A Blue Print for Action

Comprehensive Strategies for Change
(2007-2008)

Minnesota Meeting focused its 2007-08 season on solutions to three critical issues that impact our community. For each event, Minnesota Meeting highlighted successful efforts now underway to address these problems and seek the participation of the audience to make these efforts more effective and wide ranging.

Issues around homelessness, youth violence and immigration make headlines everyday and often touch our lives as parents, employers and community members – and are matters of life and death for many people in our state. All three issues profoundly impact communities of color, contributing greatly to the wide gaps in income, wealth, education and health that exist between Minnesotans of color and white Minnesotans. As a state, we can address these issues and close the racial disparities gap.

Blueprints for action exist that, if fully implemented, would eliminate homelessness, make kids safer and address immigration comprehensively – if we summon the will to do so. This series highlighted those blueprints for action and give everyone who attends an understanding of how they can be part of the solution.


Ending Homelessness
November 7, 2007

Tim MarxTim Marx,
Commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

View a WEBCAST of the event

Every night, thousands of children and adults across Minnesota sleep on friends’ couches, in their cars, in shelters, or on the streets. But Minnesota is now at the leading edge of a national movement to end homelessness, not simply manage it.

Governor Pawlenty and the legislature have made ending long-term homelessness a major goal, and several local initiatives are showing real results. Heading Home Hennepin, for example, was developed by nearly 70 business, civic, and faith leaders, as well as currently and formerly homeless people, to end homelessness in Minneapolis and throughout Hennepin County in 10 years. Other communities – from Duluth to southeastern Minnesota – are developing similar plans.

Tim Marx, Commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, discussed these statewide and local efforts; provided a progress report on how they are doing; and, led a discussion about how we all can play a role in ending homelessness in Minnesota. The discussion was moderated by Paul Willians, a national housing development expert and a Senior VP of LISC, Richard Amos, housing services director of St. Stephens Human Services, and Gabrielle Strong, tribal administrator of the Lower Sioux Indian Community.


Protecting Youth
January 9, 2008

Deborah Prothrow-StithDeborah Prothrow-Stith
Associate Dean and Professor, Harvard School of Public Health and author and a panel of Minnesota youth

Throughout Minnesota violence committed by young people against young people is an increasingly deadly problem. This program challenged us to address the issue as a matter of public health – looking at prevention and treatment strategies, not simply criminal justice solutions. We heard from experts and children who live with violence everyday.

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith of Harvard University, recognized as the nation’s leading expert on using public health strategies to reduce youth violence, moderated a discussion with a panel of 5 young people and then offered her own thoughts on creating an effective youth violence-reduction program.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak opened the program by briefly outlining the “Youth Violence Prevention Blueprint for Action,” a comprehensive approach to end youth violence in Minneapolis that is being supported by a wide array of public, foundation, and corporate leaders.

This unusual program mixed expert opinion, public policy, and the experience of real kids.

Embracing Immigration
March 3, 2008

Pane on ImmigrationJosé González, The Bush Foundation (Moderator); Gloria Contreras-Edin, director, Centro Legal; Bruce Corrie, business professor, Concordia University; Alan Oberloh, Mayor of Worthington; Washington Sah-Flah Yonly, leader, Minnesota’s Liberian community
Immigration has become the most hotly debated domestic issue in America – and Minnesota is on the forefront of the debate. For this program, a panel of Minnesota leaders on immigration issues discussed:
  • The impact of federal immigration policy and enforcement on Minnesota businesses and communities.
  • The role immigrants play in our economy, especially in Greater Minnesota.
  • Civil rights issues faced by immigrants and communities of color in the current environment.
  • How both newcomers and long-time residents of Minnesota can participate in creating a more welcoming and productive environment for everyone.

Moderated by the Bush Foundation’s José González, the panel included: Gloria Contreras-Edin, director of Centro Legal, the largest Latino non-profit legal institution in the Midwest; Bruce Corrie, a Concordia University business professor who specializes in the economics of immigration; Alan Oberloh, Mayor of Worthington, the site of recent raids by the federal government on meatpacking plants; and Washington Sah-Flah Yonly, a leader of Minnesota’s Liberian community.



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