Black History Month reminds us of the need for a focus on equity

As the celebration of Black History Month continues, it is also a time for Minnesotans to reflect on the work that still must be done to address a system that does not work equally for everyone.

Minnesotans faced unprecedented disruption in 2020 with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest following the murder of George Floyd. While these were unexpected events, they only exposed problems that already existed. Our BIPOC communities are facing disproportionate effects from COVID-19 in their health and economic opportunity, and it is these same communities who are most affected by systemic racism in our criminal justice system.

What both of these issues expose is the wider need for policymakers to apply an equity lens to how we need to approach the issues before us. Many of these dynamics are the results of intentional policy set decades ago, and the wider systemic racism found in issues from education, to housing, to employment, to health care. We need to break these barriers down and provide real support to correct these long-term issues.

The Senate DFL recognizes how important it is that every community across Minnesota has the opportunity to thrive and that some communities face bigger barriers than others. Whether it’s supporting working families, investing in high-quality education for every Minnesotan, addressing environmental racism and justice, or expanding the right to participate in our democracy, Senate DFLers will fight for policies that have equity at their core.