Atlanta. As it was for the rest of the country. On Tuesday, March 16, a series of shootings took place in three Atlanta-area spas resulting in the deaths of eight people, several of whom were of Asian descent. Six of them women. Data points aside, my heart is aching – and my head is reeling. We both stand together with our Asian American friends to condemn this violence and find ourselves on our knees in shared grief.
This was not random; the perpetrator was on his way to Florida for more of the same when he was arrested. Indeed, hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been growing. Stop AAPI Hate was formed in March of 2020 to prevent discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a report released on Tuesday, the group said it had received reports of 3,795 incidents between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021. But it said the number could be higher because not all incidents are reported.
We all are invited to join the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) on Wednesday, March 24, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM CDT for Unheard Stories: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate, a public community event to hear from leaders and community members about what has been occurring in Minnesota and nationwide, hear from victims of hate, and work together with us to take action against violence and hate. Speakers will include U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, CAAL Executive & Network Director Bo Thao-Urabe, and others.
See you in the trenches.
On Friday, the NY Times wrote an interesting piece about the vaccine roll-out in the U.S./Britain compared to the European Union. The U.S. actually may avoid the “third wave” that Europe is facing now. A few countries are back on lock-down as a result. No single culprit. Instead, a series of small decisions have led to only about 10% of Europeans receiving their first vaccine dose thus far (compared to 23% in the U.S., and 39% in Britain).
At the Legislature: second policy committee deadline was Friday, March 19. Bills with finance and tax implications have a deadline for passage through relevant committees by Friday, April 9. Given that Easter/Passover break is March 26 – April 5, the Legislature doesn’t have much time left. Budget deliberations will intensify: the House DFL is expected to release its budget targets/priorities this week. The Senate Republican budget plan released last week likely will fall far short of the House DFL’s and Governor’s budget plans, including a proposed hold on all tax increases. Also included is the exemption of federal PPP loans from state taxes (an issue not universally agreed upon – which I find unfathomable).
Tax Day: IRS and US Treasury extended filing and payment deadline for individuals to May 17, 2021. See details here. Read the full press release here.
4. Cultivating Relationships
MNSCU Board of Trustees last Wednesday announced the appointment of two new presidents: Dr. Edward Inch will serve as the president of Minnesota State University, Mankato, beginning July 1. Dr. Deidra Peaslee will become the next president of Saint Paul College, effective immediately. Dr. Peaslee has served as interim at SPC since 2019.
5. Driving Progress
Two development projects in Saint Paul of immediate interest:
Lexington Station housing project and the Rondo Bridge. The Chamber is bullish on both, with a vision of encouraging development that invites bigger thinking of what is possible for us moving forward.
The Lexington Station project appeal was presented to the City Council on March 17. Was laid over till April 7. Channon Lemon and I co-authored an op-ed last week on the project: “Approve this project but improve the process”
And we continue to enthusiastically support the Rondo Land Bridge (you can find a review of the project here
6. Growing Leaders
I read a fascinating article this past week, on “the enemies of inclusion.” Are they certain people? No, they’re actually found within our own mistaken understanding> Inclusion requires that, sometimes – often in fact, we don’t get to universal consensus.
The Enemies of Inclusion: Cancelling, Consensus, and Perfection https://www.tlnt.com/the-enemies-of-inclusion-cancelling-consensus-and-perfection/.
7. Building Capacity
Today, I’m talking – literally – about capacity!