The episodes in this section are the stories of Minnesotans who experience racial disparity. The introduction highlights the Itasca Project and the Brookings Institution’s Mind the Gap report. The Itasca Project is a group of business leaders and policy-makers who are concerned about the future business vitality and competitiveness of the region. According to the report, race is one of the three major types of disparities in the Twin Cities, the other two being class and place. |
The Twin Cities are often presented as a national success story on a number of indicators, but a glance at racial disparities in the region paints a different picture. Disparities start early in life. Twin Cities minority residents tend to have lower levels of educational attainment, which puts them at a disadvantage in today’s changing economy. Lack of education often leads people of color to being locked in a cycle of lower-skill and lower-wage jobs without a possibility of improving their situations. Not surprisingly, minorities are less likely to be insured or have adequate health care. As the population of minority residents grows, these disparities are bound to have a larger impact on the entire region. Addressing these disparities will require joint efforts on the part of the government, civic organizations, businesses, and community leaders. The Itasca Project hopes to engage communities around the region in understanding and eliminating these disparities.
Race, racial identity, and inequity are inextricably linked with America’s past and future. In this section, profiles of people of color facing challenges bring to life startling data on racial disparities in the Twin Cities. Stories found in organizations like the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, Emerge, and the Organizing Apprenticeship Project will provide engaging and thoughtful insights on the issues.