Last spring, the city of Minneapolis hired Tyeastia Green to restart the racial justice work that collapsed after most staff in the city’s Division of Race and Equity quit in frustration. Mayor Frey’s budget proposes that Green lead a newly created Department of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Green’s putting together an ambitious agenda, including the annual publication of the “Minneapolis Inequity Report,” more robust and ongoing racial equity trainings for city employees, and fundraising for projects she can’t do within her city budget.
Today, on the one-year anniversary of oil flowing through Enbridge’s new Line 3 tar sands pipeline, Honor the Earth has released a video showing the extent of unreported construction damage.
“We are only beginning to understand the extent of Enbridge’s damage to our fragile fresh water systems – compounded by their botched attempts to fix it,” Honor the Earth said in a media release.
“Minnesota state agencies have not done enough to keep the public informed or ensure our water is safe. Instead, state regulators have continued protecting the Canadian multinational. But the new video evidence says it all: Enbridge has done even more damage than previously known, and they don’t know how to fix it. They must be held accountable and stopped.”
Today’s history lesson is on the Minnesota Gold Rush of 1866.
Never heard of it? That’s because 1) It fizzled, and 2) It’s a history we don’t tell because it reflects so poorly on our colonial past. While now but a historical footnote, the Minnesota Gold Rush did incredible harm to the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people living in northeastern Minnesota.
Minneapolis city leaders say their controversial plan to expand the Public Works yard in East Phillips has been in the works for years, an effort to upgrade aging facilities and improve efficiencies.
Much less discussed is how the Public Works project is part of an interlocking set of city plans to build a new fire station and sell city land for private development.
The city’s plan also violates its commitments to reduce racial disparities, an issue city leaders have failed to address.
The East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) strongly opposes the city’s plan, saying it would increase local air pollution and harm residents’ health.
While the city has downplayed resident health concerns, federal health agencies recently released a map ranking East Phillips in the highest tier of its Environmental Justice Index, which identifies “communities most at risk for facing the health impacts of environmental hazards.”
Here is a more complete picture of why the city is breaking its racial equity commitments. It begs the question: Just when does the city plan to start living up to those commitments?
Minneapolis city leaders are once again at a fork in the road in their commitment to racial justice.
At issue are competing visions to redevelop the Roof Depot site in the East Phillips neighborhood.
Mayor Jacob Frey wants the city to use the Roof Depot site to expand the existing Public Works yard near Hiawatha Avenue to consolidate Public Works operations.
The East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) wants to develop the site into a community-owned asset, with “an indoor urban farm, affordable housing, cultural markets, and incubators for small businesses near accessible public transit.”
Since 2017, the City of Minneapolis has made several racial justice commitments. They seem to align with EPNI’s plan much better than the city’s Public Works plan.
The City Council will vote on Roof Depot site demolition this week, the first step in expanding the Public Works yard. City councilmembers supporting the project need to explain to the public how their vote meets the city’s racial justice commitments.