The Midwestern city that has been the site of unrest prides itself on embracing multiculturalism. But it also struggles with segregation and racial gaps on education.
MINNEAPOLIS — Residents of Minneapolis swell with pride over their city’s sparkling lakes, glassy downtown, beautifully kept green spaces and bicycle-friendliness that draws comparisons to Copenhagen. They see themselves as public spirited, embracing of multiculturalism and inspired by Minnesota’s liberal icons, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone.
The Minneapolis City Council, made up of 12 Democrats and a member of the Green Party, includes two transgender members, both of whom are black. The city has for years held a popular community celebration and parade for Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery.
But there remains an extraordinary racial gap for Minnesotans when it comes to education outcomes and health care. Black families own their homes at far lower rates than white families, among the largest such disparity in the country. And the city’s predominantly white police force, which has been accused of racist practices for decades, rarely disciplines officers with troubled records.
“Minneapolis has ridden this reputation of being progressive,” said Robert Lilligren, who became the first Native American elected to the City Council in 2001. “That’s the vibe: Do something superficial and feel like you did something big. Create a civil rights commission, create a civilian review board for the police, but don’t give them the authority to change the policies and change the system.”
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