The economic disparity between blacks and whites in Minnesota is the worst in the country. Finally, someone is trying to do something about it.
Gov. Mark Dayton issued a 17-page report last Friday on the ways he will attempt to close this economic gap. The bill is the result of a meeting Dayton had with north Minneapolis community leaders two weeks ago. There, he listened to many members of the community describe the severity of economic problems that are particular to the black community in Minneapolis.
Dayton has shown courage and accountability in doing what he can to start to tackle this issue. ItâÄôs about time someone in state politics stood up and tried to address the employment issues black Minnesotans face.
In his report, Dayton proposes providing training for north Minneapolis residents to prepare them for college or work, hiring more minorities in state agencies and contracting with more minority-owned businesses. He also previously created an affirmative action council through an executive order that will review the stateâÄôs affirmative action programs and suggest improvements.
Some of the proposals in his report need âÄî and should get âÄî support from the Legislature. For example, the Legislature will decide whether the Minnesota Department of Human Rights gets full funding.
That a governor is willing to shine a spotlight on and address the economic problems of the black community in Minnesota is refreshing and encouraging. Even better, Dayton backed up his words with action. But this is only a first step. Dayton and the Legislature should cooperate to make sure every Minnesotan gets a fair chance to get a job and succeed.