As leaders and members in the Minneapolis – St. Paul startup, tech and business community, we are deeply saddened and outraged by the senseless murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis Police Department officers. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and community as they grieve and seek justice.

This and other actions, such as the racial profiling of black entrepreneurs by a white investor, witnessed in our community this week are not new occurrences. They are symptoms of the deep institutional and systemic racism that plagues our region, state, and nation. This racism is intentional, structural, and has deep roots in Minnesota and across our country. Redlining, housing and lending policies, economic instability, unequal access to education and healthcare, and racist policing practices are just a few examples woven into the fabric of our region.

Despite the efforts of many in our community who work tirelessly to combat these injustices, Minnesota ranks 45th among 50 states in racial integration, with massive racial wealth & education gaps contributing to the unequal treatment of Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color.

As the Forge North coalition worked in recent months to establish bold 3-year goals for our startup, tech and business community, we heard a clear call to explicitly highlight racial equity as a top priority for our startup ecosystem.

This statement serves to reaffirm our commitment as a coalition, but we cannot stop there. We must take intentional action. The problem solvers in our startup and business community must build systems centered in equity, where Black, Indigenous, and people of color have equal access to the same wealth-building opportunities of their white neighbors.

We are calling on the Minneapolis – St. Paul startup, tech and business community to be leaders of change by pledging to take specific and meaningful action to advance our stated goal of racial equity across our community. Examples of ways to take action include but are not limited to:

By signing on to this letter, you are pledging to take specific and meaningful action to build an inclusive startup community and advance racial equity across the Minneapolis – St. Paul region.

*This statement was drafted by the Forge North Leadership Council and leaders from a number of local entrepreneurial support organizations. In the coming weeks, a project team made up of these leaders will follow up with signatories on the specific actions they are taking to advance racial equity in their work.

PARTNERS IN THIS EFFORT

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