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ENEWS: Race, Wealth, and Health Care

Date Published: 02/18/2021

Author: Erin Wilson

What we’re reading this week: Heather C. McGhee’s essay in NYT 

This week, check out “The Way Out of America’s Zero-Sum Thinking on Race and Wealth,” an essay in the New York Times by Heather C. McGhee that is adapted from her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. The essay discusses undoing the “idea of a fixed quantity of prosperity” and how we can work toward what McGhee calls “Solidarity Dividends,” or “gains available to everyone when they unite across racial lines, in the form of higher wages, cleaner air and better-funded schools.” McGhee’s essay speaks to the core of why Growth & Justice is working on racial economic justice. 

“Now, America’s per capita government spending is near the bottom among industrialized countries. Our roads, bridges and water systems get a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Unlike our peers, we don’t have high-speed rail, universal broadband, mandatory paid family leave or universal child care. And while growing corporate power and money in politics have certainly played a role, it’s now clear that racial resentment is the key uncredited actor in our economic backslide,” McGhee writes. 

Tracking Blueprint Related Legislation 

Below you can find the new bills we’re tracking this week, as well as updates to other bills we are tracking. If you would like a full list of the Blueprint-related legislation we are monitoring, you can find it here, along with links to all the bill pages. 

UPDATES: 

HF 164/SF 227 Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021 established On house general register 2/18/21, on senate general orders 2/17/21
SF 168 Department of transportation pavement investment guide development, implementation, and adherence requirement In hearing 2/18/21
HF 443/SF 768 Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing preservation loans or grants appropriation In hearing 2/16/21
HF 5 COVID-19; state appropriations replaced with federal funds, child care providers public health support funds funding provided, basic sliding fee program funding provided, and money appropriated In hearing 2/16/21

NEW BILLS: 

HF 977 State building solar energy system loan fund established, bonds issued, and money appropriated.  
SF 800 Racial injustice and systemic racism provisions establishment and appropriation  
SF 889 Rental housing projects financed at least in part by the Housing Finance Agency to be affordable for at least 30 years requirement In hearing 2/18/21

HCA-MN Event: Fight for Racial Justice and Health Care 

In honor of Black History Month, Health Care for All Minnesota and Physicians for a National Health Program-Minnesota are hosting a screening of the documentary “The Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution” on Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The documentary will show “the twin struggles for racial justice & health care intersected to create Medicare and desegregate thousands of hospitals at the same time,” the HCA-MN description says. Speakers will include RN and Vice-Chair of Health Care for All Minnesota Anne Jones, RN Stella Obadiya, and Executive Director of Minnesota Nurses Association Rose Roach. You can register here

Quote:

“In my research and writing on disparities, I learned to focus on how white people benefited from systemic racism: Their schools have more funding, they have less contact with the police, they have greater access to health care. These hallmarks of white privilege are not freedoms that racial justice activists want to take away from white people, however — they’re basic human rights and dignities that everyone should enjoy.” — Heather C. McGhee, “The Way Out of America’s Zero-Sum Thinking on Race and Wealth.”


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