built 25 years ago. None of the building contractors who cater to the “almost all-white neighborhoods” live in those neighborhoods, or even in Minneapolis.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 11/12/2018 - 04:10 pm.

    Put in policies that create good paying jobs in Minneapolis. End of problem.

    • Submitted by Patrick Steele on 11/13/2018 - 10:09 am.

      Totally agree. The City’s new minimum wage is a good start, but it’s hard to argue that $15/hr is a living wage and the ramp up is too slow. Mandatory healthcare coverage, paid leave, and other worker protections should also be in the pipeline. After more than a generation of a rightward slide at the national level, it’s clear that local politics is where we can move the needle.

  3. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/13/2018 - 09:34 pm.

    Nah …I do not buy the writers argument. Mr Felien’s comment …”….People don’t oppose this plan because they’re not in favor of racial equity. In fact, it’s precisely because we do believe in racial and cultural equity that we oppose this plan…..” However in this news age the full scope of the 2040 plan does not get discussed. We keep of reading and hearing over and again what we see in this piece. I have been around this city for awhile and some areas never get from the city the kind of support they need. Once the city focuses on the people and housing of these neighborhoods the entire city will improve. We need a massive affirmative action program for housing loans, rental control city wide, and even better wage and healthcare support. Otherwise we will end up with a bunch of empty buildings. I regret some have turned people’s lives into a giant monopoly game. But hey as long as the city gives developers, and tycoon real estate sales people cover we will degrade even more. If these people are going to make money hand over fist obligate them by law to cover for the other infrastructure upgrades needed.

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