Note: this post is part of series dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts at VEAP. Learn more here.
To support VEAP’s efforts to raise awareness and to speak and act out against the inequities and injustice that plague people of color in our communities, we have to consider some difficult truths about the regions in which we live and work.
Minnesota and the Twin Cities have some of the largest racial disparities in our nation. While a smaller percentage of white people live below the poverty level in Minnesota compared to the country at large, the opposite is true for Black Minnesotans. Black families in Minnesota are four times more likely to live in poverty than our state’s white families. Statistics illustrating racial gaps in employment, homeownership, and income are equally distressing. These economic inequalities cannot be dissociated from the disparities in physical and mental health, education, and housing stability that people of color experience in Minnesota.
Closer to home, we see these discrepancies every day at VEAP. In 2020, nearly 70% of individuals receiving support from our food and housing programs were Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC), despite only comprising about 23% of the population in our service area of Bloomington, Richfield and Edina. Similar racial gaps exist when it comes to individuals and families experiencing unemployment as well as food and housing insecurity during the pandemic.
VEAP will continue to provide food, housing assistance, and case management support to those impacted by the global health and economic crisis—and we will do so long after the pandemic passes. We will also use our position of leadership to draw attention to these inequities and to advocate for policies and legislation beyond emergency supports, creating more equitable systems in our state and country so that all people have the resources they need to thrive.
Below we have created a media piece that illustrates some of these disparities. Download a PDF version here.
We invite you to join us in our effort to learn more and deepen our understanding of what our neighbors from the BIPOC community experience:
- Watch this eight-minute clip from the TPT documentary Jim Crow of the North that illustrates the violence against people of color embedded in our housing system through the practices of redlining and racial covenants.
- Watch this video about trying to eat healthy food in a food desert.
- Read this page about disparities in food access in Minnesota.
- Dig into more data at Minnesota Compass.
If you have feedback, comments or suggestions about VEAP’s DEI journey, please email our CEO directly: [email protected]