Minnesota Lawmakers Look for Answers to Black Wealth Gap
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - When a young black man was killed in a confrontation with two police officers last November, Minneapolis became the latest city to endure weeks of street protests.
But the unrest over 24-year-old Jamar Clark's death evolved beyond his case to include demands that city and state leaders do more about the persistent poverty seen as the root of racial tensions, especially on the city's predominantly black north side.
Now, in addition to changes in justice system policies, the state is considering measures to tackle black residents' longstanding poverty.
Lawmakers are eyeing a nearly $1 billion surplus as a means to boost work placement programs and educational opportunities. Minnesota's unemployment rate is below 4 percent, but African Americans are four times as likely to be out of work.