Building an Anti-racist City During COVID

Clare Oumou Verbeten

Building an Anti-racist City During COVID

Clare Oumou Verbeten

From local government officials to philanthropic stakeholders to Living Cities staff, this story is one in a series that demonstrates the impact Living Cities has across the U.S. — connecting individuals and highlighting successful initiatives.

Clare Verbeten

Equity and Inclusion Program Manager at City of Saint Paul, Minnesota

Minnesota has some of the worst disparities between white and Black Americans, in terms of income and homeownership, yet St. Paul is a progressive beacon in the Midwest in part due to the city’s commitment to equity, innovation and resilience. In 2018, Mayor Carter established three new chief officer positions, which had never before existed, in order to help shape a structural shift in how we offer public services and address problem solving in St. Paul.

I’ve been a life-long, proud Minnesotan and am deeply invested in the city of St. Paul — joining as an official homeowner just last year with my husband. My work as the city’s Equity and Inclusion Program Manager started in 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic brought to light inequalities that have always existed, but have since been heightened.

This year, those of us in the city of St. Paul are excited to be a part of Living Cities’ Year of Reckoning cohort, connecting with others across the country that are working in the same space of reimagining and building anti-racist cities and society.

Saint Paul is an incredibly diverse community. We want Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and all communities of color to feel that Saint Paul is your home, your community

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