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


Latest Articles

Where It’s Going: Local Government Has A Role In Breaking Barriers to Business

We told you where it starts. Now, we’ll tell you where it’s going. By Norris Williams, Assistant Director at Living Cities As we pass the one-year mark of implementing Truist Foundation’s multi-year, signature small business initiative, Where It Starts: Breaking Barriers to Business, I find myself reflecting on our remarkable journey, momentum, and pride in new wealth-building pathways becoming realities. …

How 2020’s “Year of Reckoning” Shaped What Comes Next for Closing the Gaps

In 2020, Living Cities launched the  “Closing the Gaps” Network, paired with a cohort of cities participating in a “Year of Reckoning” initiative. This foundational year brought together leadership in six cities–Austin, Albuquerque, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester–to interrogate how racism has shaped their cities, to organize together to implement policies and practices that would build wealth for BIPOC …

Wealth Beyond Survival

People of color are reported to be on track to become the country’s new majority by 2045. Knowing this, government leaders, private investors and philanthropic funders need to have a more comprehensive understanding of the challenge ahead: For people of color, starting a business, though a risky endeavor–especially compared to the experience of white entrepreneurs–is only the beginning of the …

Supporting and Growing Overlooked Entrepreneurs with Urban Innovation Fund

In 2012, Julie Lein and Clara Brenner started Tumml, an urban ventures accelerator with a mission to empower entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. Through their experience with Tumml, Julie and Clara saw how investors can overlook certain types of entrepreneurs, mostly women and people of color. Building on their experience, Lein and Brenner founded Urban Innovation Fund (UIF) as first-time …

Get Updates

We want to stay in touch with you! Sign up for our email list to receive updates on the progress we’re making with our network of partners, as well as helpful resources and blog posts.