U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN 5th District) visited Duluth on Monday, Nov. 9 to discuss the “The State of Black America and the Way Forward” before an overflow crowd at St. Mark AME Church. U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, whose district Ellison was visiting, also addressed the audience and participated afterward in a question-and-answer session. See below for full video of the evening's conversation.
Xavier Bell, left, moderated a question-and-answer session at the end of the evening. Audience members asked question ranging from the need for housing finance reforms, to broader enfranchisement of minority groups, to disproportionate incarceration of African Americans, to misallocation of financial and political resources to perpetual warfare.
The two congressman agreed that the U.S. faces increasing economic disparities that disproportionately affect people of color and groups that continue to experience the effects of racism. Racism, they noted is a divide-and-conquer strategy used to support economic, political, and social inequities. Members of society -- especially working class whites -- who actually have more interests in common with groups lower on the societal pecking order find themselves distracted by these strategies. Thus, confronting and ending racism is everyone's concern and responsibility, particularly if they desire a more equitable society and better future. Eliminating big money in politics as well as transforming the longest war-time economy in U.S. history to focusing on meeting human needs, investing in human development through education and health care, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, and promoting a more just and peaceful world with environmental sustainability were among other themes the representatives discussed.
Click here for coverage in the Duluth Budgeteer
Photos and summary by David Clanaugh; thanks to Doug Bowen-Bailey for capturing and uploading the video of the evening's conversation. VIDEO