Religious leaders invite Dayton and Emmer to interfaith meeting on ending inequities

A group of religious leaders will go to the state Capitol Wednesday to invite the next governor to work with them to eliminate inequities in education, health, transit, jobs, and development facing people of color.

To cover their bases, they’re inviting both Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer.

The group — ISAIAH — is a collection of many religious congregations working for racial and economic justice.

They’ve already held house meetings with 4,000 Minnesotans representing 105 congregations from 12 faiths or denominations in 53 cities. Now they’re planning a Dec. 5 summit in Minneapolis and would like both candidates for governor to attend.

The group sees many inequities in the state:

“People of color living in Minneapolis are three times more likely to be unemployed than white people, and disparities in health between Minnesotans of color and white Minnesotans are some of the worst in the nation,” said Rev. Paul Slack, pastor of New Creation Church in Brooklyn Park, and co-chair of ISAIAH’s Clergy and Religious Leaders Caucus. “It is very clear to me that by almost every measure, you’re more likely to have opportunities closed off to you in Minnesota if you are a person of color. A deep partnership between people of faith and the next governor will help us change that.”

To resolve the problem, they want to work closely with the next governor:

“We need the next governor of our state, and the next governor needs us,” said Rev. Grant Stevensen, pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul and president of ISAIAH. “We are ready to work with whoever emerges as the governor to address these profound moral challenges.”

The Dec. 5 summit, called “Shining the Light: A Faith Gathering for Minnesota’s Future,” will run from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom.

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