Using Resilience to Build an Equitable Minneapolis

Ron Harris Minneapolis

Using Resilience to Build an Equitable Minneapolis

Ron Harris Minneapolis

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.

Ron Harris
Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Before we even begin to shape a more equitable future, we need to reconcile with our past racial injustices as a country that are still playing out today.

The public sector is the one entity constitutionally tasked with looking out for the wellbeing of its citizens. When that is weakened, who steps up to fill that space?

When I think about when George Floyd was murdered, my team and I spent a lot of time on the ground and witnessed how organic leadership developed in the midst of crisis. White supremacists were coming into our city and we had neighbors naturally band together, setting up communication lines, ensuring that one another was safe and that our elderly neighbors had access to medicine and basic needs.

As the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis, part of my work is developing a strategy for building resilience and understanding how to capture that organic leadership so that we can build capacity and support for community-led emergency response. Minneapolis has and continues to take up a lot of space in the racial equity conversation, with good reason. The spotlight is on us and if we can develop a blueprint here, a place with some of the biggest disparities in the entire country, we can serve as a model for others on how we not only bounce back, but how to bounce forward from crisis.

As a Black man in America and as someone who deeply understands what anti-blackness is, working with Living Cities and going through their series of anti-racism training helped bring language, theory and practice to what we intuitively already know. Through funding, Living Cities also allowed us to partner with youth led organizations and scope out how we find a place for youth in these conversations. If we are shaping laws, regulation and our city’s future, why wouldn’t we include those that are going to be spending the most time in that future? We need to prepare our youth to take on that leadership and empower the next generation of resilience champions.


Latest Articles

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 …

1863 Ventures Seeks to Close the ‘Friends and Family’ Financing Gap for New Majority Entrepreneurs

Melissa Bradley understands how barriers to capital for entrepreneurs of color hurt our economy and our communities. “There is clearly a cost if we do not invest in diversity,” said Bradley, founder of 1863 Ventures. “We miss out on great returns when we are not inclusive in our investment theses. There are opportunity costs for all of us.” She cites …

A Vision for Systemic Change in the Twin Cities: An Interview with Marcus Pope

JK:We’re celebrating your new role as President of Youthprise! Can you tell us a bit about Youthprise? MP: I’ll start by sharing Youthprise’s mission, which is to increase equity with and for Minnesota’s Indigenous, low income, and racially diverse youth. We take the “with and for” very seriously; half of our board members are young people between the ages of …

The Legacy of Wealth Inequities in the Brown and Flynn Families: A Hypothetical Exploration

The first post in a two-part series explores the potential of capital to undo the historical legacy of inequities. Race is a complex issue that continues to drive many of the socioeconomic outcomes in the US. For example, if you are a person of color born in the United States, your zip code is more of a predictor of your …

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.