Hundreds of Black business owners, developers and innovators will gather at the Minnesota State Capitol Friday morning for one-on-one meetings with lawmakers.
SAINT PAUL, Minnesota – Politics has always been about who gets what. That’s why hundreds of African-American business owners and innovators will gather at the State Capitol Friday morning for the Capitol’s first-ever Black Entrepreneur Day, sponsored by ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com.
The event, organized by Twin Cities media personality Sheletta Brundidge, said it was an effort to ensure that an often overlooked part of the state’s economy has a voice in the key decisions that will be made this session.
“We’re going to have 200 to 300 African-American business owners from across the state come to the Capitol and go one-on-one with our legislators and get them to do what we want them to do with the $17 billion in surplus they have. things and how they can use it to help us prop up our business,” Brundage told KARE.
“It’s about making sure they understand that as African-American business owners, we have unique concerns and challenges that we need them to address.”
The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a rally in the rotunda with Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and others.
Afterwards, attendees will fan out to meet lawmakers at the Capitol to make the case that they should be involved in major decisions on this year’s budget.
The meeting will conclude with a luncheon at The Vault, a meeting place in the basement of the Capitol.
“During the election, Democrats came to our churches, came to our community centers, and told us they cared. Well, it’s time for them to show us that they actually do.”
Speakers will include Twin Cities therapist Anissa Keyes, who purchased the old Camden Park State Bank building north of Minneapolis to create a business incubation space.The event will also feature Dana Smith, who co-founded the MinnyRow Market on Main Street in Hopkins with her husband Peter, which is temporarily closed due to the economy
“Our black businesses are struggling across the state and all they need is access to a little funding. We’re not just talking about financial capital. We’re talking about social capital. Who can we call?”
Capitol lobbyist Brian McDaniel, who helped Brundage with the event, said meeting lawmakers in person is about more than building a personal connection.
“You want to be the local expert for every elected member of the House and the Senate, because they can’t be experts on health care, education, criminal justice, taxes, they can’t,” McDaniel explained.
“So, when they see the bill that’s coming up, you’re like, ‘Oh, I need to call that guy in my area and see how this affects them.'”
Especially in the post-pandemic era where the Capitol has become, for all practical purposes, a ghost town.
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