“In 2017, Minnesota was named the second-most unequal state for Black people in a study of Black and White inequality by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion website,” reports Ivy Brashear for Yes! Magazine. In particular, Minneapolis’ Northside has a severe shortage of shopping centers, grocery stores, and banks. Poverty is widespread in the city’s Near North and Camden neighborhoods. A local activist, Me’Lea Connelly, observed that systemic oppression was stripping wealth from the community and decided to do something about that.
Connelly and others recognized that the community needed to take the lead in its own revival—or else risk having others develop the community, but in ways that promote gentrification and which would likely drive many current residents out. Gaining control over the money was a key part of the vision. “How do we take control of our own community and not let the lack of financial services in our community dictate our future? We have to have our own,” Connelly tells Brashear.
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