Editorial summary: Minnesota | Minnesota News


Minneapolis Star Tribune. December 22, 2021.

Editorial: Success stories with guaranteed income

The St. Paul pilot program shows that families are using the funds for necessities and financial stability.

A family in St. Paul used the extra income to buy a winter coat for a child and for rent, groceries, and other necessities. A single mother of three said the $ 500 a month “lifted a big weight” on her budget after being fired from her job in the first months of the pandemic.

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Another mother said the extra money allowed her to cover her bills and have a little more for modest Christmas presents – in a year when her family expected to be too cash-strapped to have gifts.

The three families, who recently shared their stories with the Star Tribune, benefited from St. Paul’s People’s Prosperity Pilot, a program launched in November 2020 by Mayor Melvin Carter. Preliminary reviews of the effort show it is working as intended. The increase in monthly income gives participants more financial leeway by covering basic needs.

“One of the amazing things about this policy is how just having enough money to get there at the end of the month kind of opens up a world of potential for families,” Carter said.

As part of the pilot project, 150 low-income families were selected to receive $ 500 per month for 18 months. Participants had to have incomes equal to or less than 300% of the federal poverty line and demonstrate that they were economically affected by the pandemic. Over 80% of the families selected for the pilot identify themselves as people of color and almost half live on the city’s East Side.

The $ 1.6 million program was funded with $ 214,117 of federal funds from the CARES Act, the remainder coming from grants and nonprofit donors.

Carter is one of a growing group of American mayors who are trying out guaranteed income programs for low-income residents. Mayors say that sending money to families unconditionally is a simple and powerful way to fill the gaps for those who are only partially covered or excluded from existing social safety net programs.

The funds flow quickly into the economy, and recipients have the option of using the money for a variety of needs such as rent, food, car repairs to get to work, a computer for learning to distance or school supplies.

Studies of other similar programs, including one in Stockton, Calif., Show that these are typically the types of expenses recipients cover with these funds. This research, along with studies of how stimulus checks were spent, show that funds are not wasted. In Stockton, participants reported improvements in their health and quality of life – and their full-time job participation increased from 28% to 40% in one year.

The concept of universal basic income is not new; it has been suggested several times over the past century, including when the late Martin Luther King Jr. promoted it during the civil rights era. Conservative and Liberal researchers have studied the idea, with some arguing that direct payments could cost the government less than current programs.

St. Paul’s program ends next year. City leaders and advocates across the country hope these pilot programs will give momentum to the guaranteed income movement. Further analysis can help determine whether the payments should be used by the federal government to supplement or replace current poverty reduction efforts.

St. Cloud Times. December 26, 2021.

Editorial: Make the New Year a time to be a new and kinder to you

Or at least hopefully 2022 will be a bit newer.

This past year has seemed like an extension of 2020 – a ‘groundhog’ year – as we continued to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year started with a bang – literally – when supporters of incumbent President Donald Trump stormed the capital on January 6. 2021 also brought hope when the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine became widely available.

We have had ups and downs. Some easing of pandemic restrictions as well as hard-to-pronounce COVID variants. Important trial verdicts we both agreed and disagreed with. But we did.

So what can we do to improve next year? We think the easiest answer is: be nice.

Kindness and compassion are things that we can all agree that the world needs more of. And while the outlook for 2022 is on hold and many factors are beyond our control, one thing we can do is offer kindness and compassion to our neighbors.

These acts of kindness can be important, like making large donations and hours spent volunteering, or small signs of hope like helping a neighbor shovel their driveway or open a door.

While we can’t guarantee 2022 will be any better than this year (or the last), we can all make an effort to make the world a little better.

Mankato Free Press. December 28, 2021.

Editorial: Examining historical landmarks should be an ongoing effort

Historical markers tell stories about different communities and regions of the state in a way that cannot be easily achieved in any other form.

Minnesota has a long history of historic markers program, and like other states, the majority of these markers were created and placed decades ago. The markers were largely created by those in power and the story is sometimes distorted.

This is why it is important to reassess historical markers and modify them if a more balanced story is to be told.

That’s the idea behind a national effort by the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Birmingham, Alabama, which installed dozens of markers, mostly in the South, to remember racial terrorist lynchings.

Although there have been fewer lynchings in Minnesota, many markers ignore the contribution of people of color or are simply insensitive to race in the present day.

Minnesota does not have a great abundance of markers or landmarks recognizing black or other minority cultures. The state has only one African American National Historic Landmark certified by the National Park Service – Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, the oldest black church in Minnesota.

When it comes to historical markers, many naturally focus on the start of the state’s colonization. Many mention the American Indians who were in the area, and these references may be racist or trivialize the suffering that indigenous peoples endured because of the white settlers.

Many markers do not need to be changed as they simply mark the location of a former settlement or church, ferry crossing, or trading post. But others could benefit from an update.

The Minnesota Historical Society and the County Historical Societies in our area have worked to better tell the story of the bloody war between the United States and Dakota of 1862, which unfolded in several counties in the area.

And Mankato worked with the Dakotas to erect markers – like those at Reconciliation Park – that honor the 38 Dakota who were hanged in Mankato and to recognize the reconciliation effort underway.

Historical societies and cities across the state might benefit from a closer examination of their community markers. Historical markers educate the public and can help tell a more balanced story of race and history.

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