Into an already tense community comes another tragedy. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was killed on Sunday by police in Brooklyn Center, during a traffic stop. This before the 11th day of the Chauvin trial begins. Protesters later converged on the police station, and looters broke into several businesses at the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping center.
What words are we supposed to use to speak to this? My heart is gripped right now. Deep grief for the family, lots of unanswered questions. Words are inadequate.
Between this and coming off of Cat’s funeral on Friday, it has sucked the energy out of us. We weren’t ready for that loss, not ready for yesterday’s loss. I’m reminded of our March 2020 membership meeting, “Our Hidden Figures.” Dr. Reatha Clark King, hearkening back to the 1960s and 1970s, said (and I’m paraphrasing), “the streets were burning… and I had to go to work.” The juxtaposition is paralyzing.
So I sat down for a moment of quiet this morning, to ask myself: ok, what DO I know right now? And I talked with our team.
I do know is that our place now is not to judge or determine.
I do know that now IS the time for humanity and acknowledging. We must point ourselves to the complexity of the times. Never before has there been so much volatility and unrest on so many fronts. Domestic violence, shootings, homelessness, and poverty at numbers unparalleled. So much going on. We’ve been locked in, we’ve experienced loss, many of us have felt fear – even desperation.
I do know that we must put down fear, anger, disrespect, even our opinions… this goes beyond our professional lives to our very humanity. We must, somehow, cut through the fear and look up. There is so much good to be had, even in the midst of so much tragedy. We must demand of ourselves that we do better. Not quite sure what that looks like, but I’m working on it.
See you in the trenches.
Latest update (and application) from the SBA on its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program.
Update on vaccinations: Friday saw another record rate of vaccinations in Minnesota. More than 3 million doses have been given thus far. You’ve perhaps seen or heard---Pfizer-BioNTech has asked the FDA to extend authorization of the vaccine to kids aged 12-15. That means the authorization could be in hand in just 3-4 weeks. (Dosage is the same as in adults, so no reason kids can't start getting vaccinated right after).
Thus far, the state has identified 1500+ cases of the UK variant, estimated at being responsible for more than 50% of the new cases.
Looking for a summary of where big issues stand at the Minnesota Legislature? The third committee deadline was this past Friday, April 9. See more here. Ahead, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee will be reviewing budget bills to pass onto their respective floors. With the May 17 deadline approaching, lots still ahead on a more than $50 billion two-year state budget and several other tax/policy issues. For context: the state currently is operating on a $48.3 billion budget. The governor’s revised budget proposal spends $52.3 billion.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
Are we ready for $2.25 trillion 8-year American Jobs Plan? This plan aims to be a “once-in-a-generation investment” will constitute an annual approximately 1% of the GDP over the eight-year period. The Plan is the first of a two-part recovery effort. The second part is set to focus on childcare, healthcare, and education, and the President will announce its details later in April.
The American Jobs Plan employs a massive tax increase on businesses to pay for it (emphasis added): "Alongside his American Jobs Plan, President Biden is releasing a Made in America Tax Plan to make sure corporations pay their fair share in taxes and encourage job creation at home…. President Biden believes that profitable corporations should not be able to get away with paying little or no tax by shifting jobs and profits overseas. President Biden’s plan will reward investment at home, stop profit shifting, and ensure other nations won’t gain a competitive edge by becoming tax havens."
On Sunday night, the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave a good interview on 60 Minutes stating that the US economy is at an “inflection point”.
4. Cultivating Relationships
These Twin Cities Black-owned businesses will be featured in Deluxe’s 2021 Small Business Revolution TV Series.
5. Driving Progress
Great news last week. The U.S. EDA has approved GREATER MSP’s application for a $470,000 EDA investment for the Regional Supply Chain Resiliency and Diversity Strategy Project. On March 27, 2020, Congress enacted the CARES Act, which appropriated $1.5 billion in supplemental funds to EDA to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus”. Regional eligibility for this funding (per U.S. EDA guidelines) was made possible by Met Council adoption in August 2020 of the Regional Economic Framework, a comprehensive economic development strategy developed in partnership by Met Council, GREATER MSP, and the Center for Economic Inclusion.
Your Chamber is one of the organizations that supported development of the application and is positioned to contribute to and benefit from the development of this regional-scale project.
6. Growing Leaders
Are you a servant leader? And what does that mean, anyway? How do you grow your business by serving people? Can you build a legacy by investing in others? It IS possible to succeed in your own career path while deeply valuing the people and customers around you. Worth a read to find out more here.
7. Building Capacity
We are delighted to introduce our latest member to the team: Sherryln Thompson, our new Manager of Strategic Initiatives, joins us today, April 12. Sherryln will be the new Administrator for the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, housed here at the St. Paul Area Chamber. Welcome Sherryln!