For quite some time Minneapolis has had some of the worst disparities in the country between African Americans and Whites with regards to poverty, education, unemployment, criminal justice (both adult and juvenile) and participation in the child welfare system. Because of this, the Caucus supports the Equity agenda of the Civil Rights Department under the leadership of Velma Korbel. The inequity that exists in Minneapolis has been a long time in the making and we realize that the corralling of resources, building of public opinion and simple rollout of so ambitious a plan takes time and should take time if done correctly.
We also support the leadership Velma Korbel has brought to the Mpls. Civil Rights Department. Her very real record of eliminating the department's back log of unresolved complaints (which existed prior to her appointment) and ability to turnaround a department with limited resources is commendable. In addition, the Civil Rights Department even before Korbel's hiring, has constantly struggled with garnering the authority to make the decisions that will lead to positive outcomes. Despite this environment, Korbel has made the difficult decisions necessary to help bring a real vehicle for equity in Minneapolis. In addition, as a Caucus we are always wary of African American women unduly facing a stereotype of being overbearing and dictatorial. It has negatively and unjustly affected too many careers, and we would ask that any such accusations be handled in a fair and cautious matter, without undue political influence.
Korbel has been up front with many of the policies and procedures she has championed within the department. Even partnering with neighborhood groups to educate and discuss the proposals she has on the table. In this spirit we would like to offer to host a town hall in which we will invite Korbel and local leaders to discuss the real policy of the Civil Rights Department's Equity agenda.