March 26, 2020
The Honorable Governor Tim Walz
Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Walz:
Subject: An Open Letter to the Governor, elected and appointed officials of the State of Minnesota
On March 20, 2020, the Minnesota Africans United hosted an online video call with African immigrants from throughout Minnesota. Joined by friends and supporters of Minnesota Africans United, including Metropolitan State University, Inver Hills Community College, and Global Minnesota, we came together to voice our concerns and to demonstrate our resiliency. People on the call had the opportunity to explain the situations facing their families, neighbors and the small and micro businesses owners in their communities that have lost their income during their crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many can’t afford the basic necessities of life -- food, housing, healthcare, and transportation.
Participants took a moment to reflect on their contributions to the day-to-day life in Minnesota. Many are now working 7 days a week and long hours each day, caring for the sick and elderly. In the midst of this crisis, they put their lives in line of duty every single day. This pandemic has deeply impacted Minnesota’s African immigrant families as well as their small and micro businesses. Many Africans are on the front lines of the fight against this virus, holding jobs in hospitals, clinics and other public health facilities where there is a high probability of exposure to COVID 19. Immigrants in the state of MN make up a huge percentage of the frontline workers in health care, running high risks for themselves and putting their families at a risk of exposure as well. Of these positions are at the lower end the paid position in our community, making them feel exploited in multiple ways.
The pandemic will affect all communities but the impact of a large number of our healthcare employees out with Covid-19 would bring our healthcare providers into a very difficult situation due to lack of employees.
In order to stabilize, restore and advance the economic prosperity for all Americans, the African immigrants and their organizations have agreed to bring the following petition to your attention as our State Leaders. We are asking you to consider making these in future proclamations.
An immediate hold of ICE raids in immigrant communities
Protection of housing through pausing of foreclosures and late fees
Protection for small and micro-businesses
Access to technology for youth and students of all ages
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all in professions at risk
Utility payment support
Direct financial support to African immigrant families and businesses hard hit by the COVID -19 irrespective of their immigration status.
Governor Walz, you have always stood with the immigrants in our hour of need, and now is one of those moments. We need you to pay special attention to the unique needs of the African immigrant community, and we need you to partner with Attorney General Ellison to ensure that all issues related to African Immigrants be brought out into the open and dealt with directly.
Minnesota Africans United (MAU)is a statewide umbrella organization that represents all the 55 nations of the African diaspora community in Minnesota. MAU is centered on closing the opportunity gaps in education, workforce, economic development and healthcare with a mission of creating awareness and increasing access to resources for the African community. The purpose is to unite all Africans in the diaspora for a common purpose. For more information about MAU, please visit www.mnafricansunited.org.
Minnesota Africans United, CEO
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Minnesota Department of Education
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Minnesota Public Utility Commission
The Attorney General of Minnesota
Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
Minority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives
Majority Leader, Minnesota Senate
Minority Leader, Minnesota Senate