MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite the passing of 50 years and a slew of federal and state laws against racial discrimination, U of M Civil Rights Professor Carl Warren says Minnesota is far from realizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.
“Especially the Twin Cities metro area, we see that our schools and communities are re-segregating at an alarming rate,” said Warren.
Mel Reeves, a community activist in north Minneapolis, said he sees this segregation every day in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“We have educational disparities, employment disparity and more folks locked up. Something’s going on, it’s just more subtle,” Reeves said.
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Reeves said housing discrimination and job discrimination is still very easy to perform because anyone can say you’re not right for the job, or a higher offer has been submitted.
“Systemically, I think there more things going on that cannot be seen which cause some of these inequities to continue,” he said.
Like Reeves, Professor Warren says laws are easy to pass making reference to Affirmative Action, Fair Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Acts, but minds cannot so easily be regulated.
“So the question is, are the ideals expressed in the ‘I have a Dream’ speech, still our ideals? We’ve made some strides it’s true, but in many ways we’ve stopped making progress”, said Warren.
“Ironically, if we were to hold that march again today, it would be for jobs and justice again. Nationwide, the Twin Cities has one of the highest rates in disparity among black and white unemployment. Among the highest disparities in home ownership, the gap is wide,” said Reeves.
Mel Reeves Talks Civil Rights
So to Reeves and Warren, Dr King’s Dream has not yet been achieved, there is still work to be done.
“If we truly want to achieve these ideals, we can,” said Warren.