Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day 2021, which is a federal holiday. Banks and the post office and government offices will be closed but with so many people working from home these days, it may be hard to tell. Public schools are closed today too. Look or virtual events and celebrations because yes there is still a raging pandemic and for most of us no hope of being vaccinated any time soon.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr 1963
Minnesota and the Twin Cities are home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates, and educational attainment—the wealth gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in homeownership between people who are white and people of color.
Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have which is one of the reasons for the large wealth gap. Our neighborhoods in St. Paul and in most cities are still segregated.
The Twin Cities is also where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by police last May setting off protests around the country. It is clear that we have a lot of work to do. It doesn’t feel like we are making progress when it comes to equality and liberty for all.
Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection