The House Select Committee on Racial Justice adopted a new report last week chronicling persistent racial disparities and detailing specific policies to dismantle systemic racism in Minnesota, according to a release from the House DFL Caucus.
“I’m proud of the Select Committee’s hard work this year to help Minnesotans understand the historical context behind systemic racism, and to give the unacceptable racial disparities throughout the state the attention they deserve,” said co-chair Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul. “Now, it’s time for the rest of the Legislature to follow through on these important recommendations to help Black, Indigenous, and people of color live healthy, safe, and prosperous lives full of opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The Select Committee’s policy recommendations address intentional and unintentional systemic disparities and inequities based on race, the release said. The recommendations – which cover topics including economic development, housing, education, public safety, health and human services, and environmental justice – have the goal of expanding access to the opportunity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and senseless murder of George Floyd shined a light on the historical and contemporary injustices that are still embedded in our society,” said co-chair Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights. “The work we did on this select committee was long overdue and it represents a commitment to bring about meaningful change in our state and the Minnesota House as an institution.”
Established as part of a July 11 Minnesota House resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, the Select Committee was charged with analyzing legislative efforts through an intersectional race and equity lens. In early fall, the Select Committee held a series of weekly hearings focused on providing definitions, a historical framework, and current data related to the impact of systemic racism and race-related disparities in the fields of health, education, housing, public safety, and economics. One of the hearings was devoted entirely to hearing testimony from members of the public.
“The Minnesota House of Representatives is playing an active role in dismantling systems that have denied dignity, respect, and compassion to so many for so long,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Next year the Legislature will create a new budget, and this select committee’s recommendations – and the voices it is lifting up – should be at the center of our work. I want to thank co-chairs Moran and Richardson for their leadership and for proposing specific recommendations we can take to build safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all Minnesotans.”