African American Leadership Forum

Work Groups

Monthly work group meetings on the 2nd Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The AALF is a cross-sector network of African Americans working together to find solutions to the black community’s most vexing issues. Our goal to achieve a “just and healthy society that works equally well for everyone” is best achieved if we claim responsibility for our own lives, and lift the broader community by creating a vibrant black community.

As Minnesotans we share in the pride of a state that consistently ranks highly on national livability measures. We are a healthy, well-educated, and economically prosperous place to live. However, we have a serious and persistent issue with systemic and social inequity that creates two Minnesota’s; one that supports success for the majority population, and another that marginalizes people of color.

As a people-powered, democratic, and inclusive movement of forward thinking community members we strive for continuous progress. To move beyond admiring “the problem” we recognize the centrality of strong families, and the power of investing in family resiliency as a strategy for uplifting neighborhoods and cities. Our agenda focuses on building a strong, self-sufficient black community by fostering durable black families that develop sustainable assets.

OUR OBJECTIVES

  • Maximize the potential of African American children and adults
  • Reclaim and amplify the vital role of family, culture and spirituality in our community
  • Alter the socioeconomic trajectory of the African American community
  • Strengthen African American centered institutions
  • Challenge and change systems that disproportionately harm African Americans

OUR GOAL AND STRATEGIES

Our universal goal is a just and healthy society that works equally well for everyone. To achieve this goal, we….

  • Focus our agenda on the health, education, and economic opportunities of black families
  • Convene key practitioners, advocates, and allies
  • Collaborate with local and state-level education decision-makers
  • Champion policies and promising practices that support a continuum of asset building opportunities for black families

For more information contact Marika Pfefferkorn at Mpfefferkorn42@gmail.com

 

ECONOMIC: Improve economic security for families and communities

Minnesota enjoys a high standard of living, but benefits of a relatively strong economy are not equitably distributed amongst people of color and the poor. For instance, recent research indicates that when compared to the 25 largest metropolitan areas the Twin Cities has the largest gap in employment rates between workers of color and their white peers. Further, median income for people of color is 63 cents for every dollar of median income for whites.


EDUCATION: Increase educational opportunity for families that need it most

A quality education is elemental to ending poverty in Minnesota. While we have plenty to celebrate in our E-16 educational system, we also have a nation-leading racialized gap in educational attainment. 82 percent of white Minnesota students graduate from high school on time, but that number is less than 49% for African Americans and Latinos; and 36% for American Indians. Further, while 43 percent of white Minnesotans have earned a Bachelor’s degree, only 27 percent non-white Minnesotans have done so. Clearly we can do better.

Though many things contribute to school success for students, we believe education expenditures should focus on proven strategies that address school-based factors. Conclusive research suggests that the best public education investments focus on high quality early childhood education, improving instructional quality in classrooms, and increasing educational opportunity and equity in school districts. Minnesota children deserve leadership that funds a universal system of education that results in educated citizens.


HEALTH: Foster resilient and healthy families from prenatal through senior years

Despite Minnesota’s overall national standing as one of the healthiest states, people of color and American Indians disproportionately experience poor health, illness, and death. Racialized disparities in health are further aggravated by high poverty in Minnesota’s communities of color. Low-income families access intensive prenatal, medical, and dental care at lesser rates, which is a major contributor to overall health outcomes.

Employer-sponsored health insurance has traditionally supported Minnesota’s low numbers of uninsured citizens. However, economic recessions have increased the number of people needing public access to health care. In 2011 there were 490,000 Minnesotans lacking health coverage, including 70,000 children. Across categories of income, geography, and other factors, uninsurance creates challenges for all families. Yet, the rate of uninsurance is compounded by poverty status and race. For poor Minnesotans the rate of uninsurance is twice that of the Minnesota’s overall population; and for African-Americans the rate three-times higher than the overall population.