Urban Scholars was developed by the Equity Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. This division was established to address racial disparities in employment as a result of the 2011 Economic Policy Institute report that said the Minneapolis region has the worst employment disparity between whites and non-whites in the nation. This sobering fact resonated with elected officials and department leadership especially considering that the population of Minneapolis is over 40% people of color.
In the summer of 2012, the City Council passed Resolution 2012R-456: Supporting Employment Equity in Minneapolis and the Region that declared institutional racism as a critical factor in the disparities. The resolution stated that the City would lead by example to increase racial equity in employment in Minneapolis and the region. As champions of this commitment, the Equity Division has shaped its work around the resolution and created objectives including empowering leaders of tomorrow; the motivation behind Urban Scholars.
The desire to address racial disparities played a significant role in the history and creation of the Urban Scholars program. Therefore, a strong component to the program is creating cohorts of future leaders committed to equity. Bringing an equity lens to the workplace looks different for each Urban Scholar as all Scholars come to the program with varied experiences with social justice. The program strives to support an atmosphere of learning and growth around the topics of power, privilege, and, oppression.
Last updated Dec 14, 2017