I apologize if someone thinks this critique is wrong. Black Minnesotans don’t have time to for theory when practice is the necessary pathway to prosperity.
“Anything times zero, is zero.” -Math
By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – Independent Business News Network (Editorial Opinion)
You petty bourgeoise Black Minnesotans walking around ignoring what’s really happening in favor of your social statuses have done it again. While THOR Construction have the two most likeable Black leader’s in Minnesota, something went very wrong. Local black-owned media, and the mainstream perpetuated a lie to promote the new THOR Construction headquarters in north Minneapolis causing ripple effects that will lead to the closing of the Wirth Co-op, the new Black Museum, and other small organizations in north Minneapolis that we allege are mismanaged by people that don’t have the acumen to bust-a-grape. The Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest paper mentioned that Minneapolis Economic Development Association’s director, Gary Cunningham, (the husband of former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges) was working to negotiate between Target, Hennepin County, and other interested parties; if this is truth can someone remind me what Cunningham has done for the Black community in recent years, let alone what will soon be a $100 million-dollar sink-hole in north Minneapolis? Respectfully, I wish him well – but he’s never call me, Lennie Chism, Ron Edwards, or Larry Tucker – this is the issue: Corrective actions (resets to fixes), do not reside in one persons head.
On March 28, 2018 myself and my BlogTalkRadio co-host Mr. Ronald A. Edwards interviewed a man by the name of Jake Johnston from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC. The CEPR promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. The CEPR is, and has been committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better informed; the key word: Informed.
The reason we interviewed Mr. Johnston was that we became aware that the CEPR had done a story in 2015 about Minneapolis’ THOR Construction and some of the sub-standard housing they (THOR Construction) built in Haiti, and the local mainstream media in the Twin Cities was too busy celebrating the new “THOR Construction headquarters” to stop and take a look at some factual information that might (did) change the trajectory and outcomes of this massive new sight in the middle of one of the poorest neighborhood in Minneapolis (second to the Phillips neighborhood).
The story reads: “On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment. In April 2012, Thor received $18.4 million to build 750 houses at a site on Haiti’s northern coast called Caracol-EKAM, part of the international community’s high-profile reconstruction project at the Caracol Industrial Park. At a star-studded inauguration of the park in October 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured the new buildings and spoke of “affordable homes with clean running water, flush toilets, and reliable electricity… built to resist hurricanes and earthquakes (Johnston, 2015).
Say that everything printed and broadcasted prior to last week (January 14-18) about THOR Construction were true; new economic diversity (opportunities) in north Minneapolis to include new small businesses (not nonprofits), employment opportunities like Compensated Work Therapy programs with major corporations where residents worked 20-hours a week (paid by those companies), and after 6-months of a solid work history, residents were given the option of taking a full-time job, or going out on the job market with their new skills. But the lie didn’t format in the drive correctly, now we have a situation that has many asking “What went wrong?”
THOR Construction was presented to us in the Twin Citiee as this “beacon of hope” for a community riddled in gun violence, death, homelessness and low graduation rates, and double-digit unemployment. But now, some community stakeholders are telling community members that THOR Construction was “never Black-owned,” and allegedly functioned as a pass-through for minority hires. Does this explain the lack of community members working on U.S. Bank Stadium, the Light Rail Lines, and the many city projects where you’d find yourself hard-pressed to see a Black man or woman working on these sites?
Let me explain a few things:
1. I understand some people…I understand people make mistakes, I make mistakes – but the biggest difference I think is that I learn from the mistakes I make and try to adjust, key word: “try.”
2. To tell you the truth, Thor, the Marvel Comics character is my favorite in the Marvel Universe. This should let you know that this editorial opinion is not about that Thor, but a Thor that is not just, honest, nor fearless.
3. The mainstream newspapers (white people) are not “attacking” anyone. They’re just doing what Black Minnesotans should have done after some of us figured out that the THOR Construction pipedream in Minneapolis was just another bunch of the usual suspects patting each other on the back and metaphorically shoving big wads of money in their safety deposit boxes – no one meant to help the community.
Then we have the challenges with the local bank: “Sunrise Bank (Minneapolis, MN.), alleges Thor is generally not paying its debts as they become due, including payroll obligations to its employees and its debts to [Sunrise].” In requesting a general receiver, the bank alleges Thor does not have sufficient liquidity to continue to operate, and multiple creditors might attempt a “free-for-all” liquidation of the company (Star Tribune, 2018).
How is it you don’t payback a $3 million-dollar loan for more than 9-years? Us regular folk could never do that.
The challenge in north Minneapolis as well as other areas of the Twin Cities is that the folks that need to be at the table, are minimized, disregarded and demonized by those currently seeking a payday. The dehumanization of black people in the Twin Cities take power…this power is motivated, pushed, distributed and outsourced to a few currently at the table. We already know there is not one Black MN organization, leader, or group the white mainstream respects. The power has been gone for a long time and further separates a structure that has been fractured at its core by corruption and malfeasance.
Help wanted…it’s gone before it started.
Don Allen and Mr. Ronald A. Edwards are the host of BlogTalkRadio’s “The Ron and Don Show, Saturday’s at 9:30AM