Open Standard Media Player version 1.3
DULUTH - Minnesota is known for its high quality of life, low unemployment rate, good health and high achievement among students.
But there's a growing concern in many communities, including Duluth, that people of color are not seeing those same opportunities.
"Things aren't working out the way we thought. So, the time is now for that kind of change," said Vina Kay, director of research and policy at the Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP).
The OAP presented its 2012 Report Card on Racial Equity for Minnesota's legislature.
In the report card, each legislator was graded 'F' through 'A' based on their work with bills relating to racial justice.
Unfortunately, the OAP says the session mostly featured missed opportunities.
Kay said, "Of the bills that we identified impacting racial justice, there were only two in the Senate and three in the House that received floor votes and those were all negative bills."
One was the voter ID bill and the others impacted immigration.
More than two dozen groups in the Northland have signed on in support of OAP's 2013 Racial Equity Agenda, focusing on issues like poverty, education and home ownership.
"We know in Duluth, 73 percent of people below the poverty level work and so we have this large number, thousands of people in Duluth who work and are employed and who are still at poverty level," said Angie Miller, executive director at Community Action Duluth.
Many of the issues in the 2013 agenda are already being introduced in the legislature, but organizers say the only way to break down these barriers is to let people's voices be heard.
"They want to hear from people. So, if you want the renters insurance credit to be restored fully, which benefits people of color and all low income people then get a hold of your legislator," said Miller.
"It's our job as communities to be following that, to be connecting with legislators to be telling our stories to be sure they realize how important each of these things is to us," said Kay.
In its 2012 report card, the OAP honored 69 legislators who earned a 'B' or better, seven of them from right here in the Northland.
For the first time in the seven years the people of Minnesota were awarded with an 'A' for voter turnout on the two November amendments.