This is an emotionally full week, with a roller coaster of ups and downs.
The ups: After a delay due to quarantine protocols, Governor Walz delivered his 3rd State of the State. Markedly different from his Address last year, when he told Minnesotans to begin “bracing for a storm of epic proportions.” On Sunday, he embraced a more optimistic tone, saying “brighter days are here and even more are coming… Normalcy is on the horizon.”
The downs: So many members of our community are on edge, with the start of the Chauvin trial, and the lingering effects of mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta last week.
The roller coaster has left me with mixed feelings. I am grateful for the Governor’s optimism. I know I am not alone in my strong desire to engage again. The sunshine and warmer weather are helping. That said, I imagine I also am not alone in wondering how these next weeks will roll out through the trial and in the aftermath of the Atlanta tragedy. Each of us can be a witness in opposition to violence. Please, if you witness or experience discrimination or bias, report it. Check your own implicit and explicit biases, and consider how your actions could impact others. We can invite truth, validate one another’s experiences, and try to create safety for all of us.
This is a great week to deliberately reach out to those close to you, to renew connections and remind yourself that we're all on this ride together.
Check out my 7 things you should know below. See you in the trenches.
Governor Walz has opened up vaccine eligibility to Minnesotans age 16 and older, as of March 30. This is great news and comes several months ahead of original expectations. "How to get your vaccine" recommendations from the State:
The Governor, the Senate majority and the House majority all have released their budget proposals. Now the work starts to align the different proposals into one package. The legislature is on Easter/Passover break this week, they will be busy upon their return to meet the third deadline on Friday, April 9. The 2021 regular legislative session is required to adjourn Monday, May 17.
Read more in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
The SBA will launch a new program, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Program, in the next thirty days. As part of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the SBA program will provide $28.6 billion in grant funding to qualified businesses in the hospitality industry. Check the SBA portal often for program updates. Types of businesses explicitly stated in the ARPA that are eligible to apply include, “restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.”
4. Cultivating Relationships
Our friends at the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance last week summarized how important are the relationships that bind us. With more billions of federal money coming to the state, and much work to do in the recovery ahead, partners from across the spectrum – corporate, philanthropic, public – are leaning in and working together.
“Partners like Securian Financial, who increased their community investments by 25% last year, are helping us lead the charge to welcome workers back in the coming months. Partners like the Knight Foundation, who have not only supported the Downtown Alliance year over year, but are investing in citywide efforts to reimagine and improve public safety and address racial disparities to help us not just come back, but come back better than ever. Partners like Visit Saint Paul and the City of Saint Paul Planning and Economic Development department are hyper-focused on supporting our local restaurants and promoting our incredible food scene. If you haven't seen that video, be sure to give it a watch.”
5. Driving Progress
The journey to eliminating racism is a road with many potholes, and we all need to do the work to really get there, especially with peers who might not be as far along. This author is a Black woman who often is mistaken for being White. She shares her experience here.
6. Growing Leaders
A recent report from Brookings is worth your time. It outlines a simple three-step framework for how CEOs can move from commitment to action to make meaningful progress toward a more equitable economy.
7. Building Capacity
“The Great Awakening,” a new report from The Harris Poll examines American sentiment regarding returning to offices, events and travel; DEI; a pending spending boom; interest in hybrid services; and public expectation that the business community will deliver solutions during crises like the pandemic. This last point parallels what chambers have done for months – stepping in to provide assistance when public trust in the government to do so has waned.