Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:00 AM • Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Friday, May 24, 2013 2:00 PM • Arnold P. Williams Community Center, 999 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:30 PM • St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, 375 North Oxford St., Saint Paul, MN 55104
AT Issue: Employment
NAACP, TAKEACTION MINNESOTA ANNOUNCE 10 COMPLAINTS FILED WITH EEOC AGAINST TARGET CORPORATION FOR UNFAIR HIRING PRACTICES
“Target Has A Huge Opportunity To Help Reduce Minnesota’s Worst-In-Nation Racial Jobs Gap By Adopting New EEOC Hiring Guidelines”
Minneapolis, MN (February 20, 2013) – Standing outside the Hennepin County Government center on a frigid Wednesday morning, the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP and statewide people’s network TakeAction Minnesota held a joint press conference to announce ten formal complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Target Corporation. The complaints accuse Target Corporation of engaging in unfair hiring practices that unnecessarily discriminate against applicants of color who have criminal records in their past but who are presently qualified for the jobs which they are applying for.
Dan McGrath, TakeAction Minnesota’s Executive Director said “TakeAction Minnesota is deeply invested in making our economy here in Minnesota more equitable. But Minnesota has the worst-in-the-nation racial jobs gap and as a state, the question to be asking is ‘why?’. As Minnesota’s fourth largest employer, Target Corporation has a particular responsibility to help close this gap. We expect more of Target and hope they will take this opportunity to lead and make the changes necessary to ensure fair hiring no matter a person’s background.”
Jeff Martin, President of the NAACP’s St. Paul chapter said he was “proud to stand in solidarity with TakeAction Minnesota as we work to call attention to a very serious problem. We believe it is unacceptable for a corporate citizen such as Target to practice blanket exclusionary hiring tactics that contribute to our worst-in-the-nation racial jobs gap. We expect more of Target and are calling on Target to partner with us to move our state forward.” Martin said the NAACP will provide assistance and resources to individuals who believe they have been discriminated against based on their criminal background.
Over the past eight months, TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice 4 All program has worked with one-hundred-and-fifty people, the majority people of color with records in their past, who have failed to secure employment with Target after applying. Of these, only a handful were granted an interview.
Kissy Mason, a leader in TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice 4 All program and an EEOC complaintant herself, detailed her own employment-seeking experience with Target. Despite having only a misdemeanor in her past and having secured an expungement, Mason also failed to secure employment with Target. Of those who applied, Mason was granted an interview and ultimately offered a job as a cashier at the Minnetonka Target store to which she had applied. However, two days after given her start date, Target called her to let her know she could not start orientation due to her criminal background. “I was excited to work in my community, at my favorite store and to start back helping support my family. In my opinion, it seems Target is not interested in hiring people of color with criminal backgrounds and this is not right. We want Target to adopt fair hiring practices.”
Steven Andrew Smith, a partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP which represents Kissy Mason, stated “It is significant that ten individuals are simultaneously filing these charges, as it demonstrates the impact of this policy on a broader scale. It’s encouraging to see prospective employees standing up for themselves in this area. Hopefully corporate America will begin to see the error in policies like this, and endeavor to level the playing field so that all job applicants are given equal access to open positions, without regard to skin color.”
McGrath says he believes “a troubling pattern exists” and the EEOC complaints filed today could be just the tip of the iceberg. He hopes Target will step up and make a choice to change their hiring practices so they are fairly assessing each applicant’s qualifications rather than judging them in overly broad terms, placing a disparate impact on communities of color based on how they weigh criminal records during the hiring process.
As a result, TakeAction Minnesota and the NAACP are asking Target to adopt the EEOC’s hiring guidelines so that individual assessments of applicants with criminal records in their past can be done, allowing more people with records a chance to secure employment and economic stability. Specifically, the two organizations are asking Target to take into account:
- the length of time since an offense occurred
- the type and severity of the offense itself, the vast majority of which are non-violent misdemeanors
- the nature of the particular job an applicant is seeking
State Representative Raymond Dehn whose district represents most of downtown Minneapolis as well as the southern portion of North Minneapolis also participated in the news conference. Dehn said his district is “one of the hardest hit areas of the state” when it comes to racial disparities in employment and hopes Target will open a dialog about fair hiring practices now that the EEOC complaints have been filed.
AT ISSUE: Education
“Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children” identifies the best practices for educating all of America’s children. The report highlights the solutions needed for our children to succeed in today’s global economy. This is the first comprehensive agenda from the NAACP in almost 10 years.
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous: "If America is going to lead the world in this century the way we did the last, we must lead the world again in education. 'Finding our Way Back To First' is the road map for our activists, the communities they serve, and the nation as a whole. Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education. The NAACP has pushed America towards greatness before, and with this plan as our guide our army of advocates will do it again."
The report highlights four areas for proactive education reform to ensure that, upon graduation, all American students are college ready and/or career ready. These areas of reform are:
- Effective teaching
- Prekindergarten preparation
- Targeted spending
- Expanded time for learning
Click here to download the report.
AT ISSUE: Police Brutality
TwinCities.com: Saint Paul NAACP President Jeffry Martin joined a "coalition of black civic and religious leaders on Saturday, Sept. 1, in St. Paul's Lewis Park to decry a violent arrest captured on video in the North End park last week." Read more...
We have set up a hotline for people who have concerns about police conduct. That number, 612-615-9344, is managed by our Legal Redress Committee.
AT ISSUE: Black Voters Made History
From National NAACP
The NAACP and top pollsters, including Latino Decisions, polled voters on the issues that matter to them, their family and community for the NAACP Battleground Poll. Sixteen hundred African American voters and likely voters from Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Georgia were interviewed. NAACP President and CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealous had this to say about the polls results:
This data underscores the decisive role we played in key battleground states. It reveals opportunities for the GOP to improve its relationship with our community, and suggests the Democratic Party should not assume it will see the 2008 and 2012 levels of Black turnout in 2016.
Many voters expressed that creating a national jobs program is essential to winning the African American vote. Sixty percent of African American voters said that jobs are the most important issue to them; ninty five percent believe the federal government should be engaging in job creation opportunities for all Americans. And 22% of African Americans identify health care as a top issue--23% chose education.
An overwhelming 65% of those polled think the Democrats have worked hard to solve poverty issues. Respondents also believe that Democrats have an advantage on public education, healthcare, and creating jobs. Respondents believed that the government has a role to play in creating access to quality public education, healthcare and jobs. Eighty one percent of respondents believe that success in America depends on self-reliance and determination.
Marriage Equality and the DREAM Act, proved to be two issues that the majority of African Americans polled were in favor of. Ninty five percent of the respondents agree with the DREAM Act, which provides undocumented youth access to financial aid for college and university. African American voters favor marriage equality by 50% and the percentage increased to 57% when language regarding specific religious protections were added.
The Battleground Poll serves as a blueprint for what African American voters consider when they vote for a presidential candidate. We see this poll as a reflection of our voter registration numbers.
The NAACP was proud to engage 1.2 million voters this Election through their civic engagement program and register over 432,000 people.