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Two New Proposals on the Future of the Ethnic Councils

by Chai

Minnesota’s three ethnic councils – the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and the Council on Black Minnesotans have a number of proposals how they should be restructured. Below are documents of all the major proposals to date including two new ones. Attached too are principles to keep in mind in decisions regarding creating entities to help represent the interests of at least $20 billion in ALANA economic assets in Minnesota.

The Department of Human Rights conducted statewide hearings and provided a summary of community feedback on the councils. Basically the results of the hearings was a general community support for the councils and the need to restructure them to become more effective, collaborative, representative and consistent. The report offered models from other states to address the issue of the appointing and reporting authority for the executive directors of the councils.Department of HR Findings

The Governor established a Diversity and Inclusion Council at the cabinet level which will work with the councils. Governor DIC

Proposed Models

Eliminate the Councils and let each department and the legislature develop its own advisory body

Keep the Councils as they currently are.

The councils are restructured and are under the Legislative Coordinating Commission ( which is currently in the Omnibus bill moving towards the conference committee at the legislature). Leg Cord Comm

Replacing the Councils with the Department of Ethnic Affairs with three executive directors. Dept Ethnic Affairs

Keep the councils but restructure them to become more effective and consistent across councils

Appoint a task force to study the issue and develop a model for integrating the ALANA communities into the executive and legislative branch by the next legislative session. ( Include current members of the Council in the task force) Task Force with Council members

Appoint a task force to study the issue and develop a model for integrating the ALANA communities into the executive and legislative branch by the next legislative session.  Members are legislators, Cabinet members, community members.Council Task force 20150418

The following principles were also offered by Chai after input received during a meeting convened by Coalition of Asian American Leaders and from other community conversations on the issue:

Principles and Framework To Analyze Ethnic Council Proposals


Integrates the diversity of experience, immigration status and economic status of the ALANA community in Minnesota.

Integrated into the executive and legislative branches of government to help bring cultural intelligence into the policy infrastructure of the state.

Funded to adequately conduct their duties

Independence  to be able to articulate the voice of the community without fear of political retribution

Develops a strategic long term plan and commitment to grow the assets of the ALANA community in consultation with the community

Develops annual list of priorities of the community after state-wide hearings and works with legislators, Governor and state agencies to implement these priorities.

Produce nonpartisan and timely data, policy briefs, testimony to the executive, legislative and community on critical issues facing the ALANA community

Provides an annual report to the legislature, Governor and the Community on effectiveness in achieving annual priorities established.

Has a board that has technical expertise and community connectedness that provides support and strategic guidance to the executive director (s) and engage effectively with all branches of government.

Selection of board and staff on their ability to execute the above vision