Insight News

Nov 24th


The growth of Black-owned businesses: Entrepreneurship by necessity

The growth of Black-owned businesses:  Entrepreneurship by necessity"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!"
-Madam C.J. Walker, trailblazing African American businesswoman.

There is a silver lining in the dark cloud of the great recession. A new Census Bureau report reveals that from 2002 to 2007 the number of Black-owned businesses in the United States increased by 60.5 percent to 1.9 million – more than triple the national rate. According to Census Bureau Deputy Director, Thomas Mesenbourg, “Black-owned businesses continued to be one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, showing rapid growth in both the number of businesses and total sales during this time period.”

Cuts alone, or cuts and revenue to balance budget

The state budget is the most important issue we will face this legislative session. Already we are beginning to see clear choices emerge as to how we will go about solving the deficit. I want to make sure you are aware of the key choices we are debating and get your input about how we can move forward responsibly.

Gov. Dayton has unveiled his choice – a comprehensive budget solution that includes both cuts and revenue increases to balance our record $6.2 billion budget shortfall. His proposal makes good on his campaign promise to increase funding for education and make Minnesota’s tax system more fair.

Abandoning our children’s future not an option

Especially in these times of great economic concern, we have to do right by all our children at the State Capitol. Two recent proposals by the Republican majority give me great concern we are abandoning them. 

The Republicans just passed their first budget-cutting bill, which made $900 million in cuts to local governments, health care and higher education. While the wealthiest Minnesotans were spared any sacrifice, vulnerable children were not so lucky. Republicans cut $28 million from Children and Community Services (CCS) grants used predominantly for child protection. Counties use these funds to protect abused children or vulnerable pregnant teenagers. In Hennepin County, 100% of the CCS grants are used for child protection. I voted against this bill and am pleased that Governor Dayton vetoed it.

What happened to Minnesota Nice?

What happened to Minnesota Nice?
The Minnesota Legislature is considering a Bill to certify 4th graders as adults and lock them up in adult prisons. I am one of the numerous African American spectators who attended the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee hearing two weeks ago.

First, I am offended and appalled at the way that Chairman, State Rep. Tony Cornish, spoke to the audience. Why was Mr. Cornish so hostile to the audience? I know that it’s unusual for such a large number of African Americans to attend legislative hearings. Was Mr. Cornish upset about the large turnout of African Americans who he perceived were there in opposition to the Bill?

Retooling, renewing, repositioning

Do non-profit organizations have life stages? In the book, The Five Life Stages of Nonprofit Organizations, published by the St. Paul-based Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, author Judith Sharken Simon suggests that while witnessed but not widely studied, indeed like people, organizations transform over time.

This transformation can be positive, reflecting a proactive response to change; or unfortunately, it can result in the ultimate demise of an organization when the winds of change are ignored. Simon labels these five nonprofit life stages as, “Stage One: Imagine and Inspire (Can the dream be realized?); Stage Two: Found and Frame (How are we going to pull this off?), Stage Three: Ground and Grow (How can we build this to be viable?); Stage Four: Produce and Sustain (How can the momentum be sustained?), and Stage Five: Review and Renew (What do we need to redesign?)”

Young people falling behind economically

While there is a lot of talk today about jobs, there has been far too little attention paid to the job prospects of young people. A new report prepared for the Children’s Defense Fund shows young people have lost more ground economically than any other age group over the last three decades. Dr. Andrew Sum, professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, and his colleagues paint a grim economic picture for the futures of young workers and young families, and Black young people and young families fare the worst. The widening income inequality and declining real incomes of young Black families with children raise serious questions about the economic and social futures of their children. The American Dream for poor young people and their children is vanishing on our watch.

Recession hit Minnesota families hard, leader's urge elected officials to address budget shortfalls

Minnesota families, just like our Minnesota state government, have been hit hard by the recession and its aftermath. In times like these we do what it takes to persevere—provide for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and make wise decisions to pave the way for a better tomorrow.

Thousands of us have not yet felt the benefits of a fledgling recovery. Having lost a job or housing, nearly half a million Minnesotans are still face-to-face with hunger or homelessness, and turn to both nonprofits and public services to provide a temporary helping hand.
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