Artist Hend al-Mansour poses with her outdoor mural.

Streets.mn’s Racial Equity Analysis Is Complete!

In July 2022, Streets.mn announced the beginning of a racial equity analysis (REA) in an effort to shape a more inclusive and actively anti-racist organization. Last October, we announced we had contracted with Dr. Cirien Saadeh to conduct the REA. We are now excited to present our readers with the results of that analysis.

Interested readers can dive into Dr. Saadeh’s full report here, but for those looking for a quicker glance, we’ve pulled a few key excerpts below. 

The REA examined “the board practices, editorial policies and strategies for engaging with Streets.MN’s readership… specifically focused on inclusion and equity issues as it relates to BIPOC communities.” Dr. Saadeh found disconnects within Streets.mn between “some who see racial equity as a requirement for the organization to move on and an organization that operates independent of an equity value.”

“White urbanites are most advantaged by Streets.mn’s work.”

Dr. Cirien Saadeh, author, Racial Equity Analysis

Those disconnects, she notes, likely arise in part from issues of capacity common to volunteer-driven organizations like Streets.mn — click here to learn more about volunteering! — but “also definitely stems from a lack of equitable representation within the organization and because there does not seem to be a systemic understanding or definition of racial equity.” As it is, she noted, white urbanites are most advantaged by Streets.mn’s work, while BIPOC communities are disadvantaged, in part because their voices are not “actively and intentionally heard.”

Dr. Saadeh also found “a lack of confidence in wanting to make institutional change within this arena.” She noted that, while “there is clearly an interest in pushing forward an external commitment to racial equity,” a lack of internal confidence in those efforts is impeding actual action. Fortunately, she notes, “a lack of confidence can be beaten if strategic steps are taken,” including training recommended in the report.

Next Steps

With the analysis completed, we at Streets.mn are now looking toward some next steps, in keeping with a number of recommendations Dr. Saadeh makes in her report. First, we intend to develop a “commonly shared vision of racial equity.” This will involve defining what racial equity means for Streets.mn as an organization and developing a set of goals to work toward.

To ensure that we are making progress toward those goals, Dr. Saadeh recommended adopting methods of quantitatively assessing progress. This may involve toolkits for tracking representation in our work, or tracking and analyzing the diversity of sources used in posts on the site.

Additionally, Dr. Saadeh advised Streets.mn to actively and thoughtfully form relationships with the BIPOC communities that are currently underrepresented within our organization. This may entail grassroots networking within those communities and supporting community journalism that is already representing those communities.

Used with permission of St. Paul-based artist Hend Al-Mansour: The full painting can be viewed on the east side of Target at Lake and Minnehaha in Minneapolis.

To complete these goals, we will be working with Dr. Saadeh to conduct training with our board members. Through these training sessions, Dr. Saadeh will help the board and our managing editor (who is white, as is the majority of our board) develop a shared vision of racial equity, develop tools for implementing quantitative analysis of our progress and advise on ways we can connect with BIPOC communities.

Working toward a more racially equitable Streets.mn will require taking some big steps. As Dr. Saadeh notes, “Nobody should expect immense transformation — as well-meaning as people are and can be — in less than 18 months time, if not much longer. A job done well but slowly is more important than a rushed job done incorrectly and harmfully.” 

Engage With Us!

We on the board of Streets.mn want to maintain transparency with our readership as we undergo the long process of becoming a more racially equitable organization. Stay tuned for future posts as we work through the next steps of the REA process.

To stay up to date with Streets.mn:

  • Subscribe to receive email updates. Look for the blue “Welcome” box at the bottom of our homepage.
  • Consider volunteering with Streets.mn for this REA work or other opportunities.
  • Email me and my fellow board member and Anti-Racism Committee colleague, Fran DeCaprio: andy.monserud@streets.mn and francesco.di.caprio@streets.mn

We also invite and urge you to attend our annual picnic on Saturday, August 5, at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. Click here for details, and we hope to see you there!

Editor’s Note: Board secretary Fran DiCaprio contributed to this article. He and Andy Monserud are members of Streets.mn’s board and its Anti-Racism Committee.

Andy Monserud

About Andy Monserud

Andy is a South St. Paul native and St. Paul local with a passion for bike and train travel and a habit of talking loudly about both with anyone who will listen. He joined the streets.mn board in 2021, around the time he started getting into Deep Space 9. He also plays and listens to bad folk-punk and is a sucker for tabletop and video RPGs. He writes about courts for money and other things for fun.