Statement from Founder & CEO Tawanna Black
in Response to the State of the City by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

Contact: Tawanna Black 612-351-8212
Doug Stone 651-336-9907

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Minneapolis May 24, 2018—

I congratulate Mayor Frey on his first State of the City address and the continued commitment to economic growth and prosperity illustrated in his remarks today. We share the goal of an inclusive economy and recently launched the Center for Economic Inclusion to accelerate progress across all sectors to achieve it.

Earlier this spring, Mayor Frey made a commitment to the Center for Economic Inclusion, endorsing our approach to acting locally and thinking regionally to advance inclusive growth by elevating data-driven practices and inclusive policies with an explicit lens on race, place and income. This approach ensures that our region thrives because of people of color, and not in spite of them. I appreciated hearing commitments to that partnership in his speech today.

We’re all aware there’s much to celebrate about Minneapolis, but that people of color are disproportionately excluded from those opportunities and prosperity. For more than two decades policymakers, corporations, nonprofits, and foundations have pledged to close these gaps, but with little to show for it. For example, in ten years, we closed the racial employment gap by 1 percentage point.*

Collectively, our regional leadership hasn’t lacked the will to achieve equity, but the infrastructure. The Center was created to fill this gap: a dedicated organization focused on advancing inclusive growth practices and strategies, integrating community voices and cross-sector development, and partnering with public, private, and nonprofit agencies to ensure local development efforts drive regional results.

Today, the Mayor highlighted the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center employment results as an example of the power of a community, nonprofits, government, and employers working together to create economic vitality in just one year. Our experience and data show that development efforts are only successful in achieving and sustaining long-term economic inclusion when they’re designed in partnership with currently excluded communities and with employers actively engaged from design to implementation.

Indeed, a similar effort was launched one year ago in North Minneapolis by the City of Minneapolis and DEED, at the new 800 West Broadway WorkForce Center housing several community-based partners including our own North@Work program for African American men, and we must be diligent to ensure private sector employers are engaged to produce comparable employment results in every part of the region.

It IS possible – and essential – to create an economy that works for everyone, and it will only happen when we all lean in and maximize the opportunities before us, in every role, organization, and sector. The Center is proud to be a catalyst, partner, and resource with Mayor Frey and the City of Minneapolis for organizations throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

*According to MN Compass, the employment gap between people of color and whites in Minneapolis-St. Paul was 38% in 2006 and 37% in 2016.