Framing Bills With Racial Equity in Mind

By Jorge Rivas Mar 06, 2009

Photo: Newsok, Video below. The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) in Minnesota has been working on including racial equity in legislation for years. When a bill titled "Driver’s license and identification card required to show full head and face" was authored by Minnesota State House Representative Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), OAP partnered with Somali Action Alliance to pressure the represenative to consider the bill’s racial and cultural ramifications. The legislation would affect Minnesota’s growing Muslim community whose women cannot remove headscarves for religious reasons. According to Jermaine Toney, lead researcher at OAP, "This bill is an example of what happens when legislators do not assess the potential equity impact on communities of color, immigrant communities—legislation would actually introduce barriers to opportunities, whether intended or not." Toney along with OAP and Somali Action Alliance were able to lead a youth campaign that successfully secured recognition for religious headscarves to allow them in driver’s license photos. Congratulations OAP and Somali Action Alliance on your hard work. Video after the jump