Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation and a history of Indigenous dispossession and disempowerment. Industrial capitalism is a slow violence aimed at vulnerable populations. We focused on how to center community voices in forming more equitable and accountable policy.
Disinvestment in communities of color and the impact of industrialization build on the structure of settler colonialism, which aspires to eliminate Indigenous peoples and their rights. The rise of a milling industry on Indigenous sacred space, white flight, and practices such as redlining created landscapes of inequality that manifest in exclusionary redevelopment schemes.
All people deserve to have their demands for equity heard and acted upon. Governments and institutions must take responsibility for restitution by engaging with communities to rectify past actions. Truth telling and preserving land for future generations must replace the neglect of marginalized people’s experience.
Our Point of View
Our status in the university carries inherent privilege. Yet we hope our work will help promote awareness of environmental injustices that harm historically oppressed communities, undermine Indigenous sovereignty, disadvantage poor neighborhoods, and worsen the effects of climate change. We have grown more conscious of environmental injustices in our communities. Our work has inspired us to amplify stories that help build empathy and accountability, develop a more complex understanding of where we live, and fight for environmental justice.
—University of Minnesota
We affirm our interconnectedness of the human and natural world and take responsibility for inspiring change to create a society that equitably protects and promotes a healthy and vibrant environment for all people in current and future generations.
We are grounded in our values of self-determination in Indigenous, low-income communities, and communities of color, and we gear our work toward the creation of a fully informed economic and political democracy.
—Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)